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IEC bars workers' strike after threats over Tlakula resignation

Sapa

Following reports that IEC workers threatened to strike if its chairperson didn't resign, the commission says employees are barred from protesting.

Employees of the Electoral Commission cannot go on strike, said the organisation.

Employees of the Electoral Commission (IEC) cannot go on strike, the organisation said on Monday.

"[They] are barred from embarking on any strike since their services were declared essential services by Parliament," said spokesperson Kate Bapela.

The City Press reported on Sunday that the commission's workers threatened to strike if chairperson Pansy Tlakula was not removed before the May 7 elections.

According to the article, organisers of the unprecedented strike said it was supported by more than 90% of IEC employees who mandated the national negotiating forum – a worker's structure led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union – to enter into talks with IEC commissioners.

Tlakula has been fingered in an independent forensic audit as well as public protector Thuli Madonsela's report into the leasing of the IEC's R320-million head office in Centurion, Pretoria.

Opposition parties – including Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphela – have also called for her resignation.

"You cannot separate the issues of maladministration and corruption on the [acquisition] of the property from having such acts happening during the elections," Malema said after a multiparty forum meeting with the IEC in Pretoria on April 1.

"It is in the interest of the unity of this country, to avoid the possibility of civil war and disputed election results. She has seven days to step down or appropriate action will be announced regarding what is going to follow."

Legal proceedings
The ANC on April 3 came out in the commission's defence, saying Tlakula's issues did not impact the credibility of the elections.

The party issued a statement two days after Malema said opposition parties would initiate legal proceedings against the IEC. 

"The African National Congress has noted with concern statements attributed to various political parties calling for the resignation of the chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, advocate Pansy Tlakula," according to the ruling party's statement.

"The allegations surrounding the acquisition of the IEC headquarters in Centurion have no bearing on the 2014 general elections and the ANC is confident that the IEC has in place the necessary procedures and systems to deal with such allegations, without the interference of any political party." – Sapa

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