IEC head must step aside before poll

THE call by opposition parties for IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula to resign is most certainly a worrying move to be made before general elections on May 7.

It comes at a time when it is becoming a norm in our continent to have suspicions and mistrust of the electoral bodies that supervise elections, as the outcomes and the credibility of those elections are called into question.

Sometimes this leads to opposition parties not accepting the results, and resorting to violence and political instability becomes the order of the day.

In 2000 there was the problem of credibility when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was called into question because of its electoral management and failure to produce results on time.

This resulted in political instability that led to the unity government.

In the recent Tlokwe by-election results, the credibility of our own IEC was questioned because of the allegation of vote-rigging.

It has happened in many African states that frequently after 20 years of the post-colonial epoch the voting trends change because the national liberation movement project failed to deliver on its liberation promises. The mistake we tend to make is to think that South Africa is an exceptional case and immune to all the misfortunes that ensued in most parts of our beloved continent.

At some point we thought that corruption would never happen in South Africa and we were not like other parts of the continent where corruption was a norm.

When someone like Tlakula is found guilty by the public protector and the Treasury of maladministration in securing a R320-million lease for the IEC’s office in Centurion and violating procurement rules it becomes a matter of real concern.

The best thing for the advocate to do is to resign or at least take a leave of absence until she is cleared of these serious allegations.

This will rescue the credibility of IEC in the forthcoming elections and ensure that this important Chapter 9 institution is performing its function without a cloud hanging over its head.

Mkhuseli Mtsila, Zwide, Port Elizabeth

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