Parties call for Tlakula's head

Pressure is mounting for urgent action to be taken against Pansy Tlakula.

Pansy Tlakula. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Several political parties are calling for Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chief Pansy Tlakula to be suspended in the wake of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's damning report against her.

Madonsela found Tlakula guilty of maladministration and misconduct over the IEC's acquisition of a new R320 million office in Centurion.

In 2011, UDM Leader Bantu Holomisa asked Madonsela to investigate the corruption allegations against Tlakula.

While the IEC has moved to assure the public that the report will have no bearing on next year's elections, political parties have raised serious questions about the credibility of the commission with this cloud hanging over it.

Cope's J.J. Abrie says the contravention of the procurement prescripts raises eyebrows and could have an impact on public confidence.

"We don't believe they can be trusted in overseeing an election campaign if they can't oversee the renting of an office."

The Democratic Alliance's Manny de Freitas is calling for an urgent meeting with both Madonsela and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs.

"If it's found conclusively it was corruption or mishandling, certainly she should be fired."

Holomisa also welcomed the findings.

"She should be shown the door with immediate effect."

TLAKULA MAINTAINS INNOCENCE

Tlakula maintains she did not violate IEC policy.

She said the irregular expenditure that arose out of the contract was declared in the 2010/11 financial statement.

She told Eyewitness News on Monday she won't resign from her position as she had done nothing wrong.

"There are no allegations of fraud, no allegations of money being stolen or me having benefited from this tender."

She said she was not part of the decision to award the multimillion Rand building lease to Abland, saying there was simply no misconduct or any conflict of interest involved.

"We gave two proposals to the commissioner without indicating what our preference was and the commission chose Abland."

'UNDISCLOSED CONFLICT OF INTEREST'

Madonsela also found that Tlakula failed to disclose her business relationship with a co-director involved in the property deal and has recommended that President Jacob Zuma take urgent steps against her.

The IEC had initially decided to award the lease contract to Menlyn Corporate Park, but Tlakula later expressed her dissatisfaction with the decision and the decision was made to sign with Abland.

Madonsela says National Treasury must now consider reviewing the entire lease.

She described Tlakula's conduct as an "unmanaged and undisclosed conflict of interest" and said the consequences included significant damage to the reputation of the IEC.

Madonsela says although there is a genuine need for a bigger building, for a more reasonable price, the process was flawed.