MPLs set to lose chauffeur privilege

2012-10-17 00:00

CHAUFFEUR-DRIVEN KZN members of the KZN Legislature have failed in their efforts to hold onto this privilege by invoking the aid of traditional healers.

The legislature’s rules committee has ruled that certificates provided by traditional healers, declaring members of the provincial legislature (MPLs) incapable of driving, cannot be accepted.

The saga dubbed “Chauffeurgate” started in April this year when it was revealed that a third of the MPLs in the legislature were being chauffeur-driven, costing the taxpayer well over R3 million a year.

The DA’s Radley Keys accused some of his fellow parliamentarians of abusing policy that allowed aged and ailing MPLs who provided a medical certificate to have chauffeurs.

By June, the legislature’s rules committee was presented with a demand from certain members that traditional healers’ diagnoses on their ability to drive be recognised as a medically qualified opinion.

Staff who were tasked with investigating a new set of rules aimed at regulating the allocation of drivers, reported to the rules committee that there was no council for traditional healers and therefore they were not authorised to issue medical certificates.

Keys said the ruling at last brings finality to the alleged abuse of taxpayer’s money by MPLs.

The committee has implemented the policy with immediate effect so chauffeur-driven MPLs will have to re-apply to be provided with drivers. Their applications must be accompanied by a medical certificate issued by a qualified medical practitioner. Once submitted, an application will go to the whips forum for recommendation to the speaker. Applicants will also have to subject themselves to a state appointed independent medical practitioner’s examination before a decision is made on whether they will have a chauffeur or not.

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