IEC commissioner in dock on fraud charges

Published Jun 22, 2024


The Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC’s) deputy chairperson, commissioner Dr Nomsa Masuku is still leading the organisation despite a black cloud of corruption hanging over her head.

Masuku, 62, was charged with corruption involving R1.2 million meant for underprivileged learners.

She appeared on fraud-related charges in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, sitting in Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) said it took investigators close to 10 years to effect an arrest in a fraud case implicating Masuku.

The commission said it was aware of Masuku’s arrest.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said: “The IEC is aware of the reported arrest of Commissioner Dr Nomsa Masuku. It appears that the matter relates to her erstwhile employment and does not relate to her tenure in the commission, both as an employee and commissioner. The commission will monitor developments in the matter.”

Independent Media asked whether any steps, such as a suspension, would be taken against Masuku. Bapela said: “We understand our law as saying until proven guilty. Any other developments will be communicated.”

Masuku was arrested on Friday morning and was granted bail of R20 000.

The court postponed her case to September 4.

Masuku, a former Standard Bank employee and current IEC official, was the head of the corporate social investment (CSI) programme for the "Adopt A School Trust" which was established to provide scholarships, bursaries and awards of study, research or teaching to learners from schools adopted by Standard Bank's "Adopt a School" programme. The programme is for those individuals who qualify and meet the selection criteria to further their studies at any recognised institutions of higher learning.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said Masuku was entrusted with managing the CSI programme of Standard Bank during her tenure at the bank.

Mogale said: “Through an intensive probe, the Hawks investigators established that the incumbent flaunted the processes of the trust by awarding scholarships to friends and family members through the manipulation of documents and without the approval of the committee, with some of the monies deposited directly into her personal bank account to the tune of R1.2 million.”

NPA Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Masuku allegedly transferred a sum of R800 000 to a second individual implicated in the case.

“The State alleges that she illicitly awarded bursaries worth R400 000 to ineligible recipients, including family members and friends, said Mjonondwane

This is not the first time an IEC official is fingered for alleged corruption. Another one is commissioner Janet Love, who is accused of manipulating an electoral register in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said South Africans should accept that people were fallible and that they were not perfect and made mistakes. There was a tendency in this country of people treating people in key positions as if they are infallible, including people in the IEC and judges.

He said Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had to be educated by the EFF about the concept of transparency and democracy which, he said, was very embarrassing.

“On the IEC, there has been a number of issues that have been raised surrounding corruption and what you expect … we expect commissioners to be men and women of integrity. Now we find that the IEC’s commissioners are found wanting,” Seepe said.

He said people should wait for evidence to be provided.

Seepe said when Love was appointed, many people expressed concerns because she was an activist of the ANC and people did not trust her to be impartial. Now there were stories from other countries about her.