A vote on whether to appoint former Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula as chairwoman of the newly-formed Information Regulator was postponed by the national assembly on Thursday.
There were too many empty seats in the house to secure a majority.
A total of 198 MPs voted in favour of appointing Tlakula and the board, while 59 voted against it. For the decision to be passed, the majority of national assembly members, 201, had to vote in favour.
The justice and correctional services committee recommended her for the job earlier this month following an interview process. The vote would have to be taken when parliament reopened after the 3 August local government elections.
The committee had recommended Johannes Weapond and Lebogang Stroom to serve full-time on the Information Regulator board, and Sizwe Snail and Tana Pistorius on a part-time basis.
Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli told MPs the Information Regulator had to be appointed by the majority of members in the national assembly, and not just by the majority of those present.
The regulator was created by the Protection of Personal Information Act, which was signed into law in November 2013. It would monitor compliance with the provisions of the act, have the power to investigate cases, and issue fines.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said the short-listing process had left much to be desired. She said the candidates were ANC choices, and it was clear from early on who the ruling party wanted as chair.
The IFP and the NFP said they could not support Tlakula as she still had a cloud hanging over her head.
The UDM and PAC called for her to be given a second chance.
UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said she must be given the opportunity to redeem herself as she had faced the consequences of her actions.
“Where is she supposed to work? Must she leave South Africa?” Kwankwa said.
The PAC’s Themba Godi said Tlakula had served the country well and deserved to be the chairwoman.
Tlakula resigned from the IEC in 2014 following allegations of compromised integrity. Before the elections on 7 May 2014, several political parties took Tlakula to court, claiming her integrity had been compromised.
This followed an investigation by public protector Thuli Madonsela into procurement of the IEC’s Riverside Office Park building in Centurion, Pretoria.
Treasury had found the process was neither fair, transparent, nor cost-effective. It found Tlakula did not give guidance or formally inform various individuals of what was expected of them in the process.