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ANC accepts Tlakula court ruling

2014-08-20 05:00

Johannesburg - The ANC said on Tuesday it accepted the Constitutional Court's dismissal of IEC chair Pansy Tlakula's bid to appeal a ruling that her misconduct in 2009 warranted her removal from office.

"We hold the view that our freedom and democracy has accorded every South African a chance to tell his or her side of the story in a court of law and to pursue any case or its outcomes in higher courts," the ANC in Parliament said in a statement.

On 13 August, the Constitutional Court dismissed Tlakula's request for leave to appeal an Electoral Court ruling that her conduct warranted her removal from office.

The court said the application had no prospect of success.

Before the 7 May elections, opposition parties approached the Electoral Court seeking Tlakula's resignation.

This followed a finding by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, and a subsequent forensic investigation by the National Treasury, over the procurement of the Electoral Commission of SA's (IEC) Riverside Office Park building in Centurion. Tlakula was chief electoral officer at the time.

Madonsela found Tlakula had a relationship, possibly of a romantic nature, with then chair of Parliament's finance portfolio committee Thaba Mufamadi.

Mufamadi was a shareholder in Abland, which was awarded the R320m contract to lease the building.

The Treasury probe found the procurement process was neither fair, transparent, nor cost-effective. It found Tlakula neither gave guidance, nor formally told various people about what was expected of them in the process.

Academic astuteness

On 18 June, Electoral Court Judge Lotter Wepener found Tlakula's misconduct warranted her removal from office.

On 1 July, President Jacob Zuma granted Tlakula's request for special leave of absence until a final decision was made on her fitness to hold office.

In her Constitutional Court papers, Tlakula claimed the Electoral Court erred in its finding and that its procedures were unfair.

She denied being guilty of misconduct, and argued the Electoral Commission Act did not govern the conduct of a commissioner prior to him or her assuming office.

She believed her relationship with Mufamadi did not constitute a conflict of interest.

The ANC said Tlakula could still play a crucial role in society and acknowledged "the role she played in bringing about free and fair elections".

"We believe that with her immense experience and outstanding achievements, both in her academic astuteness and work experience, she can still play a crucial role in development of our society," the ANC said.

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