Tlakula's legal team prepare for inquiry

The Electoral Court will hold an inquiry into the IEC chair's conduct.

IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chairperson Pansy Tlakula's legal team is now going to have work through the night to prepare for tomorrow's deadline to file their argument in the Electoral Court's hearing into her fitness to hold office.

Yesterday, the court ruled it must now investigate whether she can preside over next week's elections.

The United Democratic Movement, African Christian Democratic Party, Congress of the People, AgangSA and the Economic Freedom Fighters approached the court asking judges to recommend she be removed from her post.

The opposition parties said a finding of maladministration relating to her handling of an IEC headquarters leasing deal means she cannot be trusted.

It appears the three judges were impressed by the argument by the five political parties that this issue is so important it must be dealt with now.

They also said if the claims against Tlakula were false, her name would be cleared before the elections and if the claims were true, she would be stopped from presiding over the polls.

Tlakula's attorney Leslie Mkhabela, said they now have to prepare to lodge documents tomorrow and argue on Friday.

"The court has made a determination that we have to be here on Friday and we'll respect that."

Tlakula's lawyers had argued it would be unfair to put her through an inquiry with so little time.

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

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

However, Tlakula has denied any wrongdoing, and maintains her ability to oversee the electoral process remains intact.