10 August 2016
On Thursday 11 August, a Parliamentary ad hoc committee will interview 14 candidates that have been shortlisted for the position of public protector. The interviews will commence at 07h45 and can be viewed on Parliament’s television and YouTube channel.
Earlier this year, Corruption Watch launched its Bua Mzansi campaign to ensure that the process of selecting a new public protector is transparent, participatory, and in line with the Constitution. Corruption Watch and the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit conducted an in-depth vetting of the 14 shortlisted candidates. The team has not attempted to verify the candidates’ qualifications and has relied on their CVs, as well as information in the public domain. The vetting team has also undertaken a limited ‘lifestyle audit’ by investigating the credit histories and registered assets – including property and motor vehicle and company ownership. The submission can be viewed here, but note that no important personal information has been made public.
Corruption Watch has also released the results of a persona survey that it conducted with the staff at the Office of the Public Protector, Members of Parliament and the general public. One of the key activities of the Bua Mzansi campaign is to develop a persona or ideal model of the next public protector, based on public opinion. The organisation intends to use the results of the three surveys to guide aspects of the appointment process, and to facilitate public dialogue on the expectations of the new public protector. This persona will assist Parliament’s ad hoc committee, as well as candidates in their understanding of the roles and responsibilities which they could assume. It will also serve as notice to the next public protector, that his or her performance will come under the close and active scrutiny of the South African people.
“Arguably the most important, though perhaps least surprising, result of the surveys evidences the esteem accorded the present incumbent. Fully 87% of the respondents’ rate Adv. Madonsela’s performance as excellent. Few, if any, public servants or institutions enjoy this level of respect,” says Corruption Watch’s executive director David Lewis. The survey can be accessed here.
Corruption Watch is also deeply concerned that the length of time set aside for the public interviews on 11 August will be particularly taxing on the ad hoc committee members, and particularly the candidates who will be interviewed towards the end of the day.
Other Parliamentary interview processes that continue into the early hours of the morning have shown that candidates who are last on the list are at a disadvantage as their time is often cut short due to the understandable exhaustion of committee members at the end of a long day of interviews. Corruption Watch has urged the ad hoc committee to reconsider the time frames set aside to ensure that all candidates are treated fairly by receiving equal attention during the public interview process.
Moira Campbell: 083 995 4711
Kavisha Pillay: 078 490 5540
David Lewis: 082 576 3748