31 July 2017
The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) has noted with concern and dismay the allegations carried by a weekend publication that the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms Faith Muthambi flew and accommodated her close family and friends at tax payers' cost to attend the departmental budget vote in Cape Town.
It concerns us that at a time when as public servants we are told about "tightening the belt", the Minister responsible for public service embarks on an extravagant and clearly power drunk exercise to appease those closest to her. When it was first an-nounced that, after having failed spectacularly in her previous portfolio, she would be rewarded bizarrely to head the Public Service, we registered our concern as a Union. A few months later into her new responsibility, we have been vindicated.
The Minister has a penchant to destroy what she touches and we are concerned that the Public Service and Administration Department is facing the real risk of suffering the same fate as her previous department. We therefore do not have any confidence in her negotiating with us on our salaries as public servants on behalf of the government.
We are also aware that those who were previously tasked with managing the negotiations on behalf of the department and subsequently relieved of their duties after the public service march a few years ago after they were exposed of deliberately working towards a strike, are now being brought back into the fold by the Minister. It is part of her modus operandi to surround herself with "yes" men and women so that bureaucratic inefficiencies can be the order of the day.
As we approach the public service salary negotiations towards the end of this year, we want to make it categorically clear to the Minister that as education workers, we will not stand on the sidelines and watch her erode the confidence of the people in the government of the day. Her actions breathe life into the narrative that seeks to suggest that any black government of an African country will be inherently corrupt.
In our view, such an exuberant display of extravagance in the face of public servants who can neither afford daily transport to and from work nor decent housing is corruption of the highest order and to an extent treasonous.
We support the call made by our Federation, COSATU, for this extravagant trip to be fully investigated and for her to not only to pay back the costs but to be further taken through a disciplinary process. We want decisive action to be taken against her. We have every right to make such a call because it is us workers who carry the brunt of government austerity measures whilst those in the higher echelons of power continue to dish out patronage and opulence to those closest to them at our expense.
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat
General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157