As the Constitutional Court on Thursday delivered a devastating blow to suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in her fight against the inquiry into her fitness to hold office, Parliament is pushing ahead with the search for her successor.
The national Legislature on Wednesday asked members of the public and organisations to submit comments and objections to the 38 hopefuls. This after the Ad Hoc Committee to Nominate a Person for Appointment as Public Protector received 70 nominations and applications for the position.
Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka was nominated by 17 people and has accepted the nomination.
Also nominated was former CEO of the South African Human Rights Commission, Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, as was former Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority CEO Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi.
Candidates who vied for the deputy public protector position four years ago, former national Heritage Council CEO Sonwabile Mancotywa and South African Human Rights Commission’s Buang Jones, have also been nominated.
Mkhwebane, who will complete her un-renewable seven-year term in October, was also nominated.
Advocates Dali Mpofu, Muzi Sikhakane, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, former public protector and Professor Thuli Madonsela and Gerrie Nel were also nominated, but their applications did not have CVs or acceptance letters.
Several judges, including Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, were also nominated, but they too did not make it on to the list.
Committee chairperson Cyril Xaba said that of the 70 applications, 32 were disqualified during the initial sifting process for non-compliance with the nomination requirements as set out in the advert.
He said the redacted CVs of the 38 names of candidates that passed the first sifting process would be placed on the parliamentary website for public comment. “The public will have until July 21 to give input on candidates.”
Xaba also said the committee would shortlist candidates for interviews on July 26.
As part of the selection process, all shortlisted candidates would be subjected to processes, such as suitability screening, reference checks, qualifications verification, and be expected to complete a questionnaire.
“Interviews of the selected candidates will take place between August 21 and 25. This will be followed by committee deliberations and to recommend suitable names to the National Assembly,” he said.
The ad hoc committee plans to deliberate on the interviews and make a recommendation to the National Assembly from August 29 until August 31.
The successful candidate will be appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa for a seven-year term when his or her nomination is supported by 60% of members in the National Assembly.
According to the Constitution and the Public Protector Act, the public protector must be a South African citizen and a “fit and proper person to hold the particular office”.
The act also provides that the office bearer must be a person who for 10 years was a judge, practised as or was an admitted advocate or attorney, and qualified to be admitted as an advocate or attorney and has lectured in law at a university.
The office-bearer should have specialised knowledge or experience in the administration of justice, public administration or public finance, have been an MP or had any combination of the above experience.