Ahead of Wednesday’s debate on the nomination of Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane for the position of Public Protector, the DA has indicated it intended to oppose the recommendation for her to take over from Advocate Thuli Madonsela, whose terms ends in October.
“… The DA has decided to not support this nomination,” MP Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach said.
“This is on the grounds that her appointment would be unreasonable, as she was by no means the best candidate for such a position and was illogically preferred over other qualifying candidates.”
She added while Mkhwebane “may turn out to be a capable candidate for the position”, and the party wished her well “if Parliament and the president confirmed her nomination”, “her qualifications and experience make her unsuitable for this position”.
“It is upon this basis that the DA will not support her nomination by the ad hoc committee for the appointment of a new Public Protector…,” said Breytenbach.
The DA has taken issue with Mkhwebane on the following points:
• “She has little or no practical experience to justify such an appointment when compared with the experience of the other four candidates.”
• “She was employed by Home Affairs as a Director (salary level approximately R1 million annually) immediately prior to this process being initiated.”
• “She changed employment around June 2016, and went to State Security Agency (SSA) as an analyst.”
• “When asked in the interview why she had changed jobs for what is ostensibly a demotion, her reply was that she ‘was passionate about the Constitution’.”
• “(And) while this is noble value to hold, it alone does not make her eligible for the position or separate her from the other more qualified candidates.”
Breytenbach said the party was also advised that her time spent as an immigration officer in China is “also suspicious, having been informed that this is simply coded language for being on the payroll of SSA”.
“In the absence of a logical explanation for what is seen as a demotion, the ineluctable conclusion is unfortunately that Advocate Mkhwebane is on the payroll of the SSA,” Breytenbach charged.
“This situation is even more problematic in the current climate in the country, where the justified view is held that President Jacob Zuma is abusing state departments, the SSA in particular, to hang on to power at all costs.
“We hold the view that the public protector cannot be seen as even remotely connected to the State Security Agency.
“While this doesn’t make Advocate Mkhwebane the worst candidate, it does not make her the best either.”
In this regard, the DA held the view that Judge Sharise Weiner had the best interview, but that Professor Bongani Majola was the best candidate.
“We would be very comfortable nominating him for the post.
“To replace the fearless Advocate Madonsela with a candidate who hasn’t shown the necessary potential to pursue government corruption would be undermining our hard-won constitutional imperatives.”