The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) showed rare agreement on Tuesday in parliament over the African National Congress (ANC) nominating Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka for the role of deputy public protector.
With the governing party enjoying a majority in parliament, its likely Gcaleka will be the one to replace Kevin Malunga as Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s second-in-command.
The DA’s Glynnis Breytenbach and EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi both had strong objections about Gcaleka being chosen by the ANC, as she was legal adviser to former minister Malusi Gigaba, continuing to work for him after he was found guilty of lying under oath.
“Why would any self-respecting lawyer continue to associate with a man who had lied under oath?” asked Breytenbach.
Ndlozi questioned the choice of someone who “saw no ethical contradictions with having worked for someone who lies under oath”.
He asked why the justice committee, tasked with facilitating the choice of new deputy public protector, “bothered with people with questionable records” when better candidates were available.
Both the DA and EFF are also in agreement over who would be a better choice – with both Breytenbach and Ndlozi nominating Sars attorney Moshoeshoe Moshoeshoe.
Breytenbach said Moshoeshoe had the right “demeanour” needed for the position, while Ndlozi that said while he was known not to be a supporter of Sars, Moshoeshoe came out the best during the interviews and had the necessary experience for the position.
On Tuesday, the justice committee also ruled that both director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba and specialised commercial crimes unit boss Lawrence Mrwebi will not return to their positions at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), upholding their sacking by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April.
Mrwebi had written a letter to the committee on October 31, asking for an opportunity to be heard with his legal counsel. In the letter, Mrwebi expressed the view that Ramaphosa was not empowered to institute the inquiry which led to his dismissal.
This argument was dismissed, and only one MP wanted to give Mrwebi the chance he was asking for to address the committee – Ndlozi.
“How can a parliament of the people say I won’t hear someone who is asking to be heard. This is a parliament of the people, Mrwebi is the people,” the EFF spokesperson said.
Several MPs pointed out Mrwebi had ample opportunity to communicate with the committee and that their process was fair.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, News24 Wire)