Unions want Muthambi to 'pay back the money'
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One of Cosatu’s largest unions, the SA Democratic Teachers Union, has called for action against Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi, saying she must explain the R300 000 she spent to fly her friends and relatives to her department’s budget vote.
Sadtu said on Monday Muthambi must pay back the money.
It was reported at the weekend that Muthambi flew 30 people including her uncle, son, mother and other relatives and her personal assistant, who is the daughter of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, to Cape Town for her budget vote speech earlier this year.
Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleka said the union was perturbed that the minister would waste taxpayers’ money when public servants are being told to tighten their belts.
Maluleke said this happened at a time when the union was approaching wage negotiations and charged it was unacceptable that public servants, who are struggling to go to work every day, would have a minister who spends money like she did not care.
Chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on public service and administration Makhosi Khoza said she wants Muthambi to explain the expenditure.
Khoza said they were concerned about the expenditure in light of tight fiscal measures to curtail spending. “The committee’s concern arises in the context of austerity measures implemented by the National Treasury in relation to budget vote programmes.
“The committee will urgently engage with the department to ascertain if there were such expenditure and the rationale behind the expenditure,” she said.
“The committee will also probe allegations of unfair recruitment processes in a department that should set a standard for the entire public service,” Khoza said.
Cosatu said there could be no question on Muthambi’s expenditure but that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said Muthambi must pay back the R300 000.
Pamla said they were in a state of disbelief about what Muthambi had done and they wanted action against her and an investigation into allegations of nepotism.
This related to the employment of Motsoeneng’s daughter in her office and a police officer as an administrator.
“The federation wants these allegations investigated and the minister needs to pay back the taxpayers’ money,” said Pamla.
“She should also be disciplined for her indiscretions,” he said.
“Workers will remember this wasteful expenditure when they re-open their public wage negotiations at the end of the year.
“If there is money for the minister’s junkets, we expect that money will also be found for public servants, who carry this country on their backs,” he said.
Muthambi could not be reached for comment with her spokesperson Godfrey Mandiwana saying she was attending a funeral.