Electoral Court wants Tlakula inquiry

Five political parties say judges should recommend she be removed from her post at the IEC.

Several opposition parties want Pansy Tlakula removed saying a finding of maladministration relating to an IEC headquarters leasing deal means she cannot be trusted to run next week’s elections. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The Electoral Court on Tuesday said it now wants to hold an inquiry into the conduct of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula.

Five political parties approached the court asking judges to recommend she be removed from her post.

Opposition parties say a finding of maladministration relating to her handling of IEC headquarters means she cannot be trusted.

When the three judges came back from lunch, it was announced Tlakula's conduct hearing would take place on Friday.

The judges want Tlakula to file legal papers for that hearing by Thursday evening.

But her lawyers are now arguing it would be unfair to have the hearing take place so quickly, simply saying she needs more time to prepare.

Tlakula's lawyer Daniel Burger further claims judges did not follow proper procedures.

Lawyers for the parties say the IEC chair will never be cleared of all the allegations against her.

The United Democratic Front (UDM), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (Cope), AgangSA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are the parties calling for Tlakula's head.

Last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Tlakula guilty of maladministration for her role in the IEC leasing debacle.

Advocate David Unterhalter, who is representing the opposition parties, says it is important for the electorate and political parties to have confidence the IEC.

He further argued the procurement process was neither fair, transparent or cost-effective.

Meanwhile, Judge Lotter Wepener says it's unclear if the National Assembly will even be able to convene before the elections.

He also questioned the urgency of the application.