Pub­lic called on to help se­lect Madon­sela’s suc­ces­sor

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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.

Thuli Madon­sela

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