IEC gets protector's report at 11th hour

2013-08-26 11:17
Pansy Tlakula (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Pansy Tlakula (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Pansy Tlakula is angry that a public protector report affecting the IEC was given to her at the 11th hour.

She had only received the report in the early hours of Monday morning, she said.

"Despite many requests to and assurances from the public protector that I would have access to the final report on alleged irregularities around the procurement of the IEC's offices in Centurion at least one day prior to it being published, I only received it at 04:00 this morning [Monday]," Tlakula said.

"It has left me with minimal time to critically review this document before she releases it to the media."

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was scheduled to address the media at on Monday morning in Pretoria on the report into allegations of maladministration and corruption in the procurement of the Riverside Office Park to accommodate the IEC head offices.

Tlakula said she tried to "engage extensively" with the protector "throughout the process on matters relating to her investigation".

"These include, gross procedural irregularities in the conduct of the investigation, errors of fact and law, abuse of power by the public protector leading up to the compilation of the provisional report, and submissions on legal principles regarding conflict of interest.

"I hope that she has given due regard to my submissions.

"I will review the report and issue an appropriate response as soon as I have done so. I believe that because of the nature of the work that the IEC does that the findings of the public protector's report, should be given proper consideration before I respond."

Repeated requests

Earlier, Tlakula released a statement saying she tried repeatedly on Sunday to get a copy of the report.

She said she received enquiries from the media last Thursday about the public protector's intention to release the final report on the probe at a press briefing on Monday.

"As this was the first time I had heard of the intention to publish the report, I wrote to the office of the public protector and requested that she furnish me with a copy of the final report by Friday, 23 August," said Tlakula.

"In response to my request, I received written confirmation from the public protector's office, that as a standard practice, as an affected party, I would have access to the report one day prior to the briefing."

Tlakula said the protector contacted her and it was agreed that she would get a copy of the report no later than 10:00 on Sunday.

"On Sunday morning at 09:00, my lawyers were contacted and advised that we would receive the report sometime [on Sunday]. We received no further feedback from the public protector's office until I contacted her at 13:00," she said.

"She told me it would be available at 15:00. At 14:55, I was informed that I would get the report at 15:30. At 16:08 I received a message from the public protector, asking me to please bear with them and that the document would be sent shortly."

By Sunday night, she still did not have the report.

"I find it hard to believe that when the media were alerted that the report would be published on Monday...that it still wasn't finalised - including all proof reading and finalisations," said Tlakula.

"Even more disturbing is the fact that the public protector has not fulfilled her commitment to share the report with me, in line with the precedent her office has set on other reports, one day before it is published to the press."

She said this was "highly prejudicial and totally unjustifiable".

Read more on:    public protector  |  iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  thuli madonsela

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