Former communications minister Faith Muthambi spent R300,000 of taxpayers’ money on a luxury trip for family and friends, and hired Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 21-year-old daughter.
This is according to the Sunday Times, which revealed that the Cape Town trip for 30 family members and friends was to watch her budget speech in May as the new Minister of Public Service and Administration.
The trip’s guests included her mother, aunt, sister, and son, and former SABC board chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala.
Muthambi told the Sunday Times that she “was requested by the department to provide the required lists as common cause and practice within the allocated budget”.
Muthambi is further accused of employing former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 21-year-old daughter without following prescribed processes.
She has also allegedly employed a former police constable – who has no tertiary education – as a personal assistant, also without following procedure.
Faith Muthambi as communications minister
Muthambi served as communications minister from May 2014 to March 2017, and was moved to the Public Administration department following severe problems in her role.
The EFF’s Nazier Paulsen described her work as a “sorry mess” and a “fantastic catastrophe”.
DA MP Zelda Jongbloed highlighted that parliament’s ad hoc committee which investigated the SABC board made damning findings against Muthambi.
The report, which was adopted in the National Assembly, called on President Jacob Zuma and parliament’s ethics committee to look into Muthambi’s competence to hold the position of communications minister.
“Why is this woman still employed as a minister in this Cabinet?” said Jongbloed.
This led to Zuma moving Muthambi in his “midnight cabinet reshuffle”.
OUTA has also laid treason charges against Muthambi.
“When the court finds Faith Muthambi guilty, this should mean a sentence of life imprisonment,” said OUTA.
Leaked emails in the #GuptaLeaks reports give evidence of “disgraceful and illegal behaviour” by Muthambi.
“Muthambi deliberately shared three confidential Cabinet memoranda, through emails with Tony Gupta, Duduzane Zuma, and Sahara’s CEO Ashu Chawla. These people should never have been privy to any ministerial communication and policy discussions.”
OUTA said emails flowed from Muthambi into the inboxes of Gupta, Chawla, Zuma, and others.
Muthambi’s appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as COO of the SABC was cited as another reason for the charges.
In 2015, the Western Cape High Court found that Muthambi acted irrationally and unlawfully in her appointment of Motsoeneng, due to the Public Protector’s findings against him of abuses of power, fraud, and maladministration.
“Muthambi’s abuse of power led to the SABC’s current financial crisis, plunging it into billions in debt,” said OUTA.