Tlakula must just step aside

2014-04-06 14:00

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula has become a point of attack for several opposition parties who believe she should resign after two reports found she was involved in an improper leasing deal for IEC offices.

Last year, the Public Protector found Tlakula had played a grossly irregular role in the procuring of IEC offices.

This year, a subsequent forensic report commissioned by the Treasury confirmed the Public Protector’s findings and concluded Tlakula should be held responsible for the flawed deal.

Tlakula has gone to court to review the Public Protector’s findings and did not cooperate with the Treasury’s forensic investigation.

The IEC chairperson wants to be allowed to do her work until the court rules on her application.

This despite opposition parties arguing the integrity of the elections would be compromised if she remained in office during the elections.

Whether or not this is true, perceptions matter.

We do not see any reason Tlakula can’t voluntarily step aside in the interests of credible elections that can’t be challenged on the basis of her personal issues.

Since 1994, South Africa has prided itself on the integrity of its elections and we can ill-afford the cloud hanging over her to mar these elections.

Stepping aside would not be an admission of guilt but would protect the institution she leads from messy wrangling and political games.

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