National 16.8.2016 05:47 am

‘We had to grill protector candidates’

Ad hoc committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza. Picture: Gallo Images

Ad hoc committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza. Picture: Gallo Images

Committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza says the intention had never been to humiliate anyone, only ensuring a transparent process.

Parliament’s ad hoc committee tasked with nominating the next public protector says it was not its intention to “humiliate” any of the candidates vying for the role.

“Candidates who might have felt humiliated need to understand that was not the intention of this process, nor was it the intention of the committee, and, for that, we extended the committee’s unreserved apology,” said committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza.

She said the intention of the transparent nature of the process was to restore, promote and protect the integrity of parliament’s democratic processes.

Khoza’s comments follow Thursday’s marathon interview session of the 14 candidates on Thursday that was punctuated by aggressive questioning, defensive answering and the emergence of a security report questioning the citizenship of deputy public protector and candidate Kevin Malunga.

She thanked the “bravery” of the nominees, who willingly participated in the process, which attracted “immense” public scrutiny.

“These fellow countrymen and women respected the trust bestowed upon them by those who nominated them and we are grateful for that,” she said.

Khoza extended the committee’s gratitude to ordinary South Africans and members of the media and civil society for playing a “pivotal role” in helping the committee with its responsibility of finding a “fit and proper” public protector.

“Our work would have been more difficult had it not been for the active role played by our people, who heeded our call and participated in the nomination process, as well as the comments and objections process.

“We thank the media for ensuring the public was aware of the processes, and civil organisations that assisted us in profiling all the nominees and applicants. They, too, helped us a great deal,” said Khoza.

Explaining the shortlisted candidates, she said the rationale was to promote social cohesion in recognition of the “finest brains” of South African citizens and to ensure the nonsexist, nonracial and democratic constitutional character of South African society. She remained aware that the work of the committee was not yet over, but said it felt it necessary to thank those who played the role now, as opposed to thanking them at the end.

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