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By Citizen Reporter


Who will be the next Thuli? Candidates vie for public protector role

These eight shortlisted candidates have big shoes to fill after Thuli Madonsela put the public protector's office into the spotlight.

Following five years of Thuli Madonsela as the public protector who fought hard without fear or favour against entrenched corruption in South Africa, the country suffered a bruising time under Busisiwe Mkhwebane, whose term draws to an end soon.

Parliament has announced the shortlist of candidates and Corruption Watch’s head of stakeholder relations, Kirsten Pearson, and campaigns and project specialist Kavisha Pillay have looked at the eight candidates, which was published by GroundUp.

Public Protector candidates

They are:

  • the acting public protector, advocate Kholeka Gcaleka;
  • advocate Oliver Josie;
  • Johannah Ledwaba, who is a magistrate;
  • Muvhango Lukhaimane;
  • advocate Lynn Marais;
  • Professor Boitumelo Mmusinyane;
  • advocate Tommy Ntsewa;
  • and advocate Tseliso Thipanyane.

Gcaleka may be the frontrunner, but there are concerns about her clearing President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Phala Phala saga and the optics of her being appointed by him following this.

Here is Pearson’s and Pillay’s breakdown of the candidates, with their CVs available on GroundUp:

Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka

Gcaleka holds a bachelor of laws (LLB) degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a masters in cyber security governance and a masters in laws (LLM) from the University of Johannesburg.

She has previously worked as a state advocate and senior deputy director for the National Prosecuting Authority, and also served as a special advisor to several ANC ministers in the Zuma and Ramaphosa administrations.

In 2010, she was quoted as saying there should be no concern about then national director of public prosecutions, Menzi Simelane’s plan to close the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit and Asset Forfeiture Unit, among others.

This was controversial as she was chair of the Society of State Advocates at the time and her comments caused two senior state attorneys to resign.

In 2011, Gcaleka was appointed as the state prosecutor in the high-profile murder case against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

This also raised controversy as she had been a prosecutor in the case against underworld kingpin Glenn Agliotti, which was thrown out because the state had not brought a prima facie case of murder against the accused.

Advocate Oliver Josie

Josie recently resigned from his position as chief operating officer of the department of trade and industry and the Competition Commission’s tribunal.

He serves as a chair on the department of water and sanitation’s audit and risk committee.

Josie has previously worked in executive level legal positions in the NPA, the South African Police Service, the Standard Bank Group, City of Cape Town and department of economic development.

He holds a bachelor of politics, an LLB and B Proc degrees from the University of South Africa.

Josie also has masters degrees in law and business leadership from the University of South Africa.

Magistrate Johannah Ledwaba

Ledwaba is a magistrate and has a bachelor of laws and B Iuris degrees from Vista University. She received additional legal training at the Pretoria Law School.

Before becoming a magistrate, Ledwaba worked primarily as a prosecutor and state advocate for the NPA and, most recently, with the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Muvhango Lukhaimane

Lukhaimane serves as an acting judge in Gauteng and has occupied the position of pension funds adjudicator since 2013.

Her qualifications include a B Iuris, LLM in constitutional (labour law), postgraduate diploma in management studies, postgraduate diploma in financial planning and a master of business administration.

Lukhaimane was also a frontrunner in the 2016 public protector process. She interviewed very well in 2016.

However, the one concern which was raised in 2016 was her time in intelligence services.

Advocate Lynn Marais

Marais has an extensive career in the legal field, including experience as an advocate, an acting magistrate and various roles in Legal Aid South Africa and other legal practices.

Prof Boitumelo Mmusinyane

Mmusinyane holds an LLD on comparative right to adequate housing, a diploma in human rights, an LLM with specialisation in human rights, and an LLB.

He has held various roles, including deputy director in the faculty of law undergraduate studies, senior lecturer in private law and investigator at the office of the public protector.

Mmusinyane does not hold the necessary experience as required in Section 1A of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994 to be considered for the position of public protector.

This may be due to an omission on his CV.

Advocate Tommy Ntsewa

Ntsewa is a self-employed advocate specialising in corporate governance, personal injury, contract, labour, corporate, mining, criminal, family, constitutional and administrative law.

He previously served as legal advisor to the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs and the Limpopo premier’s office.

He holds LLB and B Iuris degrees from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Ntsewa is a director of Mohlodi Holdings, Etlang Media and Ventramax Trading.

If appointed, he may face a conflict of interest.

Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane

Thipanyane holds an LLM in international human rights, constitutional law, criminal justice and administrative law from the University of the Western Cape, and another LLM in corporate law from the University of Johannesburg.

He has occupied various senior positions in Chapter 9 bodies such as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.

In 2017, Thipanyane was appointed CEO of SAHRC and served a five-year term.

He is chair of the Southern African Institute for Responsive and Accountable Governance and the chief director for coordination in the office of the secretary-general of the chief justice.

The next stage in the appointment process is a two-week screening, from 1 to 18 August.

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