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MPs can’t consider IEC report

The Public Protector has come under fire for not referring the matter to the Electoral Court.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The committee tasked with considering the Public Protector's report into the lease for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)'s headquarters says it has no legal mandate to do so.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela referred the report to Parliament after finding that IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula failed to declare a conflict of interest in awarding the lease.

Tlakula, who has denied any wrongdoing, was CEO of the IEC at the time.

Members of Parliament (MPs) from all parties agreed that the committee cannot do what Madonsela wants, with some questioning her grasp of Parliament's mandate and the doctrine of separation of powers.

Advocate Johnny de Lange says once Madonsela found evidence of wrongdoing, she should have halted her probe and referred it to the Electoral Court for further investigation.

Only after that should it have come to Parliament.

"For obvious reasons that clause is there because you don't want political interference in the removal of commissioners."

De Lange says Madonsela's recommendation showed breathtaking naivety.

MPs from all parties agree the committee cannot consider her report.