Choice of new IEC commissioner a worry - opposition parties

BY CHARL BOSCH - MARCH 4, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed its concerns at Parliament’s recommendation of Vuma Mashinini as the new commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), a move it claims will led to the “Zumafication” of the IEC.

Mashinini, who once served as an adviser to President Jacob Zuma and was IEC deputy electoral officer, was appointed to the position yesterday following the outcome of a 227 “for” versus 127 “against” vote in the National Assembly. It has also been alleged that he is expected to take over the role of IEC head following the resignation of Pansy Tlakula in September last year.

“Mr Mashinini’s closeness with the President poses a glaring conflict of interest and should render him unsuitable for consideration at all,” DA Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Haniff Hoosen, said in a statement.

“The IEC is a Chapter 9 institution charged with carrying out free and fair elections and should at all times remain beyond reproach. The recommendation of Mr Mashinini for an IEC Commissionership is at direct odds with these constitutional principles.”

Hoosen also remarked that Mashinini’s ties with Zuma would soon see him be confirmed as IEC head and that his recommendation “is irrational and not in line with the Constitution or the law”.

In a similar reaction, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it plans to challenge Mashinini’s appointment as he is “a deployee of Luthuli House”.

“The ANC has once more proven that it does not understand democracy, in particular multiparty democracy whose legitimacy always relies on all participant parties having confidence on the IEC,” EFF National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said in a statement.

“Instead, the ANC uses, not majority democratic rule, but the tyranny of the majority to impose a deployee that all opposition parties have objected to and rejected as illegitimate”.

Ndlozi also criticised the decision to appointment a man in the position, saying that the IEC “enjoyed a great gender spread in all its years with woman at its helm as chairs” and that Mashinini’s choosing is a step backwards.