Up for scrutiny – D-day for public to comment on CVs of Public Protector candidates
At least 70 candidates applied or were nominated for the crucial role of Public Protector, an office tasked with defending democracy and the rights of citizens. Only 38 have met the requirements to move forward in the selection process. These CVs have been made available on Parliament’s website. If members of the public have any comments about the candidates, they have until today – Friday, 21 July – to act.
The parliamentary committee responsible for nominating a suitable candidate for the position of Public Protector is set to begin the shortlisting process next week, on 26 July.
The public have until Friday, 21 July to scrutinise the CVs of initial candidates to test their suitability based on the requirements prescribed in legislation and whether they are fit and proper to hold such a position.
Selected candidates will then undergo interviews scheduled between 21 and 25 August. The committee must report to the National Assembly by 31 August with the nomination of a candidate who will take over from the suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, whose term ends on 12 October 2023.
Read more in Daily Maverick: While Mkhwebane’s spell in office draws to a close one way or another, search begins for her successor
In the meantime, the Section 194 inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness for office might conclude on 28 July after she missed yet another deadline imposed by the committee, after she repeatedly appeared before it without legal representation, according to a report.
Read more in Daily Maverick: President Mkhwebane – Suspended public protector hints at possible post-inquiry career in politics
Earlier this month, the committee revealed that it had received 53 nominations and 17 applications for potential candidates for the Public Protector position. However, 32 nominations were disqualified during the initial screening phase due to noncompliance with the nomination requirements as outlined in the advert, according to ANC’s Cyril Xaba, the committee chairperson.
A candidate must be a South African citizen and a fit and proper person for the role. The other criteria are that the candidate:
- Is a Judge of a high court;
- or is admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after having been so admitted, practised as an advocate or an attorney;
- Or is qualified to be admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after having so qualified, lectured in law at a university;
- Or has specialised knowledge of or experience, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years, in the administration of justice, public administration or public finance;
- Or has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years, been a member of Parliament;
- Or has acquired any combination of experience mentioned above for a cumulative period of at least 10 years.
In the past month [since 12 June 2023] the public has been encouraged to comment on the suitability of the candidates based on the prescribed requirements in the legislation.
After public comment the committee will follow a thorough due process to validate their qualifications and address any objections.
Among the many who met the specified requirements are: Kholeka Gcaleka, who has been in charge of the Public Protector’s office since of Mkhwebane was suspended; Advocate Ike Khumalo, who was charged with six counts of inciting violence by allegedly stoking protests on social media in July 2021; and the former Gauteng head of the Human Rights Commission, Buang Jones.
Here are the CVs of the candidates who have met the requirements:
- Ms N Beauchamp
- Adv NK Gcaleka
- Mr B Jones
- Adv O Josie
- Mr R Khoza
- Adv IT Khumalo
- Ms ENB Khwinana
- Ms JK Ledwaba
- Mr R Ledwaba
- Adv NM Litabe
- Ms M Lukhaimane
- Adv FT Maleka
- Ms NC Mampuru
- Adv S Mancotywa
- Mr LB Maphelela
- Adv L Marais
- Adv N Mbangeni
- Ms TC Mbhansa
- Adv HHS Mekwa
- Prof B Mmusinyane
- Ms M Mohlala-Mulaudzi
- Mr OTD Mokoto
- Adv TJ Moqechane
- Ms EK Mthimkhulu
- Ms T Mxenge
- Mr MM Ncongwane
- Ms ZNSO Nhlanyisa
- Adv KTT Ntsewa
- Ms T Semane
- Adv Z Taba
- Adv S Tebeile
- Mr I Tefanis
- Adv MI Thenga
- Adv TS Thipanyane
- Adv ML Tsineng
- Mr HK Tswago
- Mr M Vilakazi
- Adv S Zimema
What is a Public Protector and what powers do they have?
The Public Protector is a Chapter 9 institution, established in terms of the Constitution to act independently in supporting and strengthening constitutional democracy. According to section 182 of the Constitution, among other things the Public Protector is established to:
- Ensure the government’s accountability and provide remedies for maladministration and abuse of authority; and
- The Public Protector is empowered to investigate, report on and take appropriate remedial action for a wide range of wrongdoings in the public administration. DM