Woman 2013: Pansy Tlakula

2013-08-11 14:00

We know what happened in Zimbabwe last week. It held second-class elections, which will stand for various reasons.

In effect, the African Union has decided that second best is good enough for Africa.

President Robert Mugabe has outfoxed his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, but there is no way to claim the poll as free, fair and credible. Numerous questions remain about the elections, among them the numbers of ballot papers, the quality of observation, the absence of a voters’ roll and more.

All these are the fundamentals of democracy. Which is why we now turn back home in women’s month and give a shout out to our Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which is headed by chairperson Pansy Tlakula.

The IEC, established and run for years by the equally inimitable Brigalia Bam, its former chairperson, has ensured institutional excellence in the administration of elections. The voters’ roll, observers, the declaration of an election date and a completed election all proceed without drama in South Africa. The system works and works well. All political parties agree.

And, for that, we have to thank Bam and Tlakula. South Africa will fight tough polls, not only next year but in the future.

We can be assured none of the questions raised in Zimbabwe can be raised here if we protect the integrity of the commission and its commissioners.

On the weekend of Women’s Day, the IEC is a hallmark of excellent leadership by women, for which each of us can be thankful.

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