The wish list: nomination declined
NOMBONISO GASA Her history as an activist goes back to when she was a teenager, and first detained without trial at the age of 14. Since then Gasa, who has an immediate association for many South Africans with a range of political and cultural issues, has been a soft-spoken yet fiery spokeswoman for continuing liberation.
In a rare misstep on points of gender, the EFF was embarrassed by a tweet on the Twitter handle @effwcape last year when its operator ridiculed Gasa’s rape on Robben Island in 1997. That experience, which scarred her life, was never resolved after police closed the investigation. PREGS GOVENDER A lifelong activist, she started her formal career in politics and social justice when she was appointed an ANC MP. More recently, she has been the deputy chairwoman of the South African Human Rights Commission, although it is an important view that, had she been chair instead of Lawrence Mushwana, the SAHRC would have achieved far more in the past seven years.
A stand-out candidate for truth, Govender resigned as MP in 2002 after registering her opposition to the arms deal in the Defence Budget vote in 2001. Her concern then, as it is now, was that the budget rather needed to address the terrifying impact of HIV/ Aids on women and girls. Shocking as it remains, she was the only MP at the time to take her leave of Parliament for this reason. YVONNE MOKGORO A former justice of the Constitutional Court, appointed to the Bench in 1994 by Nelson Mandela, she has never lost her taste for human rights issues. A board member of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria and the current chairwoman of the South African Law Reform Commission, she’s been given many awards for her achievements, including the Human Rights Award by the Black Lawyers Association and the James Wilson Award by the University of Pennsylvania Law School, one of her alma maters.
Warm, approachable and honourable, Mokgoro has many fans who believe she has the qualities needed in a public protector. DIKGANG MOSENEKE It’s an injustice that Moseneke, the former deputy Chief Justice, is not on this list, for the simple fact that he is one of the greatest South Africans our democracy has seen.
After suffering harrowing punishment at the hands of the apartheid regime while still a teenager, it was 10 years after he was called to the Bar, that he served on the technical committee that drafted the interim constitution.
A year later, in 1994, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first free and fair democratic elections.
Twice passed over for the position of Chief Justice, Moseneke’s independence – in particular his criticism of the powers afforded to the president – has perhaps stood in the way of others’ ambition, but been a shining light for the country. DUMISA NTSEBEZA The top legal mind has become one of the greatest protagonists of human rights in South African history.
Perhaps only coming to the attention of many last year when he astutely laid bare the shortcomings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana massacre, he has, nonetheless, been a torchbearer for what is right for decades.
A prominent figure within the leadership of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the former teacher, and thorn in the side of the apartheid regime, is a persistent reminder to government kleptocrats that justice can, and will always be served.
Rumour had it that Jacob Zuma wanted him to be the NDPP, but that he turned down the opportunity, instead choosing to remain his own man.