ActionSA Expresses Concern Over Indefinite Postponement of Appeal Hearing and Failure to Hold WC Deputy Speaker Accountable

ActionSA is concerned about the indefinite postponement of appeal proceedings which have been lodged by the Deputy Speaker of the Western Cape Legislature, Beverley Schäfer, after the Conduct Committee found her guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct by refusing to return a state-owned luxury BMW X5 SUV.

This indefinite postponement appears to be another attempt to defer accountability for Schäfer.

The State Attorney found that the Deputy Speaker wrongfully used the luxury vehicle, leading to fruitless and wasteful expenditure totaling R158,297.86. The State Attorney directed the Speaker of the Western Cape Legislature, in his capacity as the Executive Authority of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, to initiate the recovery of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure from the Deputy Speaker.

Despite our follow-ups, ActionSA remains concerned about the lack of progress regarding the implementation of the State Attorney’s recommendations. Consequently, we filed a complaint with the Public Protector in November 2023 to ensure adherence to the State Attorney’s recommendations.

ActionSA requested an investigation focusing on the current status of the implementation of the State Attorney’s recommendations and whether both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker may have conducted themselves in a manner inconsistent with the expected standards for public office bearers, particularly in fulfilling their obligation to uphold accountability.

In 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.