Judge Desai stays on public protector list

Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai. (File, 24.com pool)
Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai. (File, 24.com pool)

Cape Town –  Judge Siraj Desai on Thursday made the shortlist for the Public Protector position - but only by a slim margin.

The DA was vehemently opposed to him making the shortlist of five candidates, during a debate by Parliament’s ad hoc committee to select a replacement for Thuli Madonsela.

The others who made the shortlist are Sharise Weiner, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Muvhango Lukhaimane and Bongani Majola.

Current deputy PP Kevin Malunga didn't make the list.

DA MPs Glynnis Breytenbach and Phumzile van Damme raised concerns over his temper, and his ability to be objective. 

Breytenbach compared his interview to Judge Sharise Weiner’s, and said he had failed.

“He had a poor interview, lost his temper and was abusive to MPs who were questioning him,” she said.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu said while he was a fit and proper judge, he was not suitable to be Public Protector.

“I don’t think he should be considered at all. You need a person who will be patient with everyone on the job.”

Shivambu raised concerns about the judge’s ability to deal with financial issues. He said he was an excellent judge and should rather continue on the bench.

Van Damme said he fell apart when asked two simple questions during his interview last week.

She said current public protector Thuli Madonsela had faced serious pressure recently and did not lose her temper at all.

The committee members agreed unanimously that candidates Michael Mthembu, Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller, Chris Madibeng Mokoditwa, MT Goodman (nee Shai), and Jill Oliphant should fall off the list.

ANC MP Nic Koornhof said Desai’s interview was colourful and he was a fit and proper candidate for the job.

The NFP said it would be awkward for the judge to fall off the list so early.

The committee then decided they would keep him on, and to debate his candidacy during the final selection process.

 


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