Tlakula 'did the right thing' by resigning

Johannesburg - Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula did the right thing by resigning, the DA said on Wednesday.

"She was heavily implicated in issues around the lease of a building for the IEC's head office, a matter in which the public protector found maladministration," Democratic Alliance federal executive chairperson James Selfe said.

It was a serious offence and marked the first time a member of a chapter nine institution had been found to have committed such misconduct, he said.

"We believe that advocate Tlakula has done the right thing."

Selfe said it was preferable for Tlakula to resign rather than go through the indignity of being forced out.

On Tuesday Tlakula said she had submitted her letter of resignation to President Jacob Zuma.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tlakula filed an application for leave to appeal against the Electoral Court's ruling, but it was dismissed by the Constitutional Court.

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

Impressive legacy

Selfe said Tlakula would leave behind an impressive legacy in the IEC.

"It is indeed regrettable that an issue such as the lease of a building, which is totally unrelated to running elections, has so radically impaired the standing of the IEC, and her own reputation.

"We have always found her to be fair and competent in her core business, and from this standpoint, her resignation is a loss."

He said the person who took Tlakula's place would have to be above reproach if the IEC was to regain the country's trust.