Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have voiced their dissatisfaction over the postponement in the appeal hearing of Western Cape legislature's deputy speaker Beverley Schäfer.
The appeal revolves around her alleged misuse of a BMW X5 SUV, incurring a cost exceeding R150 000 to the state.
The hearing was postponed by the legislature’s appeals committee chairperson, as it was originally scheduled to be completed within a 3-day period starting last week.
Schäfer’s case started almost five years ago after complaints that she refused to downgrade her luxury statefunded BMW X5 when her six-month stint as MEC ended in May 2019 were investigated.
The legislature’s conduct committee found her guilty of violating the code of conduct by misusing the BMW X5 SUV.
Schäfer was found guilty and fined R17 800. The committee suspended her privileges as deputy speaker and her right to a seat in parliamentary debates or committees for seven days.
Addressing the rescheduling, Aishah Cassiem, a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) from the EFF, asserted that the postponement of the issue was yet another tactic employed by the DA to defer taking responsibility for its own actions.
“With the way things kicked off in the first two days of the appeals matter, it was obvious that the finalising of the appeal would not be concluded in the first three days as planned.
“The DA came with a clear agenda/ mandate to delay the process,” said Cassiem.
“Not only are the accused's attorneys giving the committee a runaround, but the DA members serving on the committee are now also joining in on delaying the process even further.
“To adjourn the meeting on the second day ‘until further notice’ is a slap in the face of the public and all those who stand against injustices. The only members who were happy about the postponement were DA members, while the ANC and EFF called for it to continue,” she said.
Committee chairperson Andricus van der Westhuizen said the parliamentary programme dictates the business of Parliament, including all committees.
“Upon my request last year, approval was granted to conduct meetings during a week that was actually set aside for members to be working in their constituencies.
“The committee will now be conducting its business as per procedure, and slots are reserved for all committees to deal with their respective business in the first quarter of 2024,” said Van der Westhuizen.
In a letter addressed to the Appeals Committee members dated January 19, seen by the Cape Argus, it states that, "The Appeals Committee has postponed until further notice... The new date of this meeting will be communicated once the chairperson has liaised with the chief whips in this regard.”