Fri Sep 22 09:57:20 CAT 2017

Faith Muthambi blows R3m five months into office

By Loyiso Sidimba | 2017-09-13 12:00:33.0

Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi and her deputy Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba have blown nearly R3.2-million on imbizos across the country in their first five months in office.

Muthambi and Letsatsi-Duba were appointed on March 31 following President Jacob Zuma's cabinet reshuffle.

EFF MP Leigh-Ann Mathys asked Muthambi about the imbizos that her department has held since April, the costs involved and the number of tenders issued for the imbizos.

In the period between April and last month, Muthambi has held 10 imbizos while Letsatsi-Duba has had three. Muthambi said she used the imbizos "to stay in contact with people and to listen to their concerns and to be responsive to their needs".

She said her ministry spent about R3.2-million to "engage with a total number of about 22200 attendees" at imbizos.

"Numerous letters and reports were forwarded to national, provincial and local government departments to follow up on issues raised by the citizens," she explained.

A total of 42 service providers were appointed to provide various services for the imbizos. Last month, the department denied that director-general Mashwahle Diphofa had been suspended over his opposition to the imbizos.

In June, the Sunday Times reported that Diphofa had been stripped of his powers for refusing to fund the imbizos.

Departmental spokesman Dumisani Nkwamba told Sowetan at the time that Diphofa was in full support of the outreach programmes as they were a decision and directive of the cabinet that ministers and deputy ministers undertake public engagements.

"These would include repeat and follow-up visits to communities, and will be informed by their departmental outcomes and targets," Nkwamba said.

But yesterday, Nkwamba referred all queries on the millions to Muthambi's spokesman Pfarelo Maduguma, who had not responded by late yesterday as his bosses were in a National Council of Provinces select committee meeting.