Minister Faith Muthambi has placed her department’s chief financial officer and deputy director general administration on precautionary suspension. File picture: Phando Jikelo

Johannesburg - A decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to investigate Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi for possible abuse of office was on Thursday welcomed by the Democratic Alliance. 

This follows a request earlier this month to the commission for a probe into allegations that Muthambi had expanded her private office to 40 people, with some of those being employed being family members and friends.

Following this, the PSC confirmed receipt of the request and the launch of an investigation into the allegations against the minister.

The PSC is mandated to investigate personnel practices in the Public service in terms of section 196 (4)(f)(i) of the constitution.

READ MORE: Calls mount for public service minister to be probed

"The PSC has assigned commissioner B Luthuli, the cluster commissioner for the department of public service and administration, to lead an investigation team to conduct an investigation into the regularity in the filling of posts within the ministry," a letter from the commission read. 

The DA's shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration Desiree van der Walt in a statement said she welcomed the move by the commission. 

"The allegations against Muthambi are such that she may have violated the Ministerial handbook; which only makes provision for 10 appointees in the Ministers’ private office."

"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. Money that could have been better spent creating a more accessible Public Service, was diverted to hire excess food aides, drivers and administration assistants.

Van der Walt further said: "Muthambi’s behaviour has been enabled by an ineffectual leader of government business Cyril Ramaphosa, who has turned a blind eye while the rot festered.

She added that the DA was looking forward to a timely conclusion of the probe and "appropriate sanction that would rein in Muthambi’s abuse of office to please the politically connected few".

Muthambi came under fire last year after reports emerged that she had appointed uncles and cousins as support staff, drivers and deputy directors in her office.

The Sunday Times reported that among the appointments was the daughter of the disgraced former SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Muthambi hit back at the reports, saying they were misleading and that she was allowed to make appointments without advertising the positions.