Chairperson of the IEC Pansy Tlakula File photo: Etienne Creux

Johannesburg - An application to compel IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula to resign should be dealt with before the May 7 elections, the Electoral Court sitting in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday.

“Based on the gravity of the allegations.... It is no good later,” said David Unterhalter SC, for a group of opposition political parties that brought the application.

“There is a shadow hanging over her, it has to be dealt with.”

He said the matter would “taint” the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) and could mean people would not see the elections as free and fair.

Tlakula could not walk into the election with allegations of misconduct hanging over her head, he said.

“The court should do whatever is necessary... given the gravity of the outcome.”

The court was hearing an application by some opposition parties to have Tlakula resign ahead of the May 7 elections, saying she was unfit to hold office.

The parties are the United Democratic Movement, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People, Agang SA, and the Economic Freedom Fighters. Tlakula was not in court on Tuesday.

Last week, Tlakula reportedly wrote a letter to the Electoral Court in the hope that she would not have to go to court.

In the letter she reportedly said the IEC would not be able to manage the elections without her.

However, on Tuesday, Unterhalter said Tlakula could never be cleared of all the charges against her and should not occupy her position.

Daniel Berger SC, for Tlakula, objected to the court hearing a full investigation by Friday.

He said Tlakula needed more time to respond to the allegations and to file her responding affidavit.