Dep't defends Muthambi's R600 000 trip - TechCentral

Dep’t defends Muthambi’s R600 000 trip

Faith Muthambi

Faith Muthambi

The department of communications has hit back at criticism over payments it made to cover a US trip by minister Faith Muthambi.

The department spent almost R600 000 on a nine-day trip to a luxury goods show and folk art festival in the US, according to a reply in parliament to a question from Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis.

Muthambi attended the Atlanta Lifestyle Hub Show and the Santa Fe Folk Art Market events in July “to represent the country”, according to the parliamentary reply.

The parliamentary reply document also detailed how costs for Muthambi and three other staff amounted to just over R593 515.

In the parliamentary response, the department detailed, for example, how it spent R116 607,72 on Muthambi’s tickets, service fees and insurance for the trip.

Davis posed questions about Muthambi’s trip in a press statement on Thursday. But the department has hit back as it said it did “not spend R600 000 as claimed”.

“In response to Davis’s parliamentary question, the minister indicated the estimated costs, not the actual expenditure incurred for her and officials trip to Atlanta,” said the department.

“The invoices received by the department for travel-related costs including connecting flights within the US amounted to R305 327 including the delegation,” said the department.

Fin24 asked the department to provide proof of the R305 327 amount but a spokesman has yet to send this information.

Davis said he can “only go on what the minister” says. “That parliamentary reply is straight from the horse’s mouth. It is the minister’s reply to my question,” said Davis.

“I personally hope that the minister’s office is not trying to manipulate the figures now that the minister’s visit is coming under scrutiny,” Davis added.

The department of communications also defended its reasons for sending Muthambi on the trip.

It said the department of small business development extended an invitation to the communications department to take part in a “creative industry-led initiative to take locally manufactured craft products to the international markets”.

“The department of communications has a mandate to support the development of the creative industries, particularly in relation to content development in the country. It is therefore, incorrect for Davis to insinuate that the trip has little to do with the work of the department,” said the statement.

The department of communications also said that rural South Africans had a chance to exhibit their creative arts in Atlanta.

“The artists will be able to export their locally produced products to the international markets without any assistance of a middlemen. Furthermore, this trip provided an opportunity to brand the country abroad,” said the department.

Meanwhile, Muthambi said she also had meetings with stakeholders, including young ambassadors.

“We need all strategies for broadcasting content, we will soon have multiple channels, we need to embrace ourselves for that moment, and the meeting with the creative industry in Atlanta paved way for collaboration,” she said.

Davis said there’s nothing wrong with government officials going on trips but that they need to be “justified and add value to taxpayers”.

“They’ve got to actually rationalise it and show how the public are getting value for money, so I’m going to be putting those questions to her in the committee,” he said.

He also responded to the department’s reasons, listed in its statement, for the trip. “My response to that is that it is pure spin. It is quite clear that the trip had very little to do with the minister’s mandate and that she’s trying to justify it. If you want to, you can make anything about communications — if you really want to.

“There’s nothing wrong with the Atlanta Lifestyle Hub and there’s nothing wrong with Sante Fe Folk Art Festival. The question is: does the minister need to go and spend nine days and R600 000 of the public’s money being there?”  — Fin24

19 Comments

  1. Wow, Davebee’s Inyatsi Azwihangwisi, beaming radiantly, on this nice pic in eternal black and white.
    Our future prospect to become SA’s first female president !

  2. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>It is quite clear that the trip had very little to do with the minister’s mandate and that she’s trying to justify it.

    It does seem that the minister and the dept all have ample time to attend to trips and respond to such matters of enormous magnitude and importance which by far outweigh the “Top Priority” mandate of digital migration… and; unless Spring Day is going to be happening in August this year – then the announcement made earlier this month – only serves to confirm that the only thing missing on this black & white picture of Davebee’s Nyatsi, is a BIG BRIGHT RED NOSE.

    >>If you want to, you can make anything about communications — if you really want to.

    No… when it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck – in all probability it is a duck; and BS is BS no matter how you spin it – it will still smell like BS.

    Perhaps the prudent question that you should be asking Mr Davis is; exactly when will this Clown of a Minister be asked to submit reasons why she should be continuing to receive a pay-cheque for delivering zero value to this portfolio?

  3. Vusumuzi – those are the best comments you’ve ever made, out of all your posts, which I always read!

  4. There is not even a need for her ministry at all, The Department of Delusive Spin.
    And there is not even a need for DTT at all, as we all can switch to satellite TV, which is already available without any subscription. In a recent SABC broadcast our favourite minister was advocating the Digital Migration as having major economic benefits, while in fact it is a near bottomless pit for our tax money.

  5. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Oh… unlike you brainless Ricardo – I’ve always been able to see the light and that’s what makes me a Winner that will always vote ANC. Good to see that you’re still reading all the meaningless drivel posts that keep you so entertained in that exciting life of yours as a LOSER.

  6. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Contradicting yourself in the same way that you keep on following and reading comments of meaningless drivel speaks volumes about the state of absolute darkness you find yourself in; you’re not a very sharp fellow now, are you…???

  7. On the seventh day the Lord said! ‘Let their be light’. Now you beginning to see the big picture!

  8. There has to be an error somewhere? If you ran an operation such as a position held by this individual, the operation will either become redundant or its board of directors are really recent graduates from some mental institution. “Beam me up Scotty,Their is no intelligent life here.

  9. After your initial post above, I had some hope for you that maybe you were beginning to “see the light”. In fact I even had a suspicion that perhaps there was an imposter using your name. But I see you are back to making “comments of meaningless drivel” and clearly you do not want to see the light. There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. African logic is an oxymoron.

  10. Andrew Fraser on

    Surely, just investing R600K in these local crafts and arts would be money better spent?

  11. lol People ask why she had to go to an expo in the US. Answer: She had to represent.

    Sad.

    Represent… What?

  12. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Well… Brainless Ricardo – I don’t make assumptions; and it wasn’t from a suspicion that I knew you would once again be responding to meaningless drivel like you always have done; and again reveal exactly what kind of brainless fool you really are.

    This is a game where Winners make the rules and LOSERS are forced to live by those rules; and all that you manage to do successfully with your assumptions, is prove yourself to be the LOSER we already know you are.

  13. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    LMAO!! Only a fake MalcolmX would believe that the writings in a book brought by the same oppressor who came with guns to steal our land would offer any light… but thanks for confirming the kind of mental slave that you are.

  14. Correction! I hear a big black hole with that sucking sound! Light or matter cannot escape this vast emptiness of nothingness.

  15. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Wow… and right at the center is yours truly – Now I see, you really can’t help yourself can you? I really am flattered you powerless being. BTW – doesn’t that book of fiction of yours warn against the idolizing and following of false gods…??? never mind; it doesn’t seem that you’re able to read it accurately in any-case.

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