Deputy Public Protector advocate Kevin Malunga’s term is coming to an end. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The National Assembly is to begin a process to find a deputy to Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

This was revealed by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa notifying him about the expiry of incumbent advocate Kevin Malunga’s seven-year term.

In her letter to Ramaphosa, Modise said the National Assembly should recommend to President Ramaphosa for the appointment of a deputy public protector a person nominated by a committee.

This came after the National Assembly approved the recommendation with a majority vote of parliamentarians.

“Accordingly, the National Assembly has an obligation to initiate the process of recruiting for the next ­deputy public protector.

“I hereby wish to inform Mr President that the National Assembly will commence the process of filling the upcoming vacancy of the deputy ­public protector,” Modise said.

On Monday she referred the letter to the justice and correctional services portfolio committee for consideration.

Malunga, who was naturalised in 2010 after denouncing his Zimbabwean citizenship, was one of 14 candidates vying to replace former public protector advocate Thuli Madonsela in 2016.

He could not clinch the position after his security clearance came up for discussion.

Malunga recently came under attack for comments he made relating to work at the Office of the Public Protector in an interview with the 24-hour television news broadcaster, eNCA.

He had told the broadcaster that he had played no part in Mkhwebane’s report into the R1.1billion financial assistance that Bankorp - now amalgamated into Absa - was given by the South African Reserve Bank between 1985 and 1991.

“There’s a lot of things I think the office has gotten wrong. For example, I think we should be consulting each other a lot more.

“I don’t know anything about the Absa report sitting here, as deputy public protector,” Kevin Malunga told eNCA.

Malunga also said that under Madonsela’s tenure there had been a think-tank process to ensure that reports were quality assured, but this had changed under Mkhwebane.

He came under criticism from Twitter, with EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu accusing him of throwing Mkhwebane under the bus.

“The problem with advocate Kevin Malunga is that he always plays to the gallery. When the (former president Jacob) Zuma group started attacking Thuli Madonsela, he did exactly what he wants to do now: i.e. distance himself from the public protector, with the hope that he’d find favour with the establishment,” tweeted Shivambu.

Malunga defended himself, tweeting that his interview had dealt with how to build confidence in the office and the entire work of the office.

“I have no one to please. I am done and will be moving to other things in any event,” Malunga said, suggesting that he might be leaving the office for good.

Political Bureau