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Tlakula's past could make her unsuitable for IEC position

Sapa

Five political parties calling for the removal of Pansy Tlakula say the track record of the IEC chairperson could make her inapt for her position.

Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Pansy Tlakula. (Paul Botes, M&G)

A person’s past could make them unsuitable for a certain position, the Electoral Court sitting in the high court in Johannesburg heard on Friday.

This is according to David Unterhalter SC, for five political parties calling for the removal of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula. The United Democratic Movement, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People, Agang SA, and the Economic Freedom Fighters want the court to issue a recommendation to Parliament to have Tlakula removed from office after allegations of misconduct. 

Their bid followed a forensic investigation by the treasury, which found the procurement of the IEC’s Riverside Office Park headquarters building in Centurion, Pretoria, was neither fair, transparent, nor cost-effective. The treasury’s investigation followed a recommendation by public protector Thuli Madonsela in her own report into the matter. 

Madonsela found Tlakula had a relationship – possibly of a romantic nature – with then chairperson of Parliament’s finance portfolio committee Thaba Mufamadi. He was a shareholder in Abland, which owns the IEC’s current premises. 

‘Honest mistake’
Meanwhile, the Electoral Court was asked on Thursday to dismiss an application to have Tlakula removed from her position.

Daniel Berger SC, for Tlakula, told the court in Johannesburg there was no basis for the recommendation that she be removed.

Tlakula has submitted that she made an “honest mistake” during the procurement process. On Thursday, Daniel Berger SC, for Tlakula, said the court should take into consideration that the procurement took place when she was chief executive of the IEC, not the chairperson. He argued the issue had not affected how she conducted her duties and the country held successful elections under her leadership last month. 

Unterhalter, however, argued on Friday that the matter could not be swept under the carpet just because it was not revealed when she applied for the chairperson position. The matter continues. – Sapa

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