The appointment of Kholeka Gcaleka as Public Protector was mired in controversy after a rowdy debate in Parliament that saw Democratic Alliance (DA) MPs stage a walkout after refusing to agree with Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's ruling.
Mapisa-Nqakula had removed DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach from the House after the latter accused Gcaleka of having an intimate relationship with her former boss in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Menzi Simelane.
But the National Freedom Party (NFP) and Good Party hit back at Breytenbach for a malicious attack on Gcaleka to tarnish her image.
After the debate, a total of 244 MPs approved the appointment of Gcaleka, and her name will be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for final approval.
Gcaleka’s name needed 240 votes, and the African National Congress (ANC) managed to get support from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Good Party, the African Independent Congress, Al-Jama-ah and NFP.
Mapisa-Nqakula said Gcaleka is recommended for appointment.
“Advocate Gcaleka is accordingly recommended for appointment as public protector,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.
But her recommendation for appointment did not come without controversy, as insults flew in the Chamber on Thursday.
Good Party MP Brett Herron described the conduct of Breytenbach and DA members as disgraceful.
He said Parliament owes Gcaleka an apology over the allegations made by Breytenbach.
NFP MP Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said the DA was angry at the appointment of Gcaleka because she did not do what they wanted her to do during her investigations.
“Because of that, she was insulted in the most disgraceful manner,” said Shaik Emam.
Mahlubanzima Jafta of the African Independent Congress said they support Gcaleka because she is the right person for the job.
He said her office was not to settle political scores.
During proceedings earlier, when Breytenbach made the allegations and was told to leave the House, DA leader John Steenhuisen accused Mapisa-Nqakula of abusing her powers and lying in the House.
But Mapisa-Nqakula said she was not going to allow the opposition to collapse the sitting.
“I will not allow the House to be collapsed. You may try as hard as you can; I will not postpone the sitting today. I will consider all the insults by Steenhuisen (later). This House will not be adjourned for now; let us proceed. With the proceedings of this House, you are not going to collapse the sitting honourable members,” Mapisa-Nqakula told members of the DA.
This was before they staged a walkout after she refused to entertain their request to interpret the rules.
The voting on the appointment of Gcaleka will now move to the Union Buildings, where Ramaphosa is expected to approve her name.