Calls for IEC head suspension, Tlakula stays put

JOHANNESBURG - The integrity of Independent Electoral Commission chair Pansy Tlakula is in question after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found her guilty of misconduct in connection with the relocation of the IEC’s head office in Pretoria.

Madonsela found that Tlakula acted improperly in the procurement of the IEC’s Centurion head office.

Tlakula took over the bid selection and evaluation process in securing the building, breaking the IEC’s rules.

“Advocate Tlakula had a duty to procure goods and services according to a system that not only is fair, but appears is equitable, transparent but is competitive, and cost effective. The advocate’s conduct in this regard is considered improper and constitutes maladministration,” Madonsela said.

Equally concerning was Tlakula failure to disclose the conflict of interest due to her close relationship with one of the shareholders in the property’s holding company. 

Madonsela has called for a forensic investigation by the National Treasury into the IEC’s supply chain management.

The public protector has left it up to parliament and IEC authorities to decide on what action, if any, Advocate Pansy Tlakula must face.

Opposition parties feel the only way to retain confidence in the commission&39;s work is to have Tlakula removed as chair.

“The UDM therefore calls for the immediate suspension of Pansy Tlakula and the entire EXCO, because once you conduct forensic auditing, those people should not be around that office. If I were in her boots, I would simply quit the IEC. She has messed up that entire administration,” UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said.

Madonsela has found that Tlakula’s behaviour poses a serious risk to the credibility of the IEC in the eyes of the public.

She says it could threaten its reputation as an impartial constitutional body.