Daniel Berger SC, for Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula, said the old offices were small and crowded, with some people “camping in the passageways”.
Tlakula is opposing an application by five opposition parties to have her resign from her position at the IEC.
This followed a forensic investigation by the National Treasury, which found the procurement of the IEC’s Riverside Office Park headquarters in Centurion had not been fair, transparent, or cost-effective.
The Treasury investigation followed a recommendation by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, in her own report into the matter.
Madonsela found Tlakula had a relationship possibly of a romantic nature with the then chairman of Parliament’s finance portfolio committee Thaba Mufumadi.
He was a shareholder in Abland, which owns the office park.
On Wednesday, the court heard that Tlakula had made an “honest mistake” during the procurement process.
“The fact that people make mistakes does not have a bearing on their integrity, their impartiality,” Berger said.
On Thursday, Berger said the electoral court could not make a recommendation to recover any loss which might have resulted from the procurement of the building.
“This court is not tasked with setting aside a tender… or ensuring that no losses were incurred.”
“They are tasked to investigate misconduct,” he said.
The case continues.