Court action if IEC chief stays put

EIGHT opposition political parties vowed to approach the courts should Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula not have heeded their call to step down by the close of business yesterday.

The parties have raised concerns over the credibility of the May 7 election with Tlakula at the helm after adverse findings against her by public protector Thuli Madonsela‚ and in an audit report commissioned by the Treasury.

Tlakula is challenging the findings of the public protector in court and the forensic audit conducted by PwC has been referred to the commission's legal advisers. The Treasury's forensic audit found that procurement processes that were followed in a lease agreement for the commission's headquarters were not fair‚ equitable‚ transparent‚ competitive or cost-effective.

The findings were similar to those of the public protector.

The parties calling for Tlakula to step down are the United Democratic Movement‚ the Azanian People's Organisation‚ the African Christian Democratic Party‚ the Inkatha Freedom Party‚ the United Christian Democratic Party‚ the Congress of the People‚ Agang SA and the Economic Freedom Fighters.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said at the weekend the parties expected Tlakula's reply to their demand yesterday.

"If she does not step down we said we would go the legal route; we have not changed that decision ‚" he said.

The two largest political parties in parliament, the ANC and the DA, do not support the move against Tlakula.

The IEC will meet the National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers' Union this week to consider concerns raised about IEC workers' remuneration.

But the union's national leaders have not endorsed the workers' threat to down tools if Tlakula does not resign‚ as they believe such a move would compromise the upcoming election. - Natasha Marrian