Tlakula: Elections will be free and fair

The embattled IEC chairperson says she is ready to preside over the 7 May polls.

FILE: Embattled IEC Chair Pansy Tlakula. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chair Pansy Tlakula says South Africans going to the polls this week can expect another credible, free and fair election.

National and provisional votes will be placed at around 22,000 stations across the country on Wednesday, with a total of 29 parties contesting the national race.

Tlakula has become embroiled in a legal battle with five parties which took her to the Electoral Court in an effort to have her removed from her post following Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's findings over her role in a controversial lease deal.

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

She found Tlakula guilty of maladministration and misconduct over the acquisition, noting that she failed to disclose her relationship with Thaba Mufamadi, a part-owner of the company.

The parties have maintained that Tlakula was guilty of misconduct and should have removed herself from the process of deciding which company was awarded the lease.

On Friday, the Electoral Court postponed hearing the application on the grounds that a decision could not be reached before 7 May.

Tlakula says she can now fully focus on the final election preparations.

"That took a lot out of her," explains her spokesperson Lorato Tshenkeng. "She could not be at work to make sure she does all that she's mandated to."

Meanwhile, political parties have been holding their final election rallies this weekend in an effort to sway voters just days before the ballots are cast.

Today, President Jacob Zuma will address supporters during the Siyanqoba Rally at the FNB Stadium near Soweto in Johannesburg, with some predicting up to 200,000 to attend.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Agang SA will also host their final rallies today.

At the same time, the Democratic Alliance (DA) will host a concert in Johannesburg after party leaders held their energetic final rally at the Coca-Cola dome in Northgate yesterday.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) also held rallies yesterday.