Cape Town – Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga does not have the required security clearance to get his boss’s job, a parliamentary committee heard on Thursday.
The ad hoc committee tasked with finding Thuli Madonsela’s replacement had received a letter from the State Security Agency bringing into question Malunga’s qualification for the position.
Malunga is one of the 14 candidates vying to fill Madonsela’s shoes when her 7-year term ends in October.
Some MPs on the committee cautioned against using the letter to prejudice Malunga, even as MP after MP focused on its contents throughout his hour-long interview.
According to the letter, received after the shortlisting process, Malunga was only qualified for confidential, and not top secret clearance. Top secret clearance was needed to do the Public Protector’s job. MPs said no mention of this was contained in the Public Protector Act.
Committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza said the matter would have to come before the committee at its next meeting.
“I did not know anything about this. To the best of my knowledge, there is no impediment to me serving in any responsibility,” Malunga said.
ACDP MP Steve Swart raised concerns about the timing of the SSA letter.
“Why did these issues not come to the fore when he was interviewed for the deputy public protector job? He would need the same clearance for that,” he said.
Swart said Malunga had previously acted in Madonsela’s position, for short stints during his tenure.
EFF MP Floyd Shivambu questioned the timing of the letter and how it came to be circulated. He called on Khoza to take ownership of it.
Khoza lost her temper and shouted that she had not had any sinister intentions at all. She then raised concerns about the chronological order of dates in Malunga’s CV.
He explained he was naturalised as a South African citizen in 2010, and had denounced his Zimbabwean citizenship.