Tlakula relieved at inquiry postponement
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula on Saturday welcomed a court decision to postpone an investigation into her fitness to hold office.
“While I am relieved, I should reiterate that with less than a week to go before the May 7 polls, this is not a time to celebrate, but to continue with what I have been doing in the past months since we started preparing for the 2014 general elections – to lead my team through another credible, free and fair election in our country,” she said.
“South Africans both here and abroad can rest assured of an efficient and professionally run election of significance in the 20th anniversary of our democracy.”
On Friday, the electoral court sitting in the Johannesburg high court postponed an inquiry into a bid to have Tlakula removed from office.
Judge Lotter Wepener said the court would not be able to make a recommendation by 5pm on Tuesday. He postponed the matter to June 2.
Several opposition parties lodged an application seeking Tlakula’s resignation as chairperson of the IEC. The parties are the United Democratic Movement, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People, Agang SA and the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Their application followed a forensic investigation by the national treasury into the procurement of the IEC’s Riverside Office Park building in Centurion.
The probe found that the process was neither fair, transparent nor cost-effective. It found that Tlakula did not give guidance or formally inform various people of what was expected of them in the process. The treasury’s report followed a recommendation by public protector Thuli Madonsela in her own report into the matter, released in August last year.
Tlakula on Saturday maintained she had done nothing wrong.
“Everything surrounding the lease agreement was overboard and hence I lodged an application to court to review and set aside the report of the public protector,” she said.
“My commitment to public service remains unwavering and I will continue to execute my duties as required by law and my mandate without fear, favour or prejudice.”
She assured South Africans that the elections were in the safe hands of the commission.
“All our staff are committed to ensuring that the elections are run smoothly, giving an opportunity to all South Africans to cast their votes on May 7,” Tlakula said.