Tlakula inquiry to begin

The IEC chair says it would be a dereliction of her duties to resign.

IEC Chair Pansy Tlakula. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chair Advocate Pansy Tlakula has told the Electoral Court it would be a dereliction of her duties to resign just because political parties are pressuring her to go.

The court will start a full inquiry today into whether her conduct during a headquarters leasing deal means it should recommend her removal before Wednesday's elections.

Five political parties said she must resign to safeguard the integrity of the election.

In her legal papers, Tlakula said she's done nothing that can be construed as dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent and that there is no basis to believe the IEC's integrity has been harmed.

She explained in detail how the IEC came to decide to rent its current headquarters, saying the final decision was made by the commissioners and not by herself as she was still CEO at the time.

Tlakula also said that she was not present at the meeting that saw the company Abland get onto the shortlist.

She said there was no way she stood to gain personally from making the commission use the firm that eventually won the contract.

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.

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

The protector said the IEC head failed to disclose her relationship with Thaba Mufamadi, a part-owner of Abland.

She recommended President Jacob Zuma take urgent steps against Tlakula.