I was never found guilty - Tlakula

2016-05-10 17:00


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Johannesburg - Former IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula could not avoid questions regarding findings of misconduct against her in relation to the lease of a building, during her interview for a position with the newly-established information regulator.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services was interviewing shortlisted candidates in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

DA MP Werner Horn asked Tlakula why the finding of misconduct should not be held against her.

Tlakula insisted she had never been found guilty of misconduct.

"The electoral court made a recommendation to the National Assembly for a finding of misconduct and the National Assembly, you will recall, had to make its own finding, and I left before that could happen," she said.

In September 2014, Tlakula resigned as Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairperson, a position she held for 13 years.

Before the elections on May 7 2014, several political parties took Tlakula to court, claiming her integrity had been compromised.

This followed an investigation by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into procurement of the IEC’s Riverside Office Park building in Centurion, Pretoria.

'I knew we had a big problem'

National Treasury had found the process was neither fair, transparent, nor cost-effective. It found Tlakula did not give guidance or formally inform various individuals of what was expected of them in the process.

On June 18 2014, Electoral Court Judge Lotter Wepener found Tlakula’s misconduct warranted her formal removal. Tlakula applied for leave to appeal against the ruling, but the Constitutional Court dismissed it.

During Tuesday’s interview, DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach pointed out that the court had found Tlakula’s misconduct was "established on a balance of probability".

Tlakula said she was not attacking Wepener, but she believed there were factual and legal inaccuracies in his finding and the recommendation made to the National Assembly.

However, there was a difficulty when she wanted to appeal the matter in the Constitutional Court because Wepener’s finding was not a judgment, but a recommendation.

"As I went to the Constitutional Court, I knew we had a big problem to appeal a recommendation."

Tlakula said she never had the opportunity to test some of the statements in Wepener’s recommendation.

She said the Electoral Act dealing with the removal of IEC members had to be looked at because it violated the concept of the separation of powers, as courts did not make recommendations.

'A lot of constitutional grey areas'

In terms of fair administrative action, Tlakula said she was not sure there was proper remedy for the aggrieved party.

"If I had gone to the National Assembly and I was not happy with its decision, where would I have gone?" she asked.

"There are a lot of constitutional grey areas in that act."

Portfolio committee chairperson Mathole Mothekga agreed with Tlakula that she had not been found guilty of any misconduct. He said the incident did not "disqualify" her.

Towards the end of her 30-minute interview, Tlakula told the committee that she had been very nervous coming to the interview, and during it.

At the end of her interview, Tlakula breathed an audible sigh of relief.

The committee is interviewing 10 candidates who have been shortlisted for the five positions at the information regulator.

The other candidates are Johannes Weapon, David Taylor, advocate Lebogang Stroom, Lindelo Snail, Siyakhula Simelane, Thav Reddy, Francis Cronje, Shamila Singh, and Tana Pistorius.

Read more on:    iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  johannesburg

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