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We need to restore public confidence in office of Public Protector, says ex-SAHRC CEO

Tseliso Thipanyane is one of the candidates contesting for the position of public protector. Picture: File

Tseliso Thipanyane is one of the candidates contesting for the position of public protector. Picture: File

Published Aug 23, 2023


Former South African Human Rights Commission CEO Tseliso Thipanyane believes there is a need to restore the image of Public Protector after bruising battles in the last few years.

Thipanyane, who is one of the candidates vying for the position of public protector, said they need to rebuild public confidence and trust in the office of the public protector.

The National Assembly’s ad hoc committee on the appointment of the public protector began interviewing the first group of shortlisted candidates for the position.

Thipanyane who worked in the SAHRC for many years and is now the head of legal in the office of the Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, told a panel of parliamentarians on Wednesday corruption needed to be fought on all fronts in the country.

He said the public must not lose trust in public bodies meant to investigate corruption.

He said the public protector has also lost many cases in the past few years and that needs to come to an end.

“We have to deal with the many cases we have been losing. They really undermine the confidence in public. We need to make sure that we minimise this,” said Thipanyane.

He added that they needed to rebuild the image of the public protector.

“There is a need to restore the dignity of the organisation in order to serve the people of this country. Therefore, what one needs is someone with a proven track record of leadership, who meets the five criteria of leadership as per the (book by Sun Tzsu) ‘Art of War’ in order to turn things around.

“We have seen in the past the challenges of leadership in Chapter Nine institutions. If Parliament appoints people who don’t meet these five criteria then the plane will crash and it has crashed in many instances and we cannot afford as a country at this point in time to have the public protector crashing. The public needs to have confidence in the public protector,” said Thipanyane.

The ad hoc committee was on Wednesday going to interview the first group of candidates who are contesting for the position of public protector.

The term of the current public protector ends in October.

However, the process coincides with another process that deals with the removal of suspended Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The section 194 committee adopted its final report this week where it recommended that Mkhwebane must be removed from her position.

The report will now be sent to the National Assembly for approval.

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