Thuli left red-faced

2013-10-25 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Members of Parliament yesterday tore into the Public Protector’s (PP) report on the alleged misconduct by advocate Pansy Tlakula, chair of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The meeting by the ad hoc committee that evaluated the Madonsela report will see Tlakula continue with arrangements for next year’s general elections while it left advocate Thuli Madonsela red-faced.

“I don’t know what advocate Madonsela wanted. Maybe only she knows,” said ANC MP Luwellyn Landers, chair of the ad hoc committee.

Madonsela had found in her report there were irregularities when the IEC selected a new head office in Centurion. She pointed a finger at Tlakula, implying that there may have been a romantic relationship between Tlakula and senior ANC MP Thaba Mufamadi, who has interests in a company that owns part of the new IEC head office.

Tlakula took serious issue with Madonsela’s report because the PP had not given her a right of reply. The MPs did not discuss Mufamadi’s role in the report.

The PP had referred her report to Max Sisulu, Speaker of the National Assembly. The National Assembly appointed a multi-party ad hoc committee to investigate the matter.

Because only an electoral court can dismiss an electoral commissioner like Tlakula, the ANC members in the ad hoc committee wanted to send the matter to the electoral court.

Legal advisers to both Parliament and the DA, however, pointed out that the alleged misconduct took place when Tlakula was an IEC staff member before she became an IEC commissioner and thus fell outside the jurisdiction of the electoral court.

Madonsela had in later correspondence informed the speaker that she did not mean for her report to be submitted to Parliament, but for the speaker to discuss the matter with Tlakula’s fellow IEC commissioners.

The ad hoc committee felt both these scenarios showed that Madonsela had little understanding of the separation of powers. Members of all parties agreed that Madonsela’s intent was not clear.

Landers and the DA’s James Selfe will now submit a concept report to the committee.

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