SAHRC's Buang Jones shortlisted for deputy Public Protector

Buang Jones.  (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)
Buang Jones. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

The acting legal head of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Buang Jones, who found himself embroiled in the controversy around Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth, has been shortlisted with seven others for the position of deputy Public Protector.

On Thursday, the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services met to whittle down the original list of 26 people, who have applied or have been nominated, to just eight.

The former head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Robert McBride, is one of those who did not make the cut.

McBride is currently taking a report of the Public Protector on review.

READ: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane fires one, suspends four in sweeping purge

According to a statement, the committee heard that 29 applications were received, three candidates withdrew leaving 26. Nineteen of the 26 candidates met the legislative requirements set out in Section 2A(4) 9 of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994.

"The essential qualifications of the deputy Public Protector include that the person must be a South African who is fit and proper to hold office, is a practicing advocate or attorney for 10 years or qualified to be admitted as an attorney, has lectured in law at a university for at least 10 years or have specialised knowledge of, or experience in the administration of justice, public administration or public finance for 10 years or a Member of Parliament for at least 10 years or have any combinations of experience," read the statement.

The eight shortlisted candidates are: 

  • Moshoeshoe Jeffrey Toba;
  • Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa;
  • Advocate Shadrack Nkuna;
  • Advocate Noxolo Mbangeni;
  • Advocate Lwazi Pumelela Kubukeli;
  • Advocate Puleng Matshelo;
  • Buang Jones;
  • Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka.

Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said that during a public participation process, members of the public had made allegations against some candidates.

"We want to applaud the public for the good work. This has helped the process in order for MPs to have an idea of who is best suited for the job. Now, we should allow the process to unfold.

"Allegations can be made against candidates during interviews in order to further probe the fitness of the candidate to hold office. This in order for us to appoint the best as South Africa deserves the best," Magwanishe said, according to the statement.

The SAHRC is investigating Jones after complaints were laid at the institution relating to some of the statements he had made about the Etzebeth case.

Etzebeth has been accused of using a racial slur when he and a group of friends were at a Langebaan pub on the West Coast in August this year. The incident also involved two men allegedly being pistol-whipped, News24 reported. 

The Bok lock has denied the allegations, and has filed strongly worded court papers in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, saying the case the SAHRC had brought against him in the Equality Court was "unlawful".

The term of incumbent Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga comes to an end in December.

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