Johannesburg - Just days into her new role as the Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane has been branded a diva by some employees in her new portfolio.
This is after she allegedly issued an instruction that the carpets in her office be replaced with a new wooden floor because she has sinus issues.
Employees in the department alleged that Mokonyane instructed the cleaning service provider to make changes at the department’s Pretoria head office with immediate effect.
The employees have asked for anonymity for fear of victimisation.
“They are laying a wooden floor because she says she is asthmatic and suffers from sinusitus. The madam’s office is on the fifth floor,” said the source.
The worker claimed many staff members were shocked on Wednesday to hear a lot of noise coming from Mokonyane’s floor, where workers had already started to fit the wooden floor.
“We are struggling to work. There is a lot of noise. These guys started working yesterday (Wednesday). We were all surprised when we heard that the new minister is already making changes like this,” added the source.
Mokonyane’s spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase confirmed that the minister was not comfortable with the carpets.
“The request has been made for the minister to be provided with an office with a wooden floor” said Ndamase, adding that the request was purely for health reasons.
“This request is solely for health considerations of the minister, and not cosmetic. Medical records to this effect support this request.”
Mokonyane also confirmed the changes to her floor, citing her bronchitis ailment. Further confirming her request, she sent a letter of the approval of the changes to The Star, signed by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi on March 6.
“Thank you very much for bringing these matters to our attention officially.
“I therefore confirm that the Department of Public Works shall pay the costs of the removal of the carpet in the office of the minister of communications prior to occupation and replacement thereof with laminated wooden flooring,” reads Nxesi’s letter.
However, another employee said it was too early for Mokonyane to make such changes. “She must not come here and be comfortable.
“She knows that she left a mess in her previous department (Water and Sanitation). Mokonyane still has to account for that, and that could lead to her being axed,” said the worker.