DA calls on Madonsela to probe MPLs’ abuse of chauffeur rules

2012-04-13 00:00

A DAY after reports that a third of KwaZulu-Natal MPLs were being chauffuered at taxpayers’ expense, the Democaratic Aliance has also pointed fingers at Limpopo.

DA MP John Steenhuisen has written to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela requesting a full investigation into what he believes is the widespread abuse of public money to pay for chauffeur-driven vehicles for MPLs.

In a statement, Steenhuisen said the DA had acquired confidential documents showing how ANC MPLs in Limpopo were being chauffeur-driven in luxury Chrysler Voyagers for personal and party-political purposes.

The documents detailed how Limpopo ANC chief whip Jan Tsiane was able to get the legislature to bankroll trips for MPLs to ANC centenary celebrations and Women’s League events.

“A reliable source also informs us that, in one instance, an ANC MPL was driven to Pretoria for a personal medical appointment,” he said in a statement.

As reported in The Witness yesterday, the chauffeurs were appointed as part of a legislature policy allowing MPLs who are physically incapable of driving to be transported for official duties.

Steenhuisen claims that of the 22 MPLs currently using drivers, at least 20 “are in perfect physical condition”.

There appears to have been some abuse, with the KZN Legislature’s chief operating officer Bongani Sibisi telling The Witness the rules committee had been tasked with tightening the policy.

These would be discussed next month at the committee’s next meeting.

Steenhuisen said Madonsela had been asked to investigate:

• whether provincial or national laws had been contravened;

• whether similar abuses were taking place in other provinces;

• how much public money had been spent on luxury vehicles and drivers; and

• which MPLs were involved in each case and the appropriate sanction, if any.

The DA would also continue to push for the full details of these travel costs, including petrol and accommodation for the MPLs and their drivers, salaries for chauffeurs and the reasons for each trip, Steenhuisen said.

The ANC’s spokesperson in Limpopo, Makonde Mathivha, said the party had heard about the letter written to Madonsela, but they had not yet seen it.

“We won’t be able to comment on it until we have seen a copy of it,” he said.

He also said the DA had every right to approach any institution with any complaint, adding they did not see it as being wrong.

Spokesperson for Madonsela, Kgalalelo Masibi, told The Witness they had not yet received the letter from the DA.

— Witness Reporter.

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