It has taken a while, but embattled Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula has resigned.

“Her resignation opens the way for the Commission to begin closing a particularly challenging and tumultuous period in the Electoral Commission’s history and to move forward as an institution,” said the IEC in a statement.

In March this year we reported that a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) investigation was conducted into a questionable leasing deal entered into by the IEC. PwC, which had been commissioned by the treasury, corroborated the findings of the public protector, Thuli Madonsela’s earlier probe into the matter.

The deal involved the IEC signing a contract in 2009 to rent its new head office building in Centurion, at an exorbitant  cost of R320-million over 10 years.

One of the recommendations of both reports was that Tlakula and certain of her subordinates who were also fingered, be held responsible for the irregular procurement, although Madonsela put it less bluntly than PwC.

Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement, was the person who brought the original complaint to Madonsela. In a terse statement yesterday he indicated that he welcomed the resignation.

“She has at last seen the light, but it is a pity that she was forced to do so at great cost to government and political parties,” he said. “There are now no more excuses; the Electoral Commission must immediately implement all the findings of the Public Protector, including those that fingered certain IEC officials.”

Tlakula fought every step of the way against being removed. Even after the release of the Madonsela and PwC reports, five political parties had to take her to the Electoral Court to force her to resign. When the court found in June 2014 that she had indeed committed misconduct and should step down, she applied for leave to appeal the ruling – this was dismissed with costs in August by the Constitutional Court. Tlakula meanwhile had asked for and was granted a special leave of absence until a final decision was made.

“It has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it bears no prospects of success,” said the Constitutional Court in its judgment.

“Let this be a lesson to other people in high places who believe they are untouchable and above the constitutional organs and courts of this country,” concluded Holomisa’s statement.

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It has taken a while, but embattled Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Pansy Tlakula has resigned. Tlakula fought tooth and nail against her removal, resisting the public protector, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Electoral Court, and political parties, who all recommended action against her in the case of a dodgy IEC leasing deal that cost millions more than it should have.