Public called on to help select Madonsela’s successor
Civic organisations have already expressed their concern about the limited time that has been set aside for the process of selecting a new Public Protector.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s term in office comes to an end in October – and Parliament starts its search for her successor this week.
Political parties now have to nominate MPs to serve on the ad hoc committee. A committee chair will be elected next week. Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement, said that he did not have much faith in the process because, in light of ever-increasing corruption levels, he was expecting the governing party to use its majority to select someone who would be a yes man. “We won’t get another Madonsela,” he said. Phephelaphi Dube, director of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, said that the time frames for this process were worrying because MPs who were going to serve on the committee also had other duties in their constituencies, as well as election campaigns.
“That leaves little time for the committee to concentrate properly on its work of examining the candidates,” Dube said.
David Lewis, director of Corruption Watch – which has launched a campaign to get the public involved in the process – made an appeal to South Africans to assert themselves and keep a hawk’s eye on the process. “The office of the Public Protector has shown the importance of this position. South Africa would have been a whole different place were it not for the work of the Public Protector,” he said. Moloto Mothapo, spokesperson for the ANC caucus, described the concern regarding political motives and the time set aside as misplaced. “It is a transparent process of all the political parties, not an ANC process. The public also has the right to be involved.” Cedric Frolick, chairperson of the National Assembly, upon enquiry, said it was expected that the committee would have to report back to the House by August 31 and that it was possible that, by that time, there could already be a candidate. Madonsela said the public should get involved and nominate as many suitable candidates as possible. “The candidates have to be honest and able to work with the team in the pursuance of truth, and they have to be able to exercise their powers with the necessary wisdom,” Madonsela said. The ad hoc committee will consist of 11 members – six from the ANC, two from the DA, one from the Economic Freedom Fighters and two from the smaller parties. In terms of chapter 9 of the Constitution, the Public Protector needs to be approved by at least 60% of the National Assembly.