Pansy Tlakula tipped as new IEC chairperson

Pansy Tlakula has been appointed by President Jacob Zuma as the new chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), well-placed sources have told the Mail & Guardian.

Tlakula, formerly chief electoral officer at the IEC, replaces Brigalia Bam, who served as the chairperson from 1999 until retiring this year.

Bam had worked at the IEC from 1994 when South Africa’s first multi-party elections took place.

Tlakula’s position at the IEC now needs to be filled.

Terry Tselane, who worked as a commissioner at the IEC since 1994, will be deputy chairperson.

The official announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday afternoon.

Tselane and Tlakula both have lengthy CVs.

Tlakula joined the IEC in 2002. She is an advocate and has a legal degree from Harvard. She was a member of the SA Human Rights Commission for 1995 to 2002 and was former national director of the Black Lawyers Association in 1994 and 1995.

Tselane has been the chief executive officer at the Gauteng Film Commission since 2006. From 2002 to 2006 he was CEO of Gauteng Tourism and the provincial electoral officer for Gauteng in 2007.

The parliamentary ad hoc committee recommended both Tselane and Tlakula for the vacant positions along with former head of the presidency Frank Chikane, Eastern Cape provincial electoral officer Bongani Finca and Helen Suzman Foundation director Raenette Taljaard.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, South African Human Rights Commission chairperson Lawrence Mushwana and acting chairperson for the Commission for Gender Equality Mfanozelwe Sohizi made up the committee, which was headed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

The IEC is a body protected by Chapter Nine of the Constitution as an independent body that oversees democratic elections to ensure they are free and fair.

According to staff at the IEC, the organisation urgently needed leadership because a number of immediate tasks must be undertaken.

Commissioners’ initial tasks would include helping the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to conduct credible and peaceful elections, following reports of election-related violence in Kinshasa.

The new commissioners were also expected to put into place systems that will enable a single election for all spheres of government to take place at the same time in South Africa by 2014.

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Charles Molele
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