Chauffeurgate: Public Protector must investigate new twist
John Steenhuisen, Shadow Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs
18 April 2012
Not only are Members of Provincial Legislatures (MPLs) in KwaZulu-Natal being chauffeur-driven in luxury cars, they are allegedly appointing relatives and friends to do so at the state’s expense.
The policy of the provincial legislature in KwaZulu-Natal allows MPLs with special needs to choose their own assistants to provide support services – such as transport (see policy). Able-bodied MPLs now seem to be abusing this policy to get friends and family onto the payroll of the legislature. We believe that this may well be a violation of the Public Finance Management Act and supply chain management procedures relating to the procurement of goods and services.
We have therefore requested the Public Protector to include this in the investigation into Chauffeurgate which we called for last week, following information that MPLs in Limpopo and Kwa-Zulu-Natal are chauffeur-driven (see link to previous statement).
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will also be submitting a range of Parliamentary questions to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Richard Baloyi, to get clarity on the processes followed in the appointment of chauffeurs. Key questions will include:
- How approval is gained for individual MPLs to use public money to pay for private chauffeurs;
- The processes followed (if any) in the appointment of chauffeurs;
- Whether or not positions were advertised;
- How much money is spent annually chauffeuring MPLs in all the provinces?
The DA will also be writing to Minister Baloyi to request that he establishes a ministerial inquiry into this matter in order to determine the extent to which this abuse is taking place across the country.
There may be some circumstances which necessitate MPLs utilising transport provided by the state. It is also understandable that MPLs with special needs have flexibility in terms of appointing persons to provide essential support.
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.
We trust that Minister Baloyi will act with urgency to put a stop to these abuses.