Controversy at the IEC

Controversy at the IEC

In October 2018, while I was under consideration for the position of Director of My Vote Counts, I felt that it was appropriate to declare information pertaining to events during my time at the Independent Electoral Commission. I appreciated this opportunity; this was my first venture back into the world of electoral democracy since my resignation from the IEC in June 2016.

I joined the IEC in August 2005, after having worked for 12 years in the higher education sector. In 2013, my name was one of those mentioned in a report by the Public Protector on a lease agreement that was entered into by the IEC. That lease was entered into in 2009.

In the Public Protector’s report, two of my colleagues and I were accused of not having provided information to the Public Protector during the investigation. I was surprised when I read that finding in the report since I was never given an opportunity to respond to the finding in, for example, a provisional report. In fact, what I do have is E-mail communication between ourselves and the investigator of the Public Protector’s office confirming that they had received all the required information.

Nonetheless, I maintain that I cooperated fully with the investigation by the Public Protector. Subsequent to that report, I cooperated with investigations by the Hawks, a forensic audit by PwC and regulatory audits by the Auditor-General. None of those investigations produced any evidence of financial misconduct or corruption on my part or on the part of anyone involved in the lease agreement. The forensic audit highlighted some issues which were honest mistakes in the adjudication process of the tender. Moreover, in 2017, the High Court dismissed an application to have the lease agreement set aside and confirmed our view that any mistakes were not material in the awarding of the tender.

A few people were mentioned in the Public Protector’s report and received some attention in the media as a result. The media did not cover a lot of the subsequent developments. Since the release of the Public Protector’s report, Pansy Tlakula resigned as Chairperson of the IEC but was subsequently appointed as Chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa. Norman Du Plessis retired from the IEC. Mosotho Moepya served out his term as CEO and was subsequently appointed as a Commissioner at the IEC.

In 2018, the only people who saw the need to bring up my involvement in the 2009 IEC lease agreement matter, were individuals (mostly anonymous) who wanted to discredit me in their attempts to oppose transformation at a certain school in Cape Town. In the process, they misrepresented the findings of the Public Protector and accused me of financial and electoral fraud. Any reading of the report makes it clear that I was never accused of – let alone guilty – of any of such charges.