Chauffeur furore‘cheap politics’

2012-08-23 00:00

CHAUFFEUR-DRIVEN members of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature are trying by hook or by crook to hold on to their chauffeur privileges, says the Democratic Alliance.

The party said in a statement that MPLs who make use of drivers presented the legislature’s rules committee on June 19 with a demand that traditional healers’ diagnosis on their ability to drive be recognised as a medically qualified opinion.

The rules committee is looking at a new set of rules aimed at regulating the allocation of drivers.

The amended rules are crafted to recognise that when a member is genuinely incapable of driving, he or she will be given the required assistance.

Radley Keys of the DA said the party considered the demands of these members a blatant delaying tactic — one aimed at blocking the removal of privileges obtained through the back door.

He said the committee apparently decided to investigate whether there was a medically registered association for traditional healers before it could consider the demand.

“To introduce an opinion that requires a physiological assessment without that source being a recognised medically qualified source is both mischievous and undermines the integrity of our provincial parliament.

“We do recognise that some members are not able to drive themselves and therefore proposed that members pay for their own drivers, as has been the practice since 1994 …”

KZN deputy speaker Mtholephi Mthimkhulu dismissed the claim, saying there was no such demand and accused the DA of cheap politics.

“All that happened was that the rules committee had two grey areas they needed clarity on … so they sent the amended policy back to party caucuses for clarification.”

He said the policy was silent about traditional healers and about whether health specialists revealing private medical records would contravene doctor-client confidentiality.

The provincial legislature has in the past faced criticism because some members have allegedly abused the system, allegedly hiring drivers when they can drive themselves.

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