Zuma relationship not a problem, says new IEC boss

2015-10-16 13:01
Vuma Mashinini. (Moeletsi Mabe, The Times)

Vuma Mashinini. (Moeletsi Mabe, The Times)

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Pretoria - The newly elected chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Vuma Mashinini, has defended his past relationship with President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking at a media conference on Friday, Mashinini said the work done by the commission was such that an individual could not make a decision on his or her own.

"The question is expected but the important thing to understand is that the commission is a collective. The processes are quite elaborate in that no individual can act unconstitutionally," he said.

"We need to give this commission an opportunity to carry out its task for the elections."

Mashinini, who was made a commissioner at the IEC in April, was appointed chairperson on Wednesday. He replaced Pansy Tlakula who resigned in early September over a controversial leasing deal.

His appointment prompted an uproar, with critics arguing that he was aligned to Zuma.

He admitted to working with Zuma in the past but added that it is where their relationship ended.

"I am a professional and that is where my relationship with the head of state starts and ends. I served in the presidency solely in my professional capacity," he said.

Ready for expectations

Mashinini said he was ready for the task at hand and understood the responsibilities he was entrusted with. He said he understood that every citizen should be satisfied with the conduct of the commission and he would live up to those expectations. 

Mashinini added that the institution was ready for the upcoming 2016 municipal elections. 

"The Electoral Commission is currently busy aligning voting districts to ward boundaries. The work to recruit and train registration staff is underway. Soon thereafter voter registration will take place."

He said they were already working with all stakeholders both internally and externally including political parties, civil society and national security agencies to ensure a conducive climate for the elections.

"The responsibility to ensure free, fair and credible elections are not ours alone. As a commission we also rely on the goodwill of South African citizens both young and old to make our democracy thrive.

"We invite all South Africans in cities, towns and rural areas… to play their part meaningfully to enhance our democracy," he said.

Read more on:    iec  |  jacob zuma  |  pretoria

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