Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi must be investigated by parliament's ethics committee for gross misconduct, the DA said. Picture: ANA Pictures

Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi must be investigated by parliament's joint committee on ethics and members' interests for gross misconduct, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

This followed media revelations on Sunday that Muthambi had allegedly hired 27 support staff to her office in what seemed to be a case of nepotism.

"Reports today [Sunday] claim that Minister Muthambi allegedly appointed mostly uncles and cousins from her home province Limpopo as drivers, deputy directors, and a 'food services aide' in her office without following due procedure," DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters said.

The DA’s members on the ethics committee would take the matter up when the committee met on Tuesday, he said.

If these allegations were true, Muthambi had possibly breached the ministerial handbook. 

Chapter 8 of the handbook clearly stated that a minister could appoint up to 10 individuals when establishing private offices. Furthermore, annexure F of the handbook stated that ministers could only appoint two full-time special advisors.

"Even more disturbing are the allegations that the minister allegedly stripped the director-general of the Department of Public Service and Administration Mashwahle Diphofa of his powers to appoint staff. 

"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," Waters said.

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

These allegations followed reports of her most recent scandal in which she allegedly spent nearly R500 000 of taxpayers' money for her family members to travel to Cape Town to watch her budget vote speech in Parliament.

"The South African government is an institution which must provide equal opportunities for every South African citizen – not just Minister Muthambi’s family and loved ones," Waters said.

African News Agency