President Jacob Zuma’s daughter Thuthukile was appointed chief of staff at the department of telecommunications and postal services after consideration of her “capacity” for the position, the department said on Friday.
“Thuthukile Zuma’s appointment… is consistent with the rules and regulations governing the appointment of people in government ministries,” spokesman Siya Qoza said in a statement.
“The minister only considered her capacity to do the job and her qualifications. Her genealogy was never a consideration.”
The minister referred to is Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that Zuma, 25, had landed the job of chief of staff in the ministry.
According to the newspaper, Thuthukile Zuma “may have made history as South Africa’s youngest head of a minister’s office”, and will earn almost R1 million a year.
Further, “it appears the post was never advertised”.
Thuthukile Zuma reportedly previously worked with Cwele at the State Security Agency, following him to her new post after the May elections.
She is the youngest of the president’s four daughters with his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former Cabinet minister who is currently African Union Commission chairwoman.
Thuthukile Zuma has an honours degree in anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand.
Qoza said the department’s human resource management unit had given assurances that there had been no complaints about her appointment.
According to the 2014 Estimates of National Expenditure, the chief of staff will manage a R4.1m budget in the telecommunications and postal services ministry.
The chief of staff post is seen as a very powerful position, with the incumbent responsible for the overall management of staff, and the office’s budget in the ministry.