Landers: Committee won't second-guess Madonsela's IEC report

IEC chair Pansy Tlakula. (Gallo)

IEC chair Pansy Tlakula. (Gallo)

South Africans will have to trust the integrity of the special committee established by Parliament to consider the request of public protector Thuli Madonsela to refer her report on the investigation into Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) lease agreement to the Electoral Court.

Committee chairperson Lluwellyn Landers told journalists on Thursday that the committee will not be second-guessing Madonsela's investigation but focus on what it is required to do.

Although Landers said he did not want to pre-empt what route the committee will take in dealing with the matter, he said he didn't think the committee will conduct any investigation of the lease agreement.

"The public protector's office has investigated; unless somebody jumps up with very good reasons why there are aspects of the investigation that are flawed … and to my mind that is something that should be placed before the Electoral Court.

"If somebody suggests that we should investigate, I would need to be persuaded why, why do we need to reinvent the wheel? There's the report, the investigation has been done. Is there more to be investigated, what more?" said Landers.

He said the committee will have to decide whether to go beyond Madonsela's request and it can also decide not to agree to her request to refer the matter to the Electoral Court but will have to give reasons for that.

The Electoral Court is the only body that can decide on the removal of an IEC chairperson and its commissioners and it does this by referring the matter to the National Assembly for it to condone such a step.

The parliamentary committee has the powers to call anybody to give evidence.

Conflict of interest
Asked about a potential conflict of interest or bias as one of the people implicated in the lease matter is ANC MP Thaba Mufamadi, Landers responded: "You will have to trust my integrity."

This was also his response when asked about possible political pressure on the committee due to the political climate leading to general elections next year.

Landers spoke to journalists after the ad hoc committee met for the first time and elected him as its chairperson and discussed its programme.

It will meet again on Wednesday to start work on Madonsela's report.

In August, Madonsela found that the process followed by IEC chair Pansy Tlakula in securing a R320-millon lease for the IEC's head office in Centurion was "irregular … and violated procurement rules".

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa filed a complaint against the commission last year relating to the R320-million lease for the Riverside Office Park in Centurion, in which Parliament's finance portfolio committee chairperson Thaba Mufamadi's company, Manaka Property Investment, has a stake.

Madonsela found that Tlakula had not followed "her own commission's procurement policy", by running the procurement process herself instead of leaving it to the relevant departments.

A ruling of maladministration for failing to follow treasury regulations was also levelled against Tlakula. The advertisement requesting a proposal was found to be irregular, and Madonsela said the tender process could have prejudiced other bidders.

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