The Democratic Alliance (DA) has released a statement estimating that Menzi Simelane and Mo Shaik, who have been appointed as special advisers to Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, sit at salaries of between nearly R2 million and R2.2 million per annum.
This followed the DA alleging that Sisulu was trying to cover up the appointment of the controversial pair. In a previous statement, DA MP Emma Louise Powell said Sisulu had redacted the names of the pair from a response to a parliamentary question, following an outcry at news of the appointments.
In a new statement, Powell said that Simelane and Shaik had been appointed according to the department of public service and administration’s (DPSA) level 16 grading according to the DPSA salary scales, which can be found here.
Powell said this meant the pair would be earning an estimated R1,978,533 per annum, or more than R2.2 million – double the amount members of parliament earn, depending on the notch on the salary scale their appointments have been benchmarked on.
The level 16 grading, Powell says, is usually only given to directors-general of national government departments. Powell also says the pair would be earning roughly R700,000 more a year than the ministry’s chief director, who she says holds both an honours degree in public administration and a master’s degree in economic policy.
According to the DA, the total annual cost of Sisulu’s ministerial staff is in excess of R13.9 million per year, excluding the costs of 19 additional employees appointed to her recently established national rapid response task team.
“By having yesterday attempted to re-issue her office’s response to a parliamentary question originally replied to with full staff details on Friday, the minister has done an excellent job revealing the cracks in her office, as well as the fact that she does not want taxpayers to know who she spends their money on – and just how much she is spending,” Powell said.
“The DA is yet to understand how an optometrist and an ex-prosecutor are qualified to provide advice to a department whose focus is on water, sanitation and housing delivery. There is no doubt that gross mis-hiring has taken place – and the deck has been stacked with well-paid political cadres.
“Sisulu’s staffing of a political war room in lieu of a capably staffed ministry will not be allowed to continue unabated, while taps are running dry across our nation.
“The DA will, in the coming days, reveal further information and action taken in regards to the minister’s office, and her national rapid response task team,” the statement concludes.
In response to media reports calling Shaik and Simelane’s appointments into question, the ministry released a statement saying the appointment of the pair was Sisulu’s “prerogative”, and completely above board legally. More on that here.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)