MPLs rubbish claims of ‘friends, family’ drivers

2012-04-19 00:00

NOT only are KwaZulu-Natal Members of the Provincial Legislature being chauffeur-driven in luxury cars, they are also allegedly appointing relatives and friends to drive them around at the state’s expense, the Democratic Alliance alleged yesterday.

But of the 20 names of chauffeur-driven MPLs given to The Witness, only one person admitted to hiring a close family member, saying she needed someone she could trust.

MPL Rena Naidoo told The Witness that she had employed a close relative as a driver.

“You cannot advertise for a driver, and besides, you need someone who is close to you and someone whom you can trust, so that even when you call at 12 at night they will be there.”

At least three MPLs described the allegations as an outright lie while two declined to comment.

Priscilla McKay rubbished the statement. “Given that I am white and my driver is black I do not know how they drew that conclusion [that we are related],” she said.

McKay said that before she appointed her driver she inquired from her colleagues whether there was anyone looking for a job and the driver was recommended.

“The DA is grossly exaggerating the situation.

“I am 72 and been in the legislature for years and now need a driver — what’s the big deal?”

Inkosi Bonga Mdlesthe of the IFP rubbished the statement, but referred the matter to the IFP caucus.

Dr Lionel Mtshali said that while he had not seen the statement and had heard about it from The Witness, the allegations were rubbish.

Zanele Ludida said the allegations were an outright lie.

“We are not relatives and my driver was recommended to me,” she said.

Mbali Fraser, also listed among the names, declined to comment, saying any media remark would be “un-ANC”.

“There is a protocol at the ANC and there are people responsible for that. I would not be a disciplined cadre if I responded.”

The policy of the KZN Legislature allows MPLs with special needs to choose assistants to provide support services such as transport.

The DA said it would call on the Public Protector and Co-operative Governance minister Richard Baloyi to investigate the matter.

“Able-bodied MPLs now seem to be abusing this policy to get friends and family onto the payroll of the legislature.”

“It is, however, simply unconscionable that MPL’s who do not qualify for assistance in terms of the policy on ‘Facilities for Members with Special Needs’ are being ferried around and that public money is used to pay for this luxury,” said the DA.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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