Opposition claim DA shielding Schäfer

Provincial legislature deputy speaker Beverley Schäfer. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

Provincial legislature deputy speaker Beverley Schäfer. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 30, 2024


More political parties have expressed concern that provincial legislature deputy speaker Beverley Schäfer’s appeal hearing, which recently started, has already seen an indefinite postponement.

ActionSA in the province said they viewed this as an attempt by the DA to evade accountability for Schäfer.

The appeals committee members were informed about the postponement in a letter on the second day of the hearings.

Schäfer was found guilty by the conduct committee of breaching the code of conduct, and a fine of R17 800 and a seven-day suspension of privileges as deputy speaker was recommended.

An investigation revealed that Schäfer misused a BMW X5 SUV costing the state more than R150 000, despite being allocated an Audi Q5 by the legislature.

“In the light of the speaker’s failure to recover the fruitless and wasteful expenditure from the deputy speaker and the latest indefinite postponement of the appeal proceedings, the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that the deputy speaker, aided by the executive authority, has successfully evaded accountability. ActionSA believes that the true measure of a government’s ethical standing lies in its commitment to transparency and accountability, both of which have been notably lacking in this matter,” said ActionSA’s provincial chairperson Michelle Wasserman.

The EFF described the postponement as a slap in the face of the public and those who stand against injustices.

MPL Aishah Cassiem said finalising of the appeal was initially expected to conclude in three days.

The ANC also condemned the postponement claiming it was a “delaying tactic from the DA to block accountability”.

Committee chairperson Andricus van der Westhuizen said he was pushing for the appeal to be finalised soon.

“Unfortunately, opposition members submitted apologies at the very last minute during the last meeting held on December 6, 2023 due to other party-political commitments.

“The DA members present then restricted the discussion to procedural issues, which were clarified with the legal advisor.

“I then approached the chief whip for special permission for the appeals committee to meet in January during members’ constituency period. This permission was granted.

“I unfortunately did not note at the time that the dates coincide with the first week, and particularly the opening day, of schools for 2024. Members met on Wednesday and Thursday. As the discussions took place in a closed meeting, I cannot divulge why the meeting adjourned on Thursday,” said Van Der Westhuizen.

He said the schedule for future meetings of the committee will be determined by the multiparty parliamentary programming committee in line with the slots reserved for all committees at its next meeting.

Cape Times