The Justice and Correctional Services Committee has called for applications for the position of deputy public protector, with members of the public invited to nominate a candidate they deemed suitable.
This as Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga’s seven-year term draws to a close on December 9. MPs in parliament have the power to appoint him to a second term.
Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said, however, that if Malunga wants to be considered for this second term he needs to apply or be nominated.
“The committee has opened the process of nominations and applications for a Deputy Public Protector to all interested individuals that qualify for the position, as is required to after the completion of a term.
“Should the current Deputy Public Protector apply or be nominated for the position, he will be considered by the committee like any other applicant/nominee,” he said.
On June 12, National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise sent Ramaphosa a letter reminding him that that Malunga’s term of office would expire towards the end of the year.
Malunga’s term has not been without controversy, with The Citizen correctly predicting in 2016 that he would not replace Thuli Madonsela as the public protector for a variety of reasons.
These controversies included his public disagreement with Madonsela in parliament; his axing as a lecturer at Wits Law School after he was unsuccessful at having his work published by a recognised journal; a drunk driving charge; and comments on the judiciary which some interpreted as being politically motivated, after he commented on former President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of Sandile Ngcobo as chief justice over Dikgang Moseneke in 2009, saying the appointment showed “law and politics can never be separated”.
Malunga made the news after he was seen to have again expressed disagreement with the public protector in July this year, this time Madonsela’s successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
“There are a lot of things I think the office has gotten wrong,” Malunga said at the time on eNCA, giving as an example a lack of communication, as he said he “didn’t know anything” about Mkhwebane’s Absa/Bankorp report, which was later overturned.