By Kirsten Pearson and Kavisha Pillay, GroundUp
Parliament has announced the shortlist of candidates for the position of new Public Protector (PO). One of the candidates looks like he may not meet the minimum requirements for the position, while another is the director of several companies and has possible conflicting interests, a study by Corruption Watch shows.
The eight candidates on the shortlist are: Adv. Kholeka Gcaleka, adv. Oliver Josie, magistrate Johanna Ledwaba, Muvhango Lukhaimane, adv. Lynn Marais, Prof. Boitumelo Mmusinyane, Adv. Tommy Ntsewa and Adv. Tseliso Thipanyane.
The long list contained the names of 38 candidates. Here is Corruption Watch’s finding on the eight shortlisted candidates.
Adv. Kholeka Gcaleka
Gcaleka is currently the acting OB after previously being deputy public protector. She has an LLB degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a master’s degree in Cyber Security Management and a master’s degree in Law. She previously worked as a state attorney and senior deputy director at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). She was also a special adviser to several ANC ministers in the Zuma and Ramaphosa administrations. Gcaleka fulfills the basic requirements for the position of OB. She was quoted in 2010 as saying there should be no concern about the then National Director of Public Prosecutions, Menzi Simelane’s plan to close the specialized commercial crime units and asset forfeiture unit. This led to controversy because at the time she was the chairperson of the Association of State Attorneys and her comments led to the resignation of two senior state attorneys.
In 2011, Gcaleka was appointed as the prosecutor in the high-profile case against Richard Mdluli. It also raised eyebrows because she was a prosecutor in the case against Glenn Agliotti. This case was struck off the roll because the state could not bring a prima facie case of murder against the accused. In 2017, a witness in the Mdluli case claimed that Gcaleka tried to persuade him to implicate Mdluli as one of the guilty parties. There were also allegations that the prosecution team tampered with the recording of the meeting between the witness and the lawyer.
In 2017, when Pres. When Jacob Zuma appointed Malusi Gigaba as finance minister, Gcaleka was appointed as his legal adviser. It was a controversial decision, given her 2010 comments of support for restructuring the criminal justice system.
Also in 2017, senior Treasury officials argued that the institution had been “hijacked”. They argued, among other things, that documents from a forensic audit by the then director-general, Dondo Mogajane – into Eskom’s coal contracts with a company previously owned by the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma – were only disclosed to Gigaba’s advisers, also Gcaleka, was sent. Apparently it was even before it was given to Mogajane.
Adv. Oliver Josie
Josie recently resigned as Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Competition Tribunal and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Water and Sanitation’s Audit and Risk Committee. Josie previously held executive level legal positions with the NPA, the police, the Standard Bank Group, the Cape Town Metro and the Department of Economic Development.
He has a BA in Politics, an LLB and BProc from Unisa. Josie also has a master’s degree in Law and Business Leadership from Unisa.
He fulfills the basic requirements for the position of OB.
Magistrate Johanna Ledwaba
Ledwaba is currently a magistrate and has a BA law degree and Bluris degree from Vista University. She also received additional legal training. Before she was appointed as a magistrate, Ledwaba worked primarily as a public prosecutor for the NPA, and most recently the asset forfeiture unit.
She meets the basic requirements to be eligible for the position.
Lukhaimane currently serves as acting judge in the Gauteng High Court and has held the position of pension fund judge since 2013. Her qualifications include a BAJuris, LLM in Labor Law, a postgraduate diploma in Business Studies, a postgraduate diploma in Financial Planning and an MBA. When her experience in public administration is taken into account, Lukhaimane meets the minimum requirements for the position.
Lukhaimane was also a leader in the search for a new OB in 2016 and was invited for an interview that year. However, there were concerns about the time she worked for the intelligence service.
Adv. Lynn Marais
Marais has a long career in the legal profession and has experience as an advocate, acting magistrate and various positions at Legal Aid South Africa and other law firms.
Marais meets the basic requirements for the position of OB when her accumulated experience in the profession is taken into account.
Prof. Boitumelo Mmusinyane
Mmusinyane has an LLD in “Comparative Right to Adequate Housing”, a diploma in Human Rights, an LLM with specialization in Human Rights, and an LLB. He has held various positions, including deputy director in the Faculty of Law, as a senior lecturer in Private Law and as an investigator at the office of the OB. Based on Corruption Watch’s analysis of the candidate’s CV, the conclusion is that he does not meet the minimum requirements of the position. This could possibly be due to an omission on his CV.
Adv. Tommy Ntsewa
Ntsewa is a lawyer who works for himself. He specializes in, among other things, corporate governance, personal injuries, contracts, labour, corporate law, the mining industry, criminal law, family law, constitutional and administrative law. He previously acted as legal advisor to the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Development and the office of the Limpopo Premier. He has an LLB and BIuris degree from the University of Lausanne.
He fulfills the basic requirements for the post of OB.
In 2009 he was asked to resign as chairman of the South African Geographical Place Names Council after a dispute over the renaming of an area.
Ntsewa is an active director of Mohlodi Holdings, Etland Media and Ventramax Trading. If he is appointed, there may be a conflict of interest. During the investigation and interview process it will therefore be important to determine in which operations the companies are involved. Do the companies do business with the state? Does he play an active role in the management of the companies? If he is appointed as OB, will he resign from the companies?
Adv. Tseliso Thipanyane
Thipanyane has an LLM in International Human Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Administrative Law from the University of the Western Cape, as well as an LLM in Corporate Law from the University of Johannesburg. He previously held several senior positions at Chapter 9 institutions, including the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Faith and Language Communities.
Thipanyane was named chief executive of the HRC in 2017 and served a term of five years. He is currently the chairman of the Southern African Institute for Responsive and Accountable Government, as well as the chief director for coordination in the office of the secretary general of the chief justice.
He meets the minimum requirements for the position of OB.
According to Cyril Xaba, chairman of the ad hoc committee to nominate a candidate for the position of OB, the next step in the process is a two-week screening process that starts on Tuesday and lasts until 18 August.
During this phase, all candidates’ suitability will be investigated and their references and qualifications will be checked.
After this, interviews are conducted with the candidates and the feedback is discussed.
The committee hopes to present its findings to the National Assembly by 31 August.
- This report was originally posted on GroundUp and is used with permission.