Once more, Public Service and Administration Minister Muthambi Faith is currently stuck in a tight spot following an allegation that she hired at least 27 people‚ including some close friends and family‚ to her support staff.
The revelation was made by a member of her staff, who told reporters that Muthambi usually comes back with a new employee every time she travels to her province, Limpopo.
The minister’s close friends and family were reportedly appointed as drivers, deputy directors, and a ‘food services aide’ in her office without following due procedure.
According to Mail and Guardian, the post of the ‘food service aide’ pays R131 368 a year. One of the newly-appointed deputy directors is said to a husband to Muthambi’s aunt. His annual payment is said to be R600 000.
The former communications minister is also accused of stripping the Director General of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Mashwahle Diphofa, of his powers to appoint staff.
Following the startling revelation, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests to investigate Minister Muthambi.
DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters said if the allegations are true, the Minister could have breached the Ministerial Handbook which states that a Minister can only appoint up to 10 individuals when establishing Private Offices.
However, the minister denied making the appointments, describing the report as ‘misleading’.
In a statement, her ministry said:
“The Ministry would like to put it on record that none of the support staff mentioned in the Sunday Times story are friends or relatives of the Minister.
It is incorrect to suggest that the Minister is not following Public Service prescripts with regard to appointment of support staff in the Ministry as in accordance with … the Public Service Act … the Minister may appoint persons in posts in the Ministry without following advertisement processes‚ provided that such appointments are either linked to term of the Minister or for a period not exceeding three years.
The Ministry finds the reports regrettable and believes that they are intended to tarnish the image of the Minister and her office.”
Similarly, her spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba said denied that the minister has not been following public service prescripts regarding the appointments.
This is not the first time, the minister is making headlines for the wrong reason. Recently, an evidence showing that she blew nearly R500‚000 of taxpayer funds on a trip for 30 of her family and friends to Cape Town to attend her budget speech vote was brought to light.
Minister Muthambi appeared in before the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, chaired by controversial MP Makhosi Khoza, today to tell her side of the story in claims that she flew 30 people to Cape Town at government expense to watch her deliver her budget vote speech.