National 15.8.2016 06:15 pm

Ramjathan-Keogh the ‘people’s choice’ for public protector

Kajaal Ramjathan-Keogh. Picture: SALC

Kajaal Ramjathan-Keogh. Picture: SALC

NGO Corruption Watch has been running a poll for the public to submit their pick for who should replace Thuli Madonsela.

It’s been four days since interviews ended and Advocate Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh seems to be the candidate who has won more people over than any other. However, there is a big spread of votes and Ramjathan-Keogh leads Judge Sharise Weiner by only 3.6% of the poll.

The Citizen also ran a poll on its website and yesterday Ramjathan-Keogh was also the most popular candidate among our readers.

During Ramjathan-Keogh’s interview with MPs, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu drove a hard party line in his questions to candidate Ramjathan-Keogh, an executive director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), asking if, as the public protector, she would support a change to the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation “to give land to our people” in order to reclaim land from “the colonial murderers who beheaded us”.

In her response, the advocate started first by answering earlier questions about whether South Africa should remain part of the International Criminal Court, even though the court was prosecuting more African leaders.

Her answer was that it should, and that African countries should exercise their power as the biggest global bloc at the court. She said that the high number of African cases at the court was due to the fact that most African countries had referred the cases themselves. She said that to complain about this was “curious”.

She said she took great offence at a question that the Southern Africa Litigation Centre might be “foreign controlled”.

In answer to Shivambu’s question that her centre had prioritised justice over peace in bringing an application to arrest Omar al-Bashir during his last visit to South Africa, she said that it did not go without saying that Bashir was essential to peace in Sudan and Africa. She defended their actions in litigating for his arrest. She also corrected Shivambu on his error in talking about South Sudan when Bashir was in fact the president of Sudan.

She said her organisation had an obligation to seek justice for victims in Sudan, who could get nothing of the sort in their country. “Should we wait 60 years for justice? I don’t think so. We need justice now.”

In answer to his question about land expropriation without expropriation, she said she did not support it, but added it was not a simple issue. She then moved on swiftly from the topic.

According to SALC’s website Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh joined them in February 2015. She was employed at Lawyers for Human Rights from 2002-2014 where she initially headed the Immigration Detention Monitoring Unit and was thereafter appointed as Manager of the Refugee and Migrants Rights Programme, which she held from 2007-2014. She was the board chairperson of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa from 2007-2011. She is a founding member of the secretariat of the African NGO Taskforce, a network of organisations working on refugee protection in Africa. The Taskforce has been working on actively capacitating local NGOs on aspects of refugee protection. She has experience and expertise in the fields of asylum, migration, refugee protection, citizenship and statelessness. Kaajal was previously employed at the International Organization for Migration.

Here was the full breakdown of voting on Corruption Watch’s site for all the candidates as at 5.30pm on Monday.

Ms Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh

259 Votes (22.21%)

Judge Sharise Weiner

217 Votes (18.61%)

Adjunct Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller

217 Votes (18.61%)

Mr Willie Hofmeyr

179 Votes (15.35%)

Ms Muvhango Lukhaimane

106 Votes (9.09%)

Prof Bongani Majola

54 Votes (4.63%)

Ms Busisiwe Mkhwebane

52 Votes (4.46%)

Adv Kevin Malunga

40 Votes (3.43%)

Ms Jill Oliphant

18 Votes (1.54%)

Judge Sirajudien Desai

17 Votes (1.46%)

Adv Madibeng Mokoditwa

3 Votes (0.26%)

Adv Nonkosi Cetywayo

3 Votes (0.26%)

Adv Mamiki Goodman

2 Votes (0.17%)

Adv Mhlaliseni Mthembu

1 Vote (0.09%)

To vote for your choice, you can go to the Corruption Watch website.


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