If you know anything about the success of the voting system in South Africa since 1994, then you should also know about the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) – the body that ensured that the last three democratic elections were indeed free and fair. The woman behind the IEC for the past three years has been its chairperson and former Chief Electoral Officer, Advocate Pansy Tlakula.
This past weekend Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema was in the news again when he said, “Pansy Tlakula must step down or there will be civil war!” Why, you may ask? Well dear old Pansy was under investigation by everyone’s favourite Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for maladministration and improper conduct to the sum of R320m and of course Julius likes to be in the news.
Madonsela found that Pansy approved the leasing of the IEC’s new offices in Centurion, near Pretoria, to the afore-mentioned tune of R320m but did not follow the correct procurement process as set by the IEC. UDM leader Bantu Holomisa caught wind of this through an anonymous whistle-blower within the organisation and thus played “tattletale”.
Further allegations against Mam’Pansy are that she is romantically involved with Parliament’s Finance Portfolio Committee Chairperson Thaba Mufamadi who not only owns a 20% stake in Abland, the company that was awarded the leasing contract, but is also a co-director along with Pansy in a company called Lehotsa Investments.
Back in August 2013, the Public Protector’s office recommended that action be taken against Miss Tlakula but this was curtailed when a Parliamentary Committee found that Madonseezy made several procedural mistakes in her report, meaning it would be illegal for the committee to take action against Pansy based on the report. A national treasury report in March found that Mam’Pansy didn’t actually benefit financially from the procurement of the IEC offices but confirmed that the process was not fair, transparent or cost-effective.
Fast forward to the present day and eight opposition parties, including Agang SA and the EFF, have formed a mini-round table demanding that Pansy step down as the IEC head honcho while employees at the IEC have threatened to go on strike if she doesn’t. The strike, which is apparently supported by 90% of IEC employees, has the potential to interrupt the upcoming elections, which are only a month away. The ruling ANC is the only party that have come to Mam’Pansy’s defensive since the debacle started (surprised much?) saying calls for her resignation were opportunistic. Even though the IEC workers have been barred from striking since, like soldiers, their services have been declared essential services by Parliment time is running out until the next elections, we ask: should Pansy Tlakula step down (or at least step aside) for the greater good of the national elections?
Decide for yourself, read more here & here.
The story of #Elections2014 continues. Stick with #LiveVIPZA and we’ll give you analysis, debates, comments, polls and all you need to make it through the all-important task of VOTING during the 2014 elections.
Check out our latest content on our VIP mini-site livevip.co.za and YouTube channel, Like our dedicated Facebook page Facebook/LiveVIPZA, join the discussion on Twitter #livevipza or join our Twibbon campaign.