IEC tightens conflict of interest policy

2013-09-27 17:45
Parliament

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Cape Town - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), whose boss is under fire for alleged conflict of interest, is tightening its policy on dealing with such matters.

"The electoral commission recognises that conflicts extend beyond procurement matters, and a conflict of interest policy that addresses the broader issues has been drafted and is under consideration by the commission," the IEC said in its 2012/13 annual report tabled in Parliament on Friday.

The commission said it was also updating its codes of conduct for employees and commissioners.

"Both codes are currently in the process of being reviewed by the governance and ethics committee for recommendations to be made to the commission."

A special parliamentary committee is currently processing damning findings by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela against IEC chair Pansy Tlakula some six months before South Africa heads to the polls.

Madonsela, in a report submitted to Parliament in August, found Tlakula liable for maladministration and said she had played a grossly irregular role in the selection of the new headquarters for the IEC by failing to disclose a conflict of interest.

Tlakula overturned a decision by the commission to lease a property in Pretoria because proper procedure had not been followed, and the commission subsequently approved a lease for a building in Centurion.

Madonsela’s findings

But Madonsela found that Tlakula had not followed the IEC's procurement policy by conducting the process herself instead of leaving it to the relevant department.

She also found that Tlakula had a relationship - possibly of a romantic nature - with the chairperson of Parliament’s finance portfolio committee, Thaba Mufamadi, who was a shareholder in the company that owned the Riverside Office Park building in Centurion.

She recommended that Parliament consider taking action against Tlakula, and referred the case to the Electoral Court for investigation.

Tlakula has denied any wrongdoing and the parliamentary committee has now asked her to respond to Madonsela's findings in writing.

It said this week it would seek legal advice on how to handle the matter because of its complexity.

The protector's findings against Tlakula relate to when she was still IEC CEO, before being appointed commission chairperson in 2011.

Among the issues raised by MPs, is whether the Electoral Court would have jurisdiction over anything Tlakula did before she became a commissioner.

The auditor general, in his comment on the IEC's financial reports, noted that the tender award for accommodation in Centurion was subject to investigation but did not make any adverse findings on the IEC's procurement processes.

- SAPA
Read more on:    iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  thuli madonsela  |  cape town  |  parliament 2013  |  elections 2014
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