Chauffeurs for MPLs cost taxpayers millions

CHAUFFEUR-driven members of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature are costing the taxpayer R264,000 a month.

The 22 MPLs are being driven to and from the provincial parliament by contract drivers, who are paid R12,000 a month.

Speaking at the legislature budget hearing yesterday, legislature chief executive Nerusha Naidoo said the payment for the chauffeurs came from the compensation of employees' budget.

Most of the chauffeured MPLs are ANC members while five are from the IFP. No DA MPLs use chauffeurs.

Finance committee chairwoman Belinda Scott said there was no need for alarm bells as there were justifiable reasons for the members to be chauffeured.

Some of these reasons include medical problems and old age, according to MPLs who did not want to be named.

However, DA caucus leader in the legislature Sizwe Mchunu said there was an abuse of this privilege as some of the members did not fit the criteria to be driven around by a chauffer.

IFP caucus leader in the legislature Blessed Gwala said he had not been made aware that some of the party's MPLs were being chauffeured.

"The IFP has no policy on MPLs who are unfit to drive themselves or who need to be driven by drivers employed by the legislature. We had not been informed by our members that they were being driven. This is a matter we will need to investigate," Gwala said.

Some MPLs have disabilities and others have ongoing ailments ranging from a spinal cord injury to injuries sustained in accidents.

An MPL, who did not want to be named, said the number of older MPLs who needed to be driven around showed there were few youthful members in the legislature.