How Gcaleka made it to top position despite opposition
Controversy surrounding her started even before Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka’s appointment as deputy public protector.
Gcaleka experienced a heated session during interviews of candidates by the parliamentary portfolio committee on justice and correctional services.
At the time, committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said the committee interviewed seven candidates and agreed to nominate Gcaleka for appointment as deputy public protector in terms of section 2A of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994.
Her nomination raised a storm when almost all opposition parties except the Inkatha Freedom Party and National
Freedom Party opposed her nomination to the top post.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, the Democratic Alliance, African Christian Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement refused to endorse Gcaleka’s appointment and questioned her past, including being a special adviser to former finance minister Malusi Gigaba.
The majority of the portfolio committee members defended Gcaleka’s nomination, with ANC MPs saying she was never convicted of any crime and satisfactorily explained any allegations during the interviews for the post.
Even external observers came to Gcaleka’s defence.
Political analyst Zamikhaya Maseti said it was unfair to marginalise Gcaleka for merely having worked for Gigaba.
“Lawyers are lawyers, they work for or give legal advice to anyone and there is a certain professional protocol they have to follow whoever they worked for,” Maseti said.
Last year Magwanishe said his committee received 29 applications but three withdrew. Of the remaining 26 candidates, six candidates did not meet the requirements for the post.
On 23 October 2019, the committee shortlisted eight candidates: Advocates Shadrack Nkuna, Gcaleka, Buang Jones, Moshoeshoe Toba, Puleng Matshelo, Lwazi Kubukeli, Noxolo Mbangeni and Sonwabile Mancotywa. But Mancotywa notified the committee that he was withdrawing from the process.
Gcaleka is a former special advisor in the national treasury, home affairs and public service and administration. She previously served as senior state advocate and senior deputy director of public prosecutions in the National Prosecuting Authority.
Besides being an admitted advocate of the High Court, Gcaleka is a member of the Black Lawyers Association and former national chairperson of the Society of State Advocates of South Africa.
Lawyers work for or give legal advice to anyone