Spotlight back on Faith Muthambi

Faith Muthambi. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, The Times, file)
Faith Muthambi. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

Cape Town - The DA wants Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests to investigate Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi's alleged hiring of 27 support staff without following proper procedure.

"The revelations today that the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Faith Muthambi, has allegedly hired 27 support staff to her office, in what seems to be a case of nepotism, must be investigated by Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests," said Democratic Alliance MP Mike Waters.

The Sunday Times reported that a staffer claimed that every time Muthambi went home to Limpopo, she would return with another new employee.

She also reportedly stripped the Director General of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Mashwahle Diphofa, of his powers to appoint staff.

According to Waters, Chapter 8 of the Ministerial Handbook stipulates that a minister can appoint up to 10 individuals when establishing private offices. Annexure F of the handbook allows for two full-time advisers.

According to the report, Muthambi hired a close friend as a "food service aide" in a post that pays R131 368 a year; a man reportedly married to her aunt as a deputy director earning R600 000 annually; and the daughter of a long-time friend as an administrative assistant.

"It is now becoming clear that Minister Muthambi is up to her old tricks again and that she [is] bending the rules to give herself excessive power to do as she pleases," claimed Waters.

Muthambi was formerly the Minister of Communications.

"This, despite the fact that she is the minister of the department which is responsible for administering norms in the public sector and ensuring the ethical behaviour of public servants."

On Tuesday, Muthambi is expected to appear before the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, chaired by controversial MP Makhosi Khoza, 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.

In the article, Muthambi's spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba denied that she was not following public service prescripts regarding the appointments.

"In terms of the Public Service Act, the minister may appoint persons in posts in the ministry without following advertisement processes provided such appointments are linked to the term of the minister for for a period not exceeding three years."

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