Media briefing

Appointment of Public Protector

22 June 2016
Chairperson: Dr M Khosa
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Meeting Summary

The Ad Hoc Committee for the Appointment of the Public Protector updated the media about where the Committee is in terms of process and what steps it is taking to include the public in the process of recommending someone to be the next Public Protector. She urged the public to make nominations before 24 June 2016.

Meeting report

Dr Makhosi Khoza, the Committee Chairperson, informed the media they have received 21 nominations so far, including the current Public Protector and her deputy. The names of the nominated would be published after the 24 June 2016 deadline. She encouraged the public to make submissions if they had any objections to any of those appearing on that list.  The public should reveal their identities when filing an objection. Those who remain anonymous are not going to be entertained. The Committee has established a mechanism for nominees to accept or reject their nomination. She urged the public to make nominations before 24 June 2016. Finally, the Committee has made a commitment that the process is to be finalised before 31 August 2016.

Question and Answers:

Journalist:
 Can you inform us if you have considered the letter you received from Corruption Watch?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: We have received the letter from Corruption Watch and its request for extension. We have considered the letter, but we will stick to the timelines. Nominations can be done before the short-listing process. People should have an opportunity to make objections and there is a process in place for the verification of the objections.

Journalist: Are the CVs of the nominated going to be made public?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: There has to be consent from the candidates themselves. Your CV has to be known if you want to be the Public Protector. The Committee will be writing to the nominees for consent. The Committee would not like to violate their privacy in terms of revealing their health status and number of dependents, etc. The names of the nominated will be made public next week after the 24 June deadline.

Journalist: Who are the people making nominations?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: We have received 21 names so far and they are largely from the public and nothing from a political party or organisations. We have received interesting nominations. The Committee is going to have a hard time in nominating, especially when you look at the CVs submitted so far. They are competent people.

Journalist: Who has nominated the current Public Protector? Who are the other nominees besides Thuli Madonsela and her deputy?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: I can’t reveal the others who have applied, but people have made submissions for the re-appointment of Madonsela. Constitutionally, she cannot be re-appointed. The Public Protector serves only for a period of seven years. Nominations have been received for the Deputy Public Protector, but we won’t tell who else has been nominated. We will tell you only when the short-listing has been made.

Journalist: How many people have nominated the incumbent?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: It’s difficult to state now, and even for Mr Malunga. We can’t exactly tell about the numbers.

Journalist: Would the CVs be subjected to verification and vetting?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: The CV verification is going to be two-fold. We have our own verification process that is going to be done by the team supporting the Committee. Vetting is going to be done by the State Security Agency.

Journalist: The public participation process is just a formality. What assurance can you give that the participation will be meaningful?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: Public participation is not about ticking boxes. People have been nominated. This is going to give the Committee a tough job because we are dealing with competent people here. We have to consider financial constraints when engaging with the nominees. It is important to note that public participation is the cornerstone of democracy. We must satisfy ourselves that we have got the best person.

Journalist: Why are the names of those nominated not published this Friday afternoon instead of next week? Please elaborate on the concerns about the issue of privacy of the nominated and why there is sensitivity around this because when you become a judge, all your personal matters are made public?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: The information that is going to be posted on the website is not going to be the names only, but will include qualifications and work experience. Personal matters are not going to be relevant for assessing the competence of the person applying. The green light will be given by the nominated person, especially when it comes to personal information.

Journalist: Are there any MPs who have been nominated?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: No MP has been nominated so far. They can be nominated, but we will be able to tell after 24 June 2016.

Journalist: Is the Committee going to meet the timelines?

Dr Makhosi Khoza: The timelines still stand. Interviews will be done after the elections. The name of the nominated person is going to be presented to the House on 31 August 2016. It must be remembered this is a multi-party process. So, it is important that other parties are present when the process is taking place. But it is difficult to state when the short-listing will be done as we have to ensure that all Members are present.

Briefing adjourned.

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