Johannesburg - IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula does not think
she has to account for any wrongdoing, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said
"We need to stop this culture of impunity," she
"People in key institutions, including our president,
feel they don't need to account."
Agang SA is part of a group of opposition parties calling on
Tlakula to resign.
The Electoral Court, sitting in the South Gauteng High Court
in Johannesburg, was on Tuesday hearing an application by the parties to have
the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairperson resign.
Cloud over IEC
This followed a forensic investigation by the Treasury on
the procurement of the IEC's Riverside Office Park building in Centurion,
The probe found the process was not fair, transparent or
cost-effective. It found Tlakula did not give guidance or formally inform
various people about what was expected of them in the process.
The Treasury's report followed a recommendation by Public
Protector Thuli Madonsela in her own report into the matter. Tlakula has
maintained that she was not accused of corruption in the report.
Last week, Tlakula reportedly wrote a letter to the
Electoral Court in the hope that she would not have to go to court on Tuesday,
a week before the 7 May elections. In the letter, she reportedly said the IEC
would not be able to manage the elections without her.
Ramphele on Tuesday said the country had to be careful of
"personalising" an institution such as the IEC.
She said opposition parties held a meeting with the IEC's
remaining commissioners earlier this month.
"They said the IEC is an institution and not [only] one
person makes it work. They want to see the IEC operating without this cloud
over its head," Ramphele said.
She was confident the court would make the right decision.
"The legal arguments are there, we don't need to prove
anything. It's the perception of integrity which matters."
Ramphele said it was this culture of impunity which ensured
President Jacob Zuma did not have to be accountable for costly security
upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
On Monday, the parliamentary ad hoc committee which was set
to consider Zuma's submissions on Madonsela's report on Nkandla was effectively
dissolved. The matter would be referred to the fifth Parliament after the
Ramphele on Tuesday accused the African National
Congress-led government of deliberately stalling the ad hoc committee.
"[They] deliberately made sure there wasn't time to look
at this. The ANC has protected corrupt officials," she said.
Ramphele believed South Africans were ready to vote in a new
"South African citizens must take back the power to
vote for a government like we had in 1994. When we came away from those long
queues a proud people," she said.
"This pride has gone out the window."
Ramphele bemoaned the exclusion of other political parties
and contributors to the struggle at the official Freedom Day celebration at the
Union Buildings in Pretoria.
"The ANC has captured the state. They don't consider
other parties. I was part of that struggle in the Black Consciousness
She said the ANC came out of exile and commandeered the
fight against apartheid as its own. However, former president Nelson Mandela
had repeatedly said it was not the effort of one party, it was a collective.
Ramphele said the ANC liked to see itself as the only
freedom fighting entity and used this to gain votes.
People needed to be educated on what democracy was, something
she said she had to do on the campaign trail.
The Agang SA leader said she would spend the last week
before the elections moving around the country campaigning - from Cape Town to