No action against Pansy Tlakula

2013-11-01 08:30

An ad hoc committee of Parliament unanimously adopted a report stating it could not accede to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s request that action be taken against IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula.

The decision not to pursue action against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chair, following findings of alleged misconduct, was made yesterday after the committee obtained legal opinion that it would be illegal for it to take the matter further.

Madonsela found Tlakula had played a “grossly irregular” role in procuring the Riverside Office Park building in Centurion, Pretoria.

“At its meeting on October 23 2013, the ad hoc committee ... resolved that it was unable to accede to the recommendations or requests of the Public Protector ... on the grounds that to do so would be unlawful and/or unconstitutional,” it said in the report adopted yesterday.

The ad hoc committee recommended the IEC, the home affairs department, the National Treasury and the Auditor-General “complete the actions in which they are currently engaged in pursuance of the remedial action recommended by the Public Protector in this report”.

This should be done only “to the extent that it is legally permissible”.

The remedial action includes tightening procurement procedures at the IEC.

Last week, the committee resolved Parliament could not act because of, among others, the constitutional principle of separation of powers.

MPs sitting on the committee said Parliament could not be seen to be impeding the independence of the bodies.

Both the Public Protector’s office and the IEC are Chapter 9 institutions, which are funded by the state and accountable to parliament, but function independently from the government and parliament.

During yesterday’s meeting, African National Congress MP Johnny de Lange said the fact that the committee’s decision was unanimous showed political parties acted in a “mature way”.

“It’s just prior to an election. It would have been very easy to play political games with this issue and it shows that often, when it really counts, that we are mature enough as a democracy to be able to treat matters on their merit and I think this is such an instance and I think all parties should be congratulated for that,” De Lange said.

DA MP James Selfe reminded MPs there was a need for law changes to address the dilemma the committee faced.

“I do think that one of the aspects raised in the legal opinion was that we consider... some sort of legislative amendment to deal with this. I think there is a gap in our law and I think we can address it, not now, but going forward,” Selfe said.

The ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party supported the possible legislative amendments.

Committee chair Luwellyn Landers said the amendments would most likely apply to the Electoral Commission Act and the Public Protector Act.

“They should probably address the question of one chapter nine institution investigating another and what are the proper steps that have to be followed, following such an investigation,” Landers said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.