Top guns probe IEC

2013-09-19 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Political parties have appointed some of their strongest parliamentarians to take part in the probe of the public protector’s findings on the Independent Election Commission (IEC).

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had found that IEC chair advocate Pansy Tlakula had violated IEC regulations when she rented a new head office for the IEC.

Madonsela’s report refers specifically to the role that Tlakula’s relationship with Thaba Mufamadi, a businessman, senior ANC MP and chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on finances, played in the irregular decision to rent the building in Centurion.

Tlakula did not resign after the findings, and it has been learned confidentially that the report has caused divisions within the IEC.

In an unprecedented situation, this latest investigation follows two findings against the IEC this year by the Electoral Court.

In April a by-election had to be postponed in the Abaqulusi municipality in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, after an it was pointed out to the IEC that a large number of voters’ names had fraudulently or wrongly been registered on the voters’ roll.

Yesterday six by-elections were postponed in Potchef­stroom’s Tlokwe municipality after an investigation was ordered into alleged irregular actions by an IEC official there.

Parliament has oversight on the IEC and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, asked for a multi-party, ad hoc committee to investigate the rental agreement after he had received Madonsela’s report.

The mix of the members on the committee shows the report is causing concern across political boundaries in Parliament, which worries that the integrity of the IEC and the credibility of South Africa’s elections could be damaged by Tlakula’s actions.

The ANC will be represented by Buti Manamela, leader of the Young Communist league, Johnny de Lange, André Gaum, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, Luwellyn Landers, Maggie Maunye and the relatively unknown Mary-Ann Dunjwa.

The DA’s federal chair, James Selfe, and the DA MP Dr Annelie Lotriet will serve, with Thozamile Botha of Cope, the IFP Chief Whip Koos van der Merwe and the UDM’s Stanley Ntapane representing the opposition parties.

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