Cape Town – Another week will go by without Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi having to account to Parliament for the public funds allegedly used to fly her friends and family to Cape Town for her budget speech.
Last week, she didn’t pitch for the portfolio committee on public service and administration’s meeting, which led the committee to decide to summon her to the next meeting.
Two days later, outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza was removed as the committee’s chairperson. ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the other ANC MPs on the committee, five of whom also failed to attend last week’s meeting due to differences with Khoza’s stance, will also be changed.
According to DA MP Sej Motau, the meeting scheduled for Wednesday was inexplicably cancelled late on Monday night.
"This is clearly a move by the ANC committee members to close ranks around Minister Faith Muthambi to prevent her from accounting for the long list of corruption related scandals that she has been embroiled in," said Motau.
He said the DA will write to the house chairperson, Cedric Frolick, to request that he ensures the committee convenes and the meeting continues as scheduled on Tuesday.
"This meeting has been cancelled undoubtedly because last week, former chairperson Dr Makhosi Khoza confirmed that the meeting was quorate and that there were enough members to make decisions," continued Motau.
"It has now become apparent that the ANC does not want to keep the minister accountable and this cancellation is a blatant attempt to not enforce the previous meeting’s resolutions."
'Flagrantly abusing taxpayers' money'
Muthambi has to answer for allegedly spending taxpayer money, totalling more than R300 000, on transporting her family to watch her Parliamentary budget speech in May, The Sunday Times reported.
"Recent reports have stated that the figure may be as high as R500 000, which only confirms that this must be fully investigated by the committee so that the appropriate action can be taken against her," added Motau.
Secondly, she will also have to answer for her "bloated" personal staff of 27 people, which includes former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s daughter, despite the Ministerial Handbook only making provision for 10.
"The ANC’s sudden removal of Dr Khoza as committee chair was to ensure that Muthambi can continue to act without consequences for flagrantly abusing taxpayers’ money," said Motau.
"However, we have a continued responsibility to keep the executive accountable no matter who the chairperson or members are, and this committee meeting must go ahead."
Meanwhile, Muthambi might also have to account to the portfolio committee on communications.
Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli instructed this committee to institute an investigation into state capture after it received a report from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) in which Muthambi’s name cropped up.
Then the committee also has to deal with a report from Parliament’s legal services on people who misled the ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board, which states that Muthambi’s testimony "could be seen as an attempt to mislead the Inquiry".