DA: Too close to the election for IEC to dismiss Tlakula

2014-05-01 00:00

ADVOCATE Pansy Tlakula must say today why she is qualified to ensure the credibility of next week’s elections.

Tlakula must submit her reply to an urgent application from the five opposition parties that she should be dismissed as chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

This comes after the Public Protector had found serious corruption on Tlakula’s watch.

Amid the controversy Tlakula yesterday said at the opening of the IEC’s main national results operations centre in Pretoria that the May 7 elections would conform to internationally accepted criteria, including impartial administration of the electoral process.

Tlakula said in her affidavit to the court that the elections could be compromised if she was dismissed because only four commissioner will remain and they be able to vote on solving issues.

Terry Tselane, IEC deputy chairperson, yesterday however directly contradicted Tlakula on 702 Talk Radio when he said the elections can go ahead without her because he can just take over her chair.

“At the end of the day we will go ahead with the election without a [fight] commissioner present, because the election is not focused on one person.”

Despite the controversy Tlakula and Tselane shared a stage with now sign of tension between them yesterday. Tselane even corrected the master of ceremonies when he introduced Tselane instead of Tlakula as the IEC’s chairperson.

While the UDM, ACDP, Agang, Cope and the EFF allege that Tlakula is compromising the credibility, integrity, impartiality and independence of the IEC, the DA said it was senseless to dismiss Tlakula this close to the election.

James Selfe, leader of the DA’s federal council said the Public Protectors finding of corruption on Tlakula’s watch was made two and a half years ago and there were not signs that she could not be trusted as the head of the of the election process.

“It is a much bigger risk to sit without an electoral head a week before the elections than the risk that she holds a threat for the credibility of the election.”

Professor Pierre de Vos, constitutional expert, said even if Tlakula maintains her innocence it would be better for her to stand aside until the elections results have been finalised to enure the integrity of the IEC and the election to avoid giving the opposition parties any reason to question the election’s integrity after the ballots were cast.

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