Allowing Pansy Tlakula to continue at IEC would be ‘heinous’

2014-04-29 13:12

Allowing embattled Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson to continue being involved in the planning of the elections while a cloud is hanging over her credibility would be a “heinous” act, lawyers for a group of opposition parties have told the Electoral Court.

Advocate David Unterhalter, representing the five political parties that want Tlakula to step aside ahead of the elections, said there was no doubt that Tlakula “misconducted” herself in the controversial R320 million lease deal for new IEC offices.

Tlakula has vehemently denied all “allegations” against her and described moves to oust her as a “grave matter of high Constitutional importance, akin to the impeachment of a judge”.

In her replying affidavit, which Tlakula filed late Friday to the Electoral Court, she contends that only President Jacob Zuma has the power to suspend her and that Zuma can only do so if the National Assembly recommends that she be suspended.

She has further argued that “many of the findings of the Public Protector are simply wrong or based on a misunderstanding of the relevant documentation”.

She contends that at the time of the signing of the lease she had no obligation to disclose any “conflict of interest” of her business “association” with ANC MP Thaba Mufamadi because she had no financial stake in Lehotsa Holdings, a company in which she and Mufamadi were co-directors and which owns 20% of Abland, the company that was awarded the controversial R320 million lease deal.

She has asked the court to “dismiss” the urgent application by the United Democratic Movement, Agang, Economic Freedom Fighters, Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party to have her removed because the application would result in the Electoral Court taking a “hasty” decision on her removal without following due process.

The parties want the court to immediately recommend to the National Assembly that Tlakula be removed, which will set in motion moves to have her axed.

The Electoral Court, which is sitting in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg, is hearing the matter today.

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