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'IEC lost 20 years of institutional memory'

Political analyst Ebrahim Fakir says Pansy Tlakula was an integral part of the IEC.

FILE: Former IEC chair Pansy Tlakula and President Jacob Zuma inspect the national election centre at its opening in Pretoria ahead of the 2014 elections on 30 April 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As Advocate Pansy Tlakula plans a new life after resigning as chair of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), analysts say the institution has lost 20 years of institutional memory.

Tlakula stepped down yesterday, after the Electoral Court found she should be removed from her post following a finding by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that she was guilty of misconduct for her role in a headquarters leasing scandal.

Political analyst Ebrahim Fakir says the former IEC chair had been an integral part of the organisation first as chief electoral officer and then as its chair

"The depth of experience is lost in the organisation that supports our democracy."

Now, the search for a new chair will begin.

Parties say that person needs to be properly independent and able to stand up to bullying.

Fakir says her replacement needs to understand how elections work.

"It has to be someone who has appreciation of the framework which is needed and the ability to negotiate and to be able to negotiate with political parties."

The African National Congress says it hopes advocate Tlakula and her contributions will not be lost to South Africa after her resignation.

The ruling party says Tlakula has served South Africa with distinction and that as a result, the organisation delivered credible elections.

Meanwhile, United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said Tlakula's resignation is long overdue.

Holomisa lodged the original complaint with Madonsela which led to the finding of misconduct.

He claims Tlakula only hung on for so long because she had political support.

Shortly before the 7 May elections, five political parties launched an application at the Electoral Court to have Tlakula removed from her post.

The matter was postponed after it was found that a decision could not be made before the nation went to the polls.

The now former IEC head has always claimed she did not personally benefit from the commission's granting a contract to her business partner.