Why the Western Cape ANC objects to Beverley Schäfer serving on a committee to probe the Speaker

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Beverley Schäfer.
Beverley Schäfer.
Malherbe Nienaber
  • The Western Cape ANC objected to the appointment of Beverley Schäfer to an appeals committee to probe the legislature's Speaker.
  • The committee is to look into an appeal by the Speaker, Masizole Mnqasela, after he allegedly failed to disclose a family trust.
  • The ANC cited a "conflict of interest" as the reason behind the objection.

The ANC in the Western Cape legislature rejected the appointment of the Deputy Speaker, Beverley Schäfer, to an appeals committee to probe the failure of the Speaker, Masizole Mnqasela, to declare a family trust.

The committee was established to look into an appeal submitted by Mnqasela after he was found in breach of the code of conduct for failing to disclose the trust.

In a strongly-worded letter, the ANC said Schäfer's involvement in the appeals committee was a clear case of a "conflict of interest".

Mnqasela established the trust in 2018 - but he failed to disclose it in the disclosure forms he submitted in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The conduct committee was provided with copies of relevant disclosures and documents, which showed Mnqasela's interest in various companies, including a company which is a trustee of the Mnqasela Family Trust.

The committee recommended Mnqasela's privileges be suspended for seven days, he be reprimanded, and given a fine not exceeding the 30 days' salary value.

It emphasised the breach was considered a serious offence, especially for the Speaker, the highest office bearer of the legislature and the custodian of the code of conduct.

READ | Embattled Western Cape Speaker to appeal finding that he failed to disclose family trust

The ANC's Khalid Sayed, who penned the letter, said: "Given the cloud hanging over the head of the Deputy Speaker, as per recent media reports, and that she herself is allegedly under investigation by the conduct committee, she should not be part of the appeals process.

"She further had a public confrontation with the Speaker in the last leaders of parties forum, [thus] the ANC wishes to register its objection to the membership of the Deputy Speaker in the appeals committee and states emphatically that there is a conflict of interest, whether perceived or real."

Schäfer faces a probe by the conduct committee after it emerged that she refused to downgrade her state-funded luxury BMW vehicle after her term as MEC ended.

Mnqasela was suspended from all DA-related party activities, pending an investigation related to fraud and excessive spending. 

Masizole Mnqasela.

Sayed added: "The bitter fight between her and Mnqasela has torn the DA caucus in the legislature into pieces and, subsequently, negatively impacted on the oversight work of the legislature," he said. 

The Office of the Speaker referred media queries to the chair of the appeals committee. 

The ANC's letter was submitted to the ACDP's Ferlon Christians, who has been appointed as the chairperson of the appeals committee. 

Christians did not want to comment on the matter. 

Schäfer's spokesperson, Natalie Jardine, told News24 they had not seen the ANC's letter. 

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