Person with legal aptitude should help Public Protector - candidate for Deputy Public Protector

2019-11-12 22:10
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday. (Jan Gerber, News24)

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was prevented from asking candidates for the post of Deputy Public Protector what they think of the work done by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services are interviewing seven candidates for the position currently filled by Kevin Malunga whose term expires in December.

In Tuesday's second interview, Ndlozi asked the South African Human Rights Commission's acting legal head, Buang Jones, what his view on her work was.

"Her work has been commendable," he said, adding he did not want to get into the court review applications against Mkhwebane's rulings.

"I think she has done well. There are areas of concern. There is room for improvement," Jones added.

When Ndlozi posed the same question to the next candidate, advocate Moshoeshoe Moshoeshoe, who is the legal counsel for the South African Revenue Service (SARS), committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe stopped him.

DA MP Werner Horn pointed out that Ndlozi was allowed to ask Jones the question.

Moshoeshoe Moshoeshoe

Advocate Moshoeshoe Moshoeshoe appearing before the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday, when he was interviewed for the post of Deputy Public Protector. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Ndlozi said Mkwhebane had lost a lot of cases and there were personal cost orders against her. He then asked Moshoeshoe for his reaction to this "state of affairs".

"Personal cost orders have a long history in our legal fraternity," Moshoeshoe said. "It is the nature of our legal system."

He said as a lawyer, he respected the courts' decisions to hand out cost orders.

Moshoeshoe added it was important "that the cases you investigate pass muster".

ANC MP Richard Dyantyi said Moshoeshoe was appointed to SARS while the institution was in decay, and now that it was undergoing restructuring and "exciting things are about to happen", he was about to leave.

"I'm not leaving, I was nominated for this role," Moshoeshoe said. "I'm not jumping."

He added he had thought seriously about his nomination and the person who nominated him said it was for the good of the country.

Dyantyi also asked him what the Public Protector's budget was and what the office's three programmes were, which, like Jones, he could not answer.

The next candidate was advocate Noxolo Mbangeni who is in private practice and was previously, among other things, a prosecutor.

Noxolo Mbangeni

Advocate Noxolo Mbangeni appears before the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday, when she was interviewed for Deputy Public Protector. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Ndlozi asked her if she thought if it was fair for the courts to give personal costs orders.

"It is very difficult for me to respond because I'm working with courts," Mbangeni said.

She added it was "unfortunate" that punitive costs orders were handed to the Public Protector.

Ndlozi also asked her what she thought of the "state of affairs" at the Public Protector, which included calls for Mkhwebane to be removed.

"I don't want her to be removed from her position," Mbangeni said, adding a person with experience and expertise should join the office to help the incumbent.

"A person with legal aptitude is required to ensure when it comes to the application of law, we are solid."

She answered Dyantyi's question about how much the Public Protector's budget was correctly.

The interviews will continue on Wednesday with advocates Lwazi Kubukeli, Puleng Matshelo and Kholeka Gcaleka being in the hot seat.

Read more on:    public protector  |  mbuyiseni ndlozi
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