14 September 2017

South Africa: Minister Muthambi Clarifies Misleading Reports

Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi has appeared before the Portfolio Committee where she clarified misleading reports that she was dodging Parliament and refusing to account.

Minister Muthambi on Wednesday presented the quarterly performance reports of the department and its entities -- the National School of Government and the Centre for Public Service Innovation -- to Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration Monitoring and Evaluation.

The Minister also clarified allegations relating to the recruitment of staff in her office, and the travel arrangements of her guests during the department's budget vote speech.

Travel arrangements of Minister's guests were done in line with the Ministerial handbook, specifically section 9.1 and all approvals were done by the Accounting Officer in terms of section 38(2) of the Public Finance Management Act.

The Minister also clarified allegations relating to the structure in her Ministry. She informed the members that she is using the exact approved structure that was being utilised by her predecessors to capacitate her office.

"All appointments within the Ministry were done in line with section 66 of the Public Service Regulations, 2016," the Department of Public Service and Administration said in a statement.

Minister Muthambi further clarified allegations that she had been using the Izimbizos for political motives. "Ministers are required to host at least 10 Izimbizo per financial year. This report is presented during the Cabinet Makgotlas and is part of the Minister's key performance areas.

"It is one of Government's priorities to ensure that all Members of Executive engage in Izimbizos to stay in contact with the people and to listen to their concerns and to be responsive to their needs," the department said.

The mandate of the Department of Public Service and Administration, amongst others, is to ensure the values and principles governing public administration as per 195(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, are entrenched in the work of all government employees including Section 195(2), the administration in every sphere of government, organs of state and public enterprises.

"It is therefore a powerful tool for the Ministry of the Public Service and Administration to regularly engage with ordinary South Africans to assess whether these values and principles are practiced by government officials as the Department is the custodian of Batho Pele Principles," the department said.

The Ministry would like reiterate that the Minister is always ready to appear before Parliament and as such, the malicious narrative that she has been dodging Parliament must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.

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