The Ad Hoc Committee to Nominate a Person for Appointment as Public Protector (PP) is on track with its schedule of selecting a suitable person to be named as the next public protector.

On 12 July the committee met to discuss the list of applications and nominations from which the short list would be compiled, and the PP eventually selected. The controversy-riddled term of incumbent Busisiwe Mkhwebane, though she has been suspended since July 2022, officially ends in October this year.

From 53 nominations and 17 applications that were received, 38 names made it to the preliminary list – and on 26 July the committee revealed the eight individuals who now appear on the short list. Two candidates had withdrawn from that initial process in the meantime.

CW conducted a desktop vetting process of the 38 names in the first round, and submitted it to the committee as invited. Based on the information provided in the CVs, we assessed whether each candidate meets the basic criteria outlined in Section 1A of the Public Protector Act.

We found that a significant number of candidates who applied or were nominated for the position of public protector meet the qualifying criteria, making them eligible for shortlisting. We did, however, note the possibility of some errors in our assessment, owing to informational gaps contained in the CVs of the candidates.  

We advised the committee to draw up supplementary criteria to create a tightly curated shortlist, which prioritised candidates with a proven track record of experience, unwavering ethics, and exceptional leadership qualities.  

Listen to our head of stakeholder relations and campaigns, Kavisha Pillay, give more details on Corruption Watch’s (CW) role in monitoring such appointment processes:

Shortlisted names

The eight shortlisted candidates are:

  • Adv Kholeka Gcaleka.
  • Adv Oliver Josie.
  • Ms Johannah Ledwaba.
  • Ms Muvhango Lukhaimane.
  • Adv Lynn Marais.
  • Prof Boitumelo Mmusinyane.
  • Adv Kwena Tommy Ntsewa.
  • Adv Tseliso Thipanyane.

Committee chairperson Cyril Xaba said in a statement that the candidates will be interviewed on 23 and 24 August 2023. He said the committee had to look for a “fit and proper person” for the position – but as the law does not elaborate on the term fit and proper, the committee was guided by case law specifying character, experience, knowledge, and skills. Members drew up a guiding document offering more detail on the attributes – character, experience, knowledge, and skills – that they were looking for.

First, however, the candidates will be screened for suitability, references, and qualification verification, among others. This will take place from 1 to 18 August, as per the schedule below. After this stage interviews and deliberations will happen and the committee is expected to report back to the National Assembly by 31 August 2023.

Forthcoming steps

The ad hoc committee has until 31 August to complete its task and report to Parliament with a name. The programme is as follows, with the first two steps concluded. Step three is in progress:

  • 8 June 2023:                 Consideration of the committee programme and draft advert.
  • 12 June 2023:               Publication of advert through media statement, website, and newspapers.
  • 10-21 July 2023:            Consolidation of information and CVs. Publication of CVs for public comment on website for two weeks.
  • 24-28 July 2023:            Shortlisting of candidates.
  • 1-18 August 2023:         Logistics for interviews and screening of shortlisted candidates.
  • 21-25 August 2023:       Interviews take place in Parliament.
  • 29-31 August 2023:       Committee deliberations and recommendation.