Muthambi denies hiring family and pals

14 August 2017 - 13:11 By Kyle Cowan
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi. File photo.
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi. File photo.
Image: Supplied.

Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi has rubbished reports alleging she has hired at least 27 people‚ some close friends and family‚ to her support staff.

The Sunday Times reported this weekend that Muthambi had hired some of these people without following prescribed processes or conducting interviews.

The report quoted a source as saying that every time after Muthambi had returned home to the Limpopo province over weekends‚ a new person would be hired on Monday.

In a statement issued on Monday‚ her ministry rejected the report.

“The Ministry would like to put it on record that none of the support staff mentioned in the Sunday Times story are friends nor relatives of the Minister‚” the statement read.

It added the Ministry was “dismayed at this (sic) misleading reports”.

“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‚” the statement concludes.

Among the appointments the Sunday Times reported on was a food service aide. In a previous story‚ it was established that Muthambi appointed a former SAPS constable from Limpopo to be her personal assistant.

This weekend the Sunday Times also revealed that Muthambi had attempted to silence the newspaper by threatening to lay charges with the Hawks after writing to Tiso Blackstar Group and alleging that Sunday Times journalists were in possession of stolen documents containing personal information‚ including salary details of her staff.

She said that if the paper published the information‚ it would be a violation of the constitution and various legislation.

The Sunday Times denied any wrongdoing by its journalists in an editorial.

Meanwhile‚ her staff were informed via an internal circular the Sunday Times has seen to cooperate with Hawks investigators who were mandated to ascertain how information on staff members came to be leaked to journalists.

Previous reports detailed how Muthambi 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 in May.

The portfolio committee on public service and administration‚ chaired by Dr Makhosi Khoza‚ has summoned Muthambi to Parliament to account for the expenditure and to provide explanations for her new hires on Tuesday.

 

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