Unfair to question my impartiality - IEC candidate

2014-11-21 05:00
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Former MDDA chief executive Lumko Mtimde said on Thursday it was unfair to question his independence because he was a member of a political party and had supported the call for a media tribunal.

"It is unfair of the Helen Suzman Foundation to suggest that supporting a notion, that is openly debated in a democracy, indicates that a person's independence is compromised," Mtimde said.

A total of 14 candidates were shortlisted for the position of commissioner.

The position became vacant when former IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula resigned in September.

Panellist, deputy public protector Kevin Malunga, told Mtimde the Helen Suzman Foundation expressed concern regarding the possible appointment of Mtimde as IEC commissioner.

"We want to give you a right of reply to the objection by the foundation, that your independence is questionable as you leaned towards a political party while you were at the Media Development and Diversity Agency [MDDA], and also supported a call for a media tribunal."

Mtimde said he was a member of the ANC and the SACP.

"Sitting here, I am comfortable with my support for transformation especially in the print media. The proposal was not far from the principles set out in the Constitution," Mtimde said.

A series of hearings were held following the call for a media tribunal.

A task team looking into media transformation, the Print and Digital Media Transformation Task Team, was introduced in September last year.

It intended to help the media industry develop a common strategy for transformation.

Mtimde is a former board member of the SABC between 2011 and 2013. He also held senior positions at Icasa, and the Independent Broadcasting Authority, among others.

The interviewing panel is chaired by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and comprises SAHRC chair Lawrence Mushwana, Commission for Gender Equality chair Mfanozelwe Shozi, and Malunga.

Read more on:    iec  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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