Zuma ally to chair the IEC

One year after controversial Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula resigned under a cloud, President Jacob Zuma has appointed longtime ally Vuma Mashinini to head the IEC.

On Wednesday afternoon, the presidency announced that Mashinini would now serve as IEC chairperson.

He was appointed a commissioner at the IEC in April this year.

“Mr Mashinini served as deputy chief electoral officer of the IEC from 1998 to 2001, where he was responsible for the establishment and administration of the national head office, all nine provincial electoral offices and approximately 350 municipal electoral offices,” said Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Majola.

Majola said Mashinini had served previously as special projects adviser to the president.

He said Zuma wished him well.

The IEC was without a chairperson when Tlakula resigned after failing to be exonerated from involvement in a botched leasing deal for IEC headquarters.

Public protector Thuli Madonsela found in August last year that Tlakula had flouted procurement regulations in securing a R320-million lease for the IEC’s head office in Centurion and had an “unmanaged conflict of interest” as a result of the separate and undisclosed business relationship with business associate Thaba Mufamadi. A subsequent report by the treasury made similar findings.

When Mashinini was appointed a commissioner of the IEC, the Democratic Alliance said it was an attempt by the president to capture a critical state institution.

“Mr Mashinini is a close ally of President Zuma and he should never have been nominated for this position in the first place,” the party said at the time.

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