No 'underhand dealings' in finding new Public Protector

Cape Town – Selecting South Africa’s new public protector will be transparent and without “undercover dealings”, MPs were told on Wednesday.

“The public participation process starts now. There are not going to be any undercover dealings,” said Makhosi Khoza, chairperson of the ad hoc committee established to nominate a candidate for the position.

The best candidate would get the job, she stressed at a meeting to outline the committee’s work.

Political parties had raised concerns about the extent of public participation in the process.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s term ends in October, and Parliament has tasked the ad hoc committee with nominating a replacement by August 31. 

The public participation process would not only start with interviews, she assured members. 

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said they had to ensure maximum participation by anyone with an interest in the appointment. He called for the CVs of those nominated for the post to be made public, so the public and civil society could comment.

“And as a democratic institution, we should never feel intimidated or irritated by such,” he said. 

Citing several court cases, Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach said public participation would make the process much more transparent and would bind the appointee to do their job without fear, favour, or prejudice.

African National Congress MP Bongani Bongo said the public was already involved in the nomination process.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said civil society had a role to play beyond the nominations, into the recommendation process.

MPs called for interviews to be conducted on live television on the Parliament channel.

Khoza said she was open to suggestions on how far the public could participate. Civil society would be allowed to submit questions to the committee to be posed to the candidates, if relevant.

"The process is going to be very transparent," she said five times during the hour-long meeting. 

Advertisements calling for nominations and applications would be published in weekend papers and broadcast on radio for three weeks.

Short-listed candidates would be interviewed after the August 3 local government elections. 

All submitted CVs would be subject to public scrutiny, the committee said.

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