At the end of May, once we knew who would be serving on the ad hoc committee to oversee the public protector appointment, we wrote to the committee expressing our support, and making a request or two.
Committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza sent us a cordial reply, saying that our interest was appreciated, and that the committee would conduct the process in a free and fair manner while ensuring that candidates’ rights are upheld at all times.
Read the letters below:
30 May 2016
Honourable Dr Makhosi Busisiwe Khoza
Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee on Appointment of Public Protector Per email: email@example.com
And to: Members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Appointment of Public Protector
Adv. Bongani Thomas Bongo Per email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Nkosiyakhe Amos Masondo Per email: email@example.com
Mr Nicolaas Jacobus Janse Van Rensburg Koornhof Per email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Grace Kekulu Tseke Per email: email@example.com
Ms Madipoane Refiloe Moremadi Mothapo Per email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Patrick Maesela Per email: email@example.com
Adv. Glynnis Breytenbach Per email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Phumzile Thelma Van Damme Per email: email@example.com
Mr James Selfe Per email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Werner Horn Per email: email@example.com
Mr Julius Sello Malema Per email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Christian Themba Msimang Per email: email@example.com
Mr Steven Nicholas Swart Per email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Sibusiso Christopher Mncwabe Per email: email@example.com
Dear Honourable Dr Khoza
Nomination, Selection and Appointment of our next Public Protector
We refer to the above matter.
Corruption Watch is a civil society organisation that opened its doors to the public in January 2012. We are a registered non-profit company in terms of the Companies Act.
Corruption Watch aims to ensure that the custodians of public resources act responsibly to advance the interests of the public, and to ensure that opportunities for entering into corrupt relationships are reduced. We rely on the public to report corruption to us and we use these reports as an important source of information to fight corruption and hold leaders accountable for their actions.
As part of our mandate, Corruption Watch is also committed to supporting and strengthening Chapter 9 institutions that are involved in anti-corruption efforts.
In light of the incumbent public protector’s term of office coming to an end on 19 October 2016, we have launched a public awareness and participation campaign, entitled Bua Mzansi, aimed at highlighting the appointment process of the next public protector.
Section 193(6) of the Constitution provides that the involvement of civil society in the recommendation process for the public protector may be provided for as envisaged in section 59(1)(a) of the Constitution. Thus, we wish to support the work of Parliament by obtaining broad public participation in the nomination and selection process.
We would like to congratulate the Members of Parliament who have been selected to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee on the Appointment of the Public Protector, as well as the Honourable Dr Khoza who has been appointed as the chair of this committee. We trust that the committee members will apply their minds in recommending the best possible candidate to serve as South Africa’s next public protector.
In order to promote transparency and public participation in the process of appointing a new public protector, Corruption Watch requests the ad hoc committee to grant the following permissions:
To access the long list of candidates who have applied or been nominated for the position of public protector;
To publish/provide access to the CVs of the shortlisted candidates (Contact details, ID numbers and any sensitive information can be redacted);
To confirm that the interviews of shortlisted candidates will be streamed live via the Parliamentary Television Channel, Parliamentary YouTube account and any other television broadcaster;
To allow the public to comment and make submissions on shortlisted candidates.
We are grateful for the time you have taken to consider our letter and look forward to working with you.
If you would like to meet with us to further discuss our campaign and any aspect of our correspondence, please indicate your availability and we will attend to all the necessary meeting arrangements.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Bua Mzansi Project Manager
Corruption Watch [Unsigned due to electronic transmission]
Sections 59 (1) and (2) of the Constitution provide that:
The National Assembly must –
Facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the Assembly and its committees; and
Conduct its business in an open manner; and hold its sittings; and those of its committees, in public, but reasonable measures may be taken –
To regulate public access, including access of the media, to the Assembly and its committees; and
To provide for the searching of any person and, where appropriate, the refusal of entry to, or the removal of any person
The National Assembly may not exclude the public, including the media, from a sitting of a committee unless it is reasonable and justifiable to do so in an open and democratic society.
Dear Kavisha Pillay
I acknowledge your letter dated 30 May 2016. On behalf of the ad hoc committee, let me express our appreciation for your interest and the contribution you wish to make in the process of identifying the best candidate for the Public Protector position. We also thank you for your kind congratulatory remarks.
As you know the parliamentary processes are open to the members of the public. This, includes organized formations such as your Organisation.
We welcome your participation in nominating candidates as well as raising public awareness about the position.
With regards to making public the names of nominees/ applicants, conducting a live interview on the available channels, this shall be done in the most cost effective way, consistent with the decision of the Ad Hoc Committee of the 1st June 2016.
I’m advised by the Secretariat that the position shall be advertised in the 3 national newspapers and 9 regional newspapers as per provincial demarcations.
Whilst, we appreciate the right for the civil society to raise objections, it has to be clear that raising an objection does not translate to the automatic disqualification of the candidate. We also have a responsibility to ensure that the process is free and fair. The candidates also have rights, which may not be violated.
As you know, the Ad Hoc Committee is responsible for identifying the suitable candidate to be tabled as a nomination to the National Assembly. The candidate must be supported by 60% of the Members of Parliament. This process is followed by the President of the Republic, who must make the appointment.