Johannesburg - IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula failed to grasp the gravity of the situation which led five political parties to call for her removal, the Electoral Court heard on Friday.
David Unterhalter, SC, for the United Democratic Movement, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People, Agang SA, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, highlighted Tlakula had argued she had committed a “mere error”.
The parties want the court - sitting in the High Court in Johannesburg - to issue a recommendation to Parliament to remove Tlakula from office for alleged misconduct.
Their bid follows a forensic investigation by the National Treasury which found the procurement of the Electoral Commission of SA's (IEC) Riverside Office Park headquarters building in Centurion was neither fair, transparent, nor cost-effective.
The Treasury's investigation followed a recommendation by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her own investigation into the matter.
Madonsela found Tlakula had a relationship - possibly of a romantic nature - with then chairman of Parliament's finance portfolio committee Thaba Mfumadi.
He was a shareholder in Abland, which owns the Riverside Office Park, the IEC's current premises.
Tlakula submitted she made an “honest mistake” during the procurement process.
Unterhalter said if the court found there was a of conflict of interest in the procurement, it would amount to misconduct.
“She does not say she did not know,” Unterhalter said.
“When she went to Parliament, she said, 'Well I was permitted to make that decision'.”
Unterhalter highlighted that Tlakula had consciously chosen to deviate from established procedure.
“Meaning she was choosing to break the law,” Unterhalter said.
The matter continues.