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Candidate wants shortlisting of interviews for public protector post done afresh

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s term comes to an end in October. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s term comes to an end in October. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 22, 2023


A candidate who did not make the shortlist for interviews for the public protector post, has complained of alleged unfair short-listing of candidates.

Macbeth Ncongwane wants the shortlisting process to be started afresh and also wants to be provided with the criteria used to shortlist candidates to succeed incumbent Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Mkhwebane, whose term ends in October, is facing an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Ncongwane’s letter was tabled in a meeting of the ad hoc committee to nominate a person for appointment as public protector on Tuesday in preparation for the interviews with eight candidates to be held on Wednesday and Thursday.

In his letter, Ncongwane said he did not believe that the shortlisting process was transparent.

“I was nominated and which nomination was accepted, however, it is not my inclination that after my nomination I am entitled to be shortlisted for the process that is under way rather I was concerned at the manner in which the whole process of shortlisting played out in the public platform,” he said.

Ncongwane insisted the engagement by MPs did not give credence to that the process was transparent, fair and open.

“It appears further that MPs were ticking the boxes of only filling eight candidates. I accept that about 38 candidates were nominated and therefore a mammoth task to run all interviews of 38 people looking at the constraints of time for the appointment of the Public Protector in October 2023.”

However, he said there was no intention by MPs of vociferously engaging with the questionnaire submitted by the candidates.

“There is no reason why we have completed such a questionnaire, and volunteered so much information and the committee comes with a fixed number of candidates that they believe will be the Public Protector.”

Ncongwane asked about criteria used to bring the shortlisted candidates to only eight and said that candidates were not given an opportunity to comment on any adverse comments made in the deliberations by the committee.

“I therefore challenge the process because of the obvious lack of transparency and rationality. I propose that the process of shortlisting must start de novo and committee members are given an opportunity to seriously engage in the questionnaire,” he said.

MPs said that there was criteria used to shortlist the candidates and it should be shared with Ncongwane so that they could continue with their work.

They said the candidates that made the shortlisting scored more than others after they received recommendations from MP after having considered their CVs.

Committee chairperson Cyril Xaba said they would write back to Ncongwane as the information about the criteria that was followed was available.

“There were no adverse comments made on any of the candidates in the meeting we had. The process was transparent,” he added.

Cape Times