Tlakula issue taken to Electoral Court

Seven opposition parties are calling for the IEC chair to step down ahead of the 7 May polls.

The parties say the independence of the IEC must not only be maintained in fact but also in perception. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula's failure to step down is harming the credibility and legitimacy of the polls, seven opposition parties told the Electoral Court on Thursday.

South Africans go to the polls for national and provincial elections on 7 May.

Last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a damning report on the IEC's procurement of its R320 million Centurion offices from property developers Abland.

She found Tlakula guilty of maladministration and misconduct over the acquisition.

Madonsela said the IEC chair failed to disclose her relationship with Thaba Mufamadi, a part-owner of Abland.

Parties have now lodged papers with the court asking judges to remove her.

In the documents, the seven parties say Mufamadi is on the list of ANC candidates submitted to the IEC.

They say at one point, Tlakula even introduced him to officials at the IEC headquarters as her business partner, but now claims she is under no legal obligation to formally state they are working together.

The parties say the independence of the IEC must be maintained, especially with the public.

They claim if the IEC's credibility is tarnished, the image of the entire electoral process will also be affected.

The political parties further claim the IEC can run the elections without Tlakula at the helm.

It is the first time in South African history the court has been asked to force the IEC chair to step down.