Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi has allegedly expanded her private office to 40 employees in breach of government policy, in what appears to be an attempt to dish out jobs for pals, Times Select reported.
Officials in Muthambi's office told Times Select that the minister quietly expanded her office over the Christmas break, employing people for positions previously unheard of, such as a "protocol officer" and someone designated to social media.
The ministerial handbook reportedly says ministers are allowed to hire 10 staff members for their private offices, but this has sometimes been allowed to stretch to 15.
Sources alleged that Muthambi "gives her people" government jobs. In one instance, she reportedly appointed a director-general whose only job is to take pictures at events attended by the minister.
Muthambi's acting director-general William Vukela told Times Select that Muthambi did not hire as many as 40 staff members but declined to provide another figure. He reportedly said that she had not broken any rules in expanding her office, and said that the new appointments were due to vacancies that arose due to staff moving to different portfolios.
"As and when vacancies become available due to staff movements, as was the case in the ministry, the ministry has the responsibility to fill those vacancies. As such, the following vacant positions were filled: Mr Matlala was appointed as the Director: Parliament Liaison and Research Analysis, Mr Bopape as Ministerial Receptionist, Mr Makhafola, Director: Cabinet and Parliamentary Liaison Officer. These posts are not in the private office as alleged," said Vukela.
This is not the first time Muthambi has come under fire for whom she hires. In September last year, she confirmed to Parliament that she had hired nine of her relatives for positions that were not advertised, according to Eyewitness News.
Muthambi told Parliament that she had followed prescripts, and that ministers were allowed to hire people for positions not advertised in certain situations.
In July last year, the Sunday Times revealed that Muthambi had flown family and friends to Cape Town for her budget speech in Parliament at the taxpayer's expense.
This reportedly included her mother, aunt, sister and son. She also reportedly hired a Limpopo police constable as her personal assistant and hired former SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng's 21-year-old daughter.
Muthambi reportedly said she had not broken any rules, but a minister anonymously told the Sunday Times that ministers were allowed to take guests to their budget speeches only if the guests bore some relevance to the budget.