Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi

Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen and Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi were in the firing line in Parliament yesterday over the former’s links to the Guptas and the latter’s failure to attend portfolio committee meetings to account for flying friends and family to her budget vote speech.

The two ministers were answering questions in the National Council of Provinces when MPs demanded answers on various allegations against them.

Van Rooyen denied any allegations of impropriety with the Guptas and said a commission of inquiry would clear his name.

He also denied that the Guptas paid for his trip to Dubai in December 2015 before his brief appointment as finance minister. He said he would not entertain questions on state capture because the commission of inquiry was going to be appointed.

But Tebogo Mokwele of
 the EFF insisted that Van Rooyen must answer and explain to the House what he stood to benefit from the Guptas.

Mokwele asked Van Rooyen if he was appointed to his current job after the aborted Treasury job.

Van Rooyen said there was nothing untoward with the Guptas.

“The submission made by the member borders on tampering with the state capture report. Let's exercise patience. Allegations levelled so far against those perceived to be captured are serious allegations. Our country provides certain remedies, and one of the remedies is the commission of inquiry,” said Van Rooyen.

“I ask the member to exercise patience. That time will come. It is the president who appoints ministers,” said Van Rooyen.

He said those who have evidence must go to the commission of inquiry to give evidence.

Muthambi defended her decision to fly 30 friends and relatives to Cape Town for her budget vote speech in May.

It was reported that Muthambi spent R300 000 on the trips.

She said she was allowed by the Ministerial Handbook to fly up to 30 people, including friends and relatives, for such events.

“I implore you to read chapter 3 of the Ministerial Handbook because the tickets I used are called privilege tickets. I've got 30 tickets that I can utilise. I did not go beyond that,” said Muthambi.

The EFF said Muthambi did not deserve to be in the House as she had refused to account to the portfolio committee on public service and administration over the matter. 

Muthambi denied that she refused to go to the portfolio committee.

“I want to dismiss the allegations with the contempt they deserve. I have never abrogated my responsibility as a minister.

"Before I was a minister, I was a member of Parliament, and I know my responsibility,” she said.

Muthambi also denied stripping her chief financial officer and director-general of their powers.