Muthambi investigated over 'bloated private office'

08 February 2018 - 09:31 By Thabo Mokone And Dave Chambers
Minister Faith Muthambi. File photo
Minister Faith Muthambi. File photo
Image: Esa Alexander

The Public Service Commission has launched an investigation into allegations that Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi is running a bloated private office.

Times Select reported on Friday that Muthambi had employed 40 people allegedly in breach of government policy on the number of staff ministers are allowed.

The report sparked a complaint to the Public Service Commission by Desiree van der Walt‚ the DA spokesman on the public service‚ and now PSC chairman Richard Sizani has appointed commissioner Bruno Luthuli to investigate.

Muthambi responded to the Times Select report by saying she had done nothing wrong and was the victim of a “personal vendetta”.

She said: “These spurious and unfounded allegations are a rehash of what the minister has already answered to successfully‚ both in parliament and in the media. By brushing off minister’s response in favour of sensationalising and creating an impression that the minister is the law unto herself does not serve any justice.

“We wish to repeat for the record‚ again‚ that the minister has not deviated from the law and regulations provided for in the ministerial handbook.”

Van der Walt welcomed the PSC investigation. “For far too long ... Muthambi has ‘got away with murder’ in her brazen attempt to turn the ministry into an employment agency for the politically connected few‚” she said.

“Money that could have been better spent creating a more accessible public service was diverted to hire excess food aides‚ drivers and administration assistants.”

In his letter to Van der Walt‚ Sizani warned her the PSC was “severely constrained” and had “reached a point where its limited budget and human resources impedes on its ability to discharge its mandate to such an extent that the organisation has reached a stalemate and its lack of performance will have a negative impact on its reputation.

“The PSC will nevertheless prioritise the member’s request with its human and financial constraints.”