Jacob Zuma considering Pansy Tlakula's leave request

2014-06-23 16:56

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President Jacob Zuma is considering Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula’s request for special leave, the presidency said.

“President Jacob Zuma has received a request for special leave from Advocate Pansy Tlakula,” said acting spokesperson for the president Ronnie Mamoepa in a statement today.

“The president is considering the request and the outcome will be relayed to Advocate Tlakula.”

Tlakula asked Zuma to put her on special leave following the electoral court’s recommendation that she be removed from office.

Last week, Tlakula’s lawyer Leslie Mkhabela said the chairperson would appeal against the recommendation in the Constitutional Court.

“In the meanwhile, she will be approaching the president of the republic to seek his permission to take leave of absence from office while the appeal process is under way,” Mkhabela said at the time.

Several opposition parties approached the Electoral Court seeking Tlakula’s resignation as IEC chair before the May 7 elections.

However, the matter was postponed until after the elections to allow the court time to make a recommendation.

The United Democratic Movement, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People, Agang SA and the Economic Freedom Fighters wanted Tlakula’s resignation, arguing her integrity was compromised.

This followed a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and a subsequent forensic investigation by Treasury into the procurement of the IEC’s Riverside Office Park building in Centurion. Tlakula was chief electoral officer at the time.

Madonsela found, among other things, that Tlakula had a relationship – possibly of a romantic nature – with the then chairman of Parliament’s finance portfolio committee, Thaba Mufamadi.

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

The Treasury probe found the procurement process was not fair, transparent or cost-effective. It found Tlakula neither gave guidance nor formally informed various people what was expected of them in the process.

In a written judgment on Wednesday, Judge Lotter Wepener concluded Tlakula’s misconduct warranted her removal from office.

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