Vuma Mashinini new IEC chair


The Presidency yesterday announced that President Jacob Zuma’s former adviser, Vuma Mashinini, has officially been appointed as the new commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in place of Pansy Tlakula, who resigned in September last year. His is due to take-up office on May 1st.

Mashinini, who also served as IEC deputy electoral officer at one point, was elected to the position early last month following a 227 “for” versus 127 “against” vote in the National Assembly.

Speaking in a statement Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Haniff Hoosen, said that Mashinini should never have nominated for the position and that his appointment will lead to the “Zumafication” of the IEC.

“Mr Mashinini’s close relationship with President Zuma, through his former post as Special Projects Advisor, rises to the level of a conflict of interest and renders him unsuitable to hold office at this Chapter 9 institution, which needs to be independent and free from undue political influence.

“The Chairpersonship of this institution must be held by someone who is beyond reproach,” Hoosen said, adding that a response to a question asked by party revealed that Hoosen raked in R1.5-million a year during his tenure as adviser to Zuma.

“The constitutional imperative of free and fair elections cuts right to the heart of our democracy and we must defend it at all costs. This appointment is irrational and not in the interests of an independent IEC or free and fair elections,” he said.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, has however said that Mashinini’s appointment had been carefully evaluated, and that his role as adviser to Zuma had never been hidden.