Parliament’s home affairs portfolio committee last week recommended that Mashinini take over as IEC head, a post left vacant following the controversial departure of its former chairwoman Pansy Tlakula.
Mashinini at one time acted as a special adviser to President Jacob Zuma.
The question of his appointment was put to the vote, with 223 members in favour, 127 against, and two abstentions.
Earlier, Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen called on Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli to postpone the matter. Economic Freedom Fighters Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu echoed this call, suggesting “some common ground” could be found on a different appointee.
In declarations ahead of the vote, opposition parties contended that an IEC head should be “above suspicion”, and that the appointment of a former adviser to the president into the post could not be supported.
The matter of gender balance was also raised. Following the surprise resignation of IEC commissioner Raenette Taljaard last week, there will now be no women serving on the commission.