MPP’S must reapply for drivers

Radley Keys, MPP

Chief Whip to the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature

ATTEMPTS to delay the implementation of new conditions around Members of the KwaZulu-Natal Parliament (MPP’s) being provided with drivers have been buried after it was ruled that certificates provided by Traditional Healers, declaring MPP’s incapable of driving, would be rejected by the legislature.

The request by some MPP’s, that papers from traditional healers be accepted as proof of MPP’s inability to drive, was declined during a meeting of the provincial parliament’s Rules committee late last week. This was after an investigation revealed that there is no council for traditional healers and therefore they are not authorised to issue medical certificates.

This ruling puts to bed a long battle fought by the DA in the province to professionalise the system adopted by the Legislature to provide drivers to MMP’s in need. The finding at last brings finality to the alleged abuse by some MPP’s, who employed drivers despite the fact that they are fit and perfectly capable of driving themselves around. The cost to the taxpayer has been enormous.

The Rules committee has implemented the policies with immediate effect, which means Members who currently have drivers must apply afresh to be provided with drivers. The applications must include a qualified medical practitioner’s assessment stating that the MPP is incapable of driving him or herself, and this application will come before the Whips forum for recommendation to the Speaker. Applicants will also have to subject themselves to a Legislature appointed independent medical practitioner’s examination before the application is successful.

The DA welcomes the fact that exploitation of this perk will be kept in check. However we remain disappointed that allegations of abusing the system involve MPP’s in our province, who are themselves lawmakers and who should be setting an example to our society.

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