Pansy Tlakula had an impeccable career and was one of South Africa's great success stories of women from humble beginnings scaling to great heights. She was not the kind of public figure who had been constantly chased by scandal and poor performance.
She was an achiever and aimed for excellence. But Tlakula conducted herself really badly on the Independent Electoral Commission headquarters lease deal, and then undertook a protracted battle to evade responsibility for it. She had to go, and now she has finally stepped down as the commission's chairperson. It should not have ended this way.
It is perhaps a great irony that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was one of the people who recommended Pansy Tlakula for the position of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson in 2011. Madonsela was on a committee headed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng that recommended that Tlakula, who up to then had served as the IEC's chief electoral officer, to take over from Brigalia Bam.
Tlakula was an obvious choice. On her watch as chief electoral officer, South Africa had four well-managed elections - two national and two for local government. The IEC had earned a reputation as one of the...