Kriegler: Tlakula debacle undesirable

Kriegler is concerned by the Tlakula scandal but remains confident it won't destabilise the elections.

Several political parties are calling on IEC chair Pansy Tlakula to step down before the elections. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The first Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson of the democratic South Africa says it's "undesirable" that opposition parties and IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula are at loggerheads over her post with just over a week before the general election.

Judge Johann Kriegler, who oversaw the 1994 elections, has spoken out about the current move by opposition parties to force Tlakula to resign.

The parties want the IEC chair to step down before 7 May when millions of South Africans will cast their votes.

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.

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

Kriegler has expressed concern over the situation, but remains confident that it won't destabilise the elections.

"In principle, obviously it's undesirable, but I doubt it will have an impact on the legitimacy of the elections," he says.

Meanwhile, Tlakula says she will go to great lengths to clear her name.

She says she doesn't believe her presence in the office will affect the credibility of the elections.

"I don't believe the noncompliance issue will affect the credibility of the organisation because, when people speak about this matter, their impression is I was sitting in some corner fixing a tender and these decision weren't mine alone."

The Electoral Court will hear the application tomorrow.