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UDM welcomes Tlakula recommendation

Crime & Courts

Johannesburg - The Electoral Court's recommendation that IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula be removed from her position is long overdue, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said on Wednesday.

“We welcome the decision by the Electoral Court. It is long overdue. She has been wasting everybody's time,” Holomisa said after the court found that Tlakula's actions constituted misconduct.

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UDM leader Bantu Holomisa is seen outside the Electoral Court sitting in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, 2 May 2014 at a hearing of Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula. Opposition parties want Tlakula to resign, arguing that her integrity has been compromised. The parties are the United Democratic Movement, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People, Agang SA, and the Economic Freedom Fighters. Their application follows a forensic investigation by the National Treasury into the procurement of the IEC's Riverside Office Park building in Centurion. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

“She (Tlakula) should have read the signal from the word go when the public protector found she was involved in a conflict of interest transaction.”

Holomisa said Tlakula's arrogance did not help her.

“She flatly refused to co-operate with forensic auditors.”

Comment from Tlakula and the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) was not immediately available.

Five opposition parties, led by the UDM, approached the court over the leasing of the IEC's new headquarters building in Centurion in 2009.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela last year recommended that Parliament consider taking action against Tlakula for her “grossly irregular” role in the procurement of the building.

Madonsela found improper conduct and maladministration on Tlakula's part, and a conflict of interest involving a co-director, with whom she was accused of being romantically involved.

According to Madonsela, the man, Thaba Mufamadi, had a 20 percent stake in Abland, which was awarded the R320 million contract to lease the building.

Mufamadi is an MP and previously chaired Parliament's finance portfolio committee.

The Electoral Court, sitting in the High Court in Johannesburg, on Wednesday found that Tlakula compromised the IEC and recommended that she be removed from her post.

“In my view, the respondent compromised the independence and integrity of the commission to such an extent that her actions complained of constitute misconduct within the meaning of the Electoral Commission Act,” Judge Lotter Wepener said in his ruling.

The court's recommendation would be passed on to a parliamentary committee to decide on further steps.

Sapa

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