Our zero this week is the embattled IEC head Pansy Tlakula, who is again making headlines after further analysis of a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers investigation into the controversial head office lease agreement for the election body has revealed that she overspent on décor for her office – to the tune of almost a million on 399 plant pots alone.

The report, released earlier in March, said that “effectively, the Electoral Commission spent just under R1 million for pot plant containers which are placed all over the building. During our interview with representatives of the Electoral Commission, we were told that the Commissioners had indicated that they wanted a green building hence, the reason why so many of these pot plant containers were purchased.”

The investigation found no documented authorisation for the purchase, though, and concluded that ”the amount spent on this one item above appears unreasonable”.

It also appears that the IEC went to town on gym equipment, spending almost half a million. The PwC report found that, while this was in the budget, there were only 72 gym members at the time of investigating, whose membership fees bring in under R10 000 a month. “It will take years to recover all the costs spent on setting up the gym, never mind the monthly rental for the floor space,” said the report.

Besides the million rands’ worth of plant holders, the PwC report also found that Tlakula’s spacious office got a R899 000 makeover. In her boardroom, the table alone cost almost R50 000, while R10 000 was spent on four planters, R70 000 on a television display in the boardroom and another R48 000 for a similar display in her office. The 23 chairs in the office and boardroom cost the taxpayer over R110 000.

The desk and extensions in Tlakula’s assistant’s office cost nearly R50 000, and a coat rack was priced at R2 500. Two bins, made of walnut wood, cost R895 each.

The PwC probe was commissioned by the national treasury.

For her enthusiastic use of taxpayers’ money to decorate her new office building, including the purchase of 399 metal plant pots at R2 400 each, our zero this week is IEC head Pansy Tlakula.