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Johannesburg - The DA has called for the suspension of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula after findings against her by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
“As head of the IEC, there should be no questions around her integrity or conduct,” Democratic Alliance MP Manny de Freitas said in a statement.
“The DA will be writing to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on home affairs to request an urgent meeting to discuss the findings of the public protector’s investigation.
De Freitas said the DA looked forward to the IEC's decision on Madonsela's report.
Madonsela recommended on Monday that Parliament consider taking action against Tlakula.
She said Tlakula had played a “grossly irregular” role in procuring the Riverside Office Park building, in Centurion, for the IEC's head office.
In a probe into the matter, 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.
“The Speaker of Parliament... (should) consider whether action should be taken against advocate Tlakula for her role in the procurement... in light of the undisclosed and unmanaged conflict of interest and her contravention of the procurement laws and prescripts,” Madonsela said in her report.
She recommended that the IEC review its agreement with Abland, which was awarded the contract to lease the Riverside Office Park building.
Tlakula is accused of having a romantic relationship with Parliament's finance portfolio committee chairman Thaba Mufamadi, who owns a 20 percent stake in Abland by virtue of co-directorship in Lehotsa Investments (Pty) Limited.
Allegations about their romantic involvement were not investigated as there was no “tangible” evidence.
A whistleblower employee denied the allegation when interviewed by the Protector's office.
However, Madonsela found that Tlakula had failed to disclose her business relationship with Mufamadi to the bidding team, which had compromised her independence and objectivity.
Tlakula was investigated after United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa alleged irregularities in the procurement of the new building, the validity of lease agreements, and various payments to Abland.
The Congress of the People said Madonsela's findings caused “serious damage” to the perception that the IEC was always acting in terms of the law.
“It would have been ideal if the Public Protector afforded... Tlakula the standard 24-hour period to study the findings contained in the report before it was made public,” it said.
“It will be in the best interest of both institutions to refrain from mudslinging about the late submission of the report, but rather to focus on the speedy implementation of the remedial action.”