Constitutional Court dismisses Pansy Tlakula’s appeal bid

2014-08-15 15:43

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Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Pansy Tlakula’s application for leave to appeal the Electoral Court’s ruling that her misconduct in 2009 warrants her removal from office has been dismissed by the Constitutional Court.

“The Constitutional Court has considered this application for leave to appeal,” the court said in its judgment.

“It has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it bears no prospects of success.”

The application was dismissed with costs yesterday.

Before the May 7 elections several opposition parties approached the Electoral Court seeking Tlakula’s resignation.

This followed a finding by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, and a subsequent forensic investigation by the national treasury, over the procurement of the electoral commission’s Riverside Office Park building in Centurion. Tlakula was chief electoral officer at the time.

Madonsela found that Tlakula had a relationship, possibly of a romantic nature, with then chairperson of Parliament’s finance portfolio committee Thaba Mufamadi.

Mufamadi was a shareholder in Abland, which was awarded the R320 million contract to lease the building.

The treasury probe found the procurement process was neither fair, transparent nor cost-effective. It found Tlakula neither gave guidance nor formally informed various people about what was expected of them in the process.

On June 18, Electoral Court Judge Lotter Wepener found Tlakula’s misconduct warranted her removal from office.

On July 1, President Jacob Zuma granted Tlakula’s request for special leave of absence until a final decision was made on her fitness to hold office.

In her Constitutional Court papers, Tlakula claimed the Electoral Court erred in its finding and that its procedures were unfair.

She denied being guilty of misconduct, and argued that the Electoral Commission Act did not govern the conduct of a commissioner, prior to him or her assuming office.

Tlakula contended that the Electoral Court erred in its interpretation of the Electoral Commission Act, and its rejection of her explanation.

She also believed that her relationship with Mufamadi did not constitute a conflict of interest.

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