Coalition of Political Parties Baying for Tlakula’s Blood

By Oliver Ngwenya    06-Apr-2014 00:19 UTC+02:00
Pansy Tlakula, IEC Chairwoman- Time to ponder about the future? Photo: Times Live.

Pansy Tlakula, IEC Chairwoman- Time to ponder about the future? Photo: Times Live.

South Africa is still reeling in the aftermath of two very damning reports. The more commonly known Thuli Madonsela’s report which found that President Jacob Zuma and his family benefitted from the non security upgrades carried out on his Nkandla home in KwaZulu Natal. The Public Protector recommended that the ANC leader repay a portion of the R246 million that the upgrades cost.

The other, less known report, was carried out by the Pricewaterhouse Cooper into the conduct of the Independant Electoral Commission when it procured its Riverside Office Park in Centurion, Pretoria. In particular, the report, which was released last month and had been commissioned by the Public Protector, focussed on the role of the Commission’s chairperson, Pansy Tlakula in this process and how she conducted herself. The private investigators in Pricewaterhouse Cooper found that the procurement process was neither fair, transparent nor cost effective. The report further found that Tlakula, in her capacity as the leader of the IEC, did not give guidance on the people involved in the process and inform them about what was expected of them.

It is against this backdrop that various opposition political parties met earlier this week in Pretoria to discuss these and a few other issues with the Independant Electoral Commission. The IEC is one of the Chapter nine institutions which form the basis of the South African democracy and is tasked with running the South African elections transparently and fairly. After the meeting, the leader of the new Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema told reporters that all the present parties with the exception of the Democratic Alliance and the Freedom Front Plus were in agreement that Advocate Tlakula needed to step down in order to facilitate a respectable election. Also speaking immediately after the meeting, Bantu Holomisa, the leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) informed the media that all the parties had resolved to push for the outsing of the Commission’s leader. He added that, should she not resign of her own accord, the alliance of opposition parties would seek legal channels. He however, did not elaborate.

Also adding her voice to the discontent, the leader of the new AgangSA, Doctor Mamphele Ramphele argued that it would be disrespectful to South Africans if the chairperson of the organisation that ran their elections was somebody implicated in issues raised by both the public prosecutor and a forensic audit. She further argued that, if that happened, it could not be said of South Africans that they had the power to hold public officials accountable. Consequently, she proposed that the electoral body be headed by somebody ‘without a whiff of a cloud over her head’.

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