Why I deserve to be the public protector - candidates

2016-07-14 16:18

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Cape Town - From standing firm in tough political situations to advocating for justice, each prospective Public Protector thinks they are the right person to fill Thuli Madonsela's shoes.

The candidates were screened and whittled down to 14 by Parliament's ad hoc committee on Wednesday, with judges, advocates and professors vying for the post.

During the shortlisting process, the candidates had to fill in a questionnaire detailing their work experience, any skeletons in their closets as well the reason why they each thought they were the best man or woman for the job.

The questionnaires will be used as part of the interview process, the committee said on Wednesday.

Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Willie Hofmeyr, who was nominated by the African National Congress, believes his activism and qualifications mean he is the right man for the job.

"I have through my adult life been passionate about fighting injustice from whatever source it emanates," he said.

Integrity, he believes, is perhaps the most important requirement for the position.

"I have tried to live my life according to the highest standards of integrity, and have sacrificed much for this at times," he said.

Conflict of interest

READ: Corruption Watch to 'look deeply' at shortlisted Public Protector candidates

He said when he joined the NPA, he decided to let his ANC membership lapse because of the possible perceived conflict of interest in dealing with certain cases.

He said in his first few years at the NPA, he was excluded from dealing with a number of high profile matters because, he believes, he asked too many questions.

"In other cases, such as the [Jackie] Selebi matter, I have been faced with a situation where the then president tried to force the NPA to abuse its powers to assist him in his political fights in the ruling party, and suspended the NDPP when he refused to do so.

“When Mr [Vusi] Pikoli was suspended, I supported him strongly and did my utmost to subvert the intention of a range of politicians and senior public servants who tried to force the NPA to do the bidding of the executive at the time. I and others faced considerable opposition from senior members in the NPA, as well as politicians and senior officials outside," said Hofmeyr.

He has had to deal with very tough situations, he said, where some of his "closest comrades and friends in the ANC" were lobbying me to persuade him to assist the then-president against his political rivals.

"This lead to a permanent breakdown in my relationship with several of my friends."

Through all this, he said, he had tried hard to maintain a high level of integrity in his work in the state.

International experience

READ: ‘I’ve been an activist all my life’ – Judge Siraj Desai on Public Protector bid

Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga, who was nominated to the shortlist by the African Christian Democratic Party, said he was he the best person to take over as Public Protector because he already knew what the job entailed.

"I have done every facet of the job, having acted as Public Protector no less than 30 times in the past three-and-a-half years. As Deputy Public Protector I have also led all the high impact teams of the Public Protector," he said in his questionnaire.

His appointment would ensure continuity, he told the MPs in his questionnaire.

"It would be tragic if we would have to start from zero when we have already got the formula right," he said.

One of his strengths was in language skills, he said, and the fact that he has been the point man at the Public Protector during his tenure.

Bongani Majola said he deserved to get the job because he brought more than 10 years international experience working with UN member states' governments.

His previous work experience has involved investigations, he said, analysing the results of investigations and making conclusions based on that analysis.

He detailed his experience in the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as well as his years lecturing.

He has experience dealing with issues of the poor, he said, as he had worked for six years at the Legal Resources Centre.

Good governance

Nonkosi Cetywayo believes her experience in good governance makes her the right candidate for the job.

"My project management expertise could help a great deal in terms of efficiency of investigations as investigations would be done in a prioritised manner... each investigation could be turned into a project with clear target population [government priorities] as the beneficiary, time frames and monitored budget plan."

Busisiwe Mkhwebane believes her in-depth knowledge and experience of the government sector policy implementation and monitoring will make her the right candidate.

"Given an opportunity to hold the Public Protector's office, I trust I would continue serving and protecting public interests with integrity," she said.

Constitution is supreme

Candidate Narnia Bohler-Muller said she considered the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to be supreme.

"The promises contained in its Preamble must be fulfilled and the values underlying it - dignity, equality, and freedom - must inform not only the conduct of the State, but also our daily lives as we struggle to an as yet unrealised transformed society. We cannot compromise on this."

Detailing her work experience, she said she was familiar with the mandates of the Chapter 9 Institutions and had a character strong enough to work with diverse groups.

All the candidates believe they can confidently fill Madonsela's post when her term ends in October.

The candidates will have to prove their competency during a 10 - 15 minute presentation when they are interviewed on Thursday, August 11.

Here are the 14 shortlisted candidates:

  • Judge Sharise Weiner
  • Judge Sirajudien Desai
  • Adv Kevin Malunga
  • Adv Nonkosi Cetywayo
  • Adv Mhlaliseni Mthembu
  • Adv Madibeng Mokoditwa
  • Adv Mamiki Goodman
  • Adjunct Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller
  • Prof Bongani Majola
  • Busisiwe Mkhwebane
  • Jill Oliphant
  • Muvhango Lukhaimane
  • Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh
  • Willie Hofmeyer

Read more on:    public protector  |  judiciary

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