Public must appoint PP

2016-02-11 06:00
 Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

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Public advocacy NGO Corruption Watch has launched a campaign to increase citizens’ role in the appointment of the new public protector.

The organisation has launched the campaign, Bua Mzansi, to alert South Africans of their right to nominate candidates for the appointment of a new public protector.

The current public protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s non-renewable contract ends on October 19.

Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis said people appointed to such important Chapter Nine institutions should be answerable to citizens.

“In the past, public participation has not characterised the appointments of public protectors,” said Lewis.

He was speaking at Constitution Hill at the launch of the campaign.

Civil society as well as the broader public are permitted to recommend candidates according to the constitution, in terms of the current process.

The president appoints the public protector based on recommendations from the National Assembly, which in turn creates an ad-hoc committee composed of political party representatives who undertake the selection and interviewing process.

Lewis hoped to live-stream the interviewing process, as Bua Mzansi aims to ensure that every step of the appointment process takes place in the public spotlight to safeguard the independence and integrity of the Office of the Public Protector, he said.

“We hope this campaign sparks debate in society broadly to what the best method is to appoint people answerable to the public,” Lewis said.

Kavisha Pillay, who is project manager of the campaign, discussed some of the ways South Africans can be actively involved in the processes of nomination, interviewing and eventual appointment.

“We want to start a crowd voting application that people can download on their smartphones. There will be roadshows in four provinces, reaching people who may not have access to the internet, to implement mobile electronic voting polls,” said Pillay.

“We are working with new technologies for public participation. When parliament votes, so should the public.”

For more information on how to nominate candidates and to find out more about the campaign, go to www.corruptionwatch.

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