In the report released on August 26 2013, Madonsela recommended action against a number of IEC officials over their role in the leasing of the body’s headquarters at Riverside Office Park in Centurion.

Madonsela found the R320-million lease from Abland, a property company, irregular. She said it “violated procurement rules”.

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Then IEC head Pansy Tlakula resigned in September 2014 over the scandal.

The IEC’s 2015/2016 annual report reveals that disciplinary action against its chief electoral officer, Mosotho Moepya, and other staff stemming from Madonsela’s report is “still under way”.

And, also, the body is yet to cancel the lease – as its application to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria is still to be heard.

Of the R38-million the IEC incurred as irregular expenditure in the last financial year, R33.8-million relates to rentals in Riverside.

IEC spokesman Marco Granelli told Sowetan the disciplinary action was dragging on because the officials challenged aspects of it at the Labour Court. Charges were served on November 12 2014 and the hearing started on January 29 last year.

“The employees concerned took certain technical issues arising out of their disciplinary process on review to the Labour Court which ruled in favour of the Electoral Commission in 2015,” Granelli said.

“These employees then obtained leave to appeal the Labour Court’s ruling, and all that is awaited now is a date for the hearing of the appeal in the Labour Appeal Court, which obviously the commission has no control over.”

Granelli said the IEC opted against suspending Moepya.

“The commission considered the risks as well as the operational imperatives and challenges facing the organisation and the country [which included two elections in 2014 and 2016] and concluded that the suspension of the accounting officer in this matter was not going to serve our national interest.”

The IEC is now expecting the high court to hear its application for review of the lease early next year.

“There has been a lengthy exchange of affidavits between all the parties involved in the matter in the course of legal proceedings with the volume of documents in excess of 2500 pages,” said Granelli.

“From a procedural point of view the IEC has complied with its part and is awaiting Abland’s heads of argument.”

Abland’s managing director Dave Savage said he would need to verify the status of the court case. He said the last time he was briefed the IEC had made a mistake in its papers.

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