National 24.8.2016 01:57 pm

Mkhwebane nominated for public protector position

Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Jaco Marais)

Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Jaco Marais)

AS IT HAPPENED: Advocate Busisiswe Mkhwebane will be recommended to the National Assembly for appointment as South Africa’s next Public Protector.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane has trumped the other four candidates shortlisted to fill the shoes of Thuli Madonsela.

Mkhwebane, a director in the department of home affairs and former senior investigator in the office of the public protector, will be recommended as the name to be put forward to the National Assembly as soon as next week.

Only the Democratic Alliance raised its objection to the nomination.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said Mkhwebane had been “found wanting”.

Her relationship with President Jacob Zuma also disturbed her.

Fellow DA MP Phumzile Van Damme said Mkhwebane did not have enough experience.

“She practised for two years [in court]. If we’re going to be fair… she’s a civil servant, she’s not a lawyer,” she said.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart argued that Mkhwebane was “probably the candidate that had the broadest consensus across political lines”.

Despite her relationship to Zuma, the EFF supported her post.

“Let’s take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Mkhwebane on her imminent position as the public protector,” said MP Floyd Shivambu.

“She must truly be a biblical David,” he added, possibly referring to her duty to take government to task.

Westerb Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai, who was considered a frontrunner for the position, was cast out of the race.

The EFF and DA vehemently challenged the judge’s ability to keep a level head under pressure.

This was after he lashed out at committee members during his interview after questions were raised about a past rape charge against him and his alleged bias in favour of the ANC when delivering judgments.

EFF leader Julius Malema said the issue of rape was a very difficult one in society.

“A man who has no opinion about rape culture in society… [Are we] willing to have a public protector who has no opinion about rape?

“He’s supposed to be a man of honour. His temper – if anything to go by – he’s got nothing to offer,” Malema said.

Mkhwebane needs a 60% vote to take over from Madonsela when her term comes to an end in October.

With the support of all opposition parties bar the DA, this is likely.

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4:15 All committee members, except the DA, agree that Mkhwebane will be the person who will be tabled before parliament as the most capable candidate for the public protector position. And Mkhwebane it is!

4:05 Malema says the public protector’s office “is not a place to learn”. He says Majola didn’t participate in the fight against apartheid in Turfloop, Limpopo.

He didn’t see anything wrong with apartheid, said Malema.

3:57 Breytenbach points to the fact that Majola was interviewed around 3am in the morning. She praises him for his international experience.

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3:51 Honourable Mncwabe says he’s the one who proposed Professor Majola’s “excellent CV”.  But he doesn’t like the fact that Majola declined his public protector nomination.

I still stand by Mkhwebane.

3:47 Shivambu says Professor Majola’s fundraising ideas “must fall”. “He was not familiar with the office of the public protector,” says Shivambu.

3:44 Now they are discussing Professor Majola.

3:43 Breytenbach says although Lukhaimane had a good interview, she however lacks experience in practicing law.

3:41 Breytenbach says Lukhaimane and Mkhwebane look “remarkably alike”.

3:39 Shivambu believes Lukhaimane would do better as a deputy to Mkhwebane.

3:35 Next on the hotseat is Adv Muvhango Lukhaimane.

Lukhaimane is adjudicator of the government’s pension fund. She has a B Juris degree from the University of Venda, an LLB from the University of Pretoria, an LLM from Unisa and a MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has worked at Eskom’s pension and provident fund, as well as at Sanlam. Between 2005 and 2012 she held various positions in the state security department.

3:32 The committee goes on a two minutes break.

3:30 Shivambu says Mkhwebane is experienced. “Let’s appoint her as a public protector,” said Shivambu.

3:28 Shivambu says “we need more judgment” on resources which were stolen in the municipalities.

3:23 Breytenbach says Mkhwebane’s connection to Zuma concerns her.

3:20 Honourable Breytenbach doesn’t approve of Mkhwebane, citing that she doesn’t have managerial experience.

3:18 Honourable Mcunu also believes Mkhwebane is a right candidate because she’s “grounded and ethical”.

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3:16 However, he endorses her, on the basis that, if appointed, she’ll work beyond Zuma’s term as president. “We must recommend her.”

3:14 Malema says he was happy about Mkhwebane until he heard she was Zuma’s “preferred candidate.”

3:02 One committee member causes a stir when she says Mkhwebane “was the best among the women”.

3:01 All committee member agree she’s been the best of all

2:57 Mkhwebane is also the youngest of all the candidates for the public protector position.

2:54 Busisiwe Mkhwebane is being proposed as the new public protector because of her “impressive CV” and “because she’s a woman”.

2:53 Honourable Mncwabe thinks Judge Weiner is the right candidate.

2:49 Shivambu praises Madonsela for the Nkandla case, a skills he thinks Judge Desai lacks.

2:48 EFF’s Floyd Shivambu says Judge Desai’s “bad temper” is a matter of concern

2:47 DA says Judge Desai has a lot of work that he still needs to do as a judge. This will some how hamper him from doing his job as an “excellent judge”.

2:44 The DA argue Judge Desai is not a “consensus candidate”, looking at his “bad temper”.

2:37 “We had a successful female public protector,” says Malema, who argues that we can not replace a female public protector with a male public protector.

2:37 He adds that Judge Desai has no respect for the poor.

2:35 Malema says Judge Desai failed to answer a question on “rape culture” in South Africa.

2:31 Honourable Mayisela argues that Judge Desai is more experienced and should get the post. He attributes his “bad temper” on the “evil system” of apartheid.

2:27 “We can’t discriminate against someone on the bases on their health,” says an ad hoc committee member.

2:27 Judge Breytenbach believes Desai is arrogant, a puppet, and too emotional, and has a “history of poor governance”.

2:23 Honourable Masondo says “the bias towards the poor is imperative”. He says Judge Desai is a candidate worth the position because “he’s not a yes-man”.

Judge Sharise Weiner is out of the running for the position of public protector.

With the exemption of the Democratic Alliance, the ANC and opposition parties said she had done an excellent job as a judge with five years on the bench, she was better suited to stay where she was.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said Weiner had an “excellent” interview and was “by far the outstanding candidate of the crowd”.

ANC MP Nic Koornhof said it was better for Weiner to stay on the bench “for the time being” while EFF MP Floyd Shivambu said the person to fill incumbent Thuli Madonsela’s seat should be able to hit the ground running.

The ACDP agreed with the EFF.

“She is an excellent candidate. But we [the ACDP] Supports the EFF that she should hit the ground running,” he said, adding that Weiner had ongoing cases that still had to be heard and wouldn’t be able to fill the position immediately. – Denise Williams

2:21 He adds that black women suffer “triple oppression”. He agrees that, on that basis, Judge Weiner should be ignored.

2:20 Malema says if they were confronted by a situation where there a two qualified females, one white and the other black, a black woman should be considered.

2:16 Malema “says you cannot afford to remove a female judge”. He says we cannot remove women on the bench.

2:16 Honourable Msimang says his fellow committee has said a mouthful, however he wants to put it on his own angle. He argues Judge Weiner is not suitable for the job because her experience is shallow, considering that she’s only an expert on corporate law.

2:15 “We need someone who has empathy for the downtrodden,” says an ad hoc committee member.

2:11 Honourable Mayisela argues that “judge apply law” and that they are not “social reformers”. They just apply the law as taught at school.

Five people have been shortlisted for the top job: Bongani Majola, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, judges Sharise Weiner and Siraj Desai and pension funds adjudicator Muvhango Lukhaimane.

READ MORE: Public protector shortlist down to five



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