Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2002-07-31 Reporter: Angela Quintal and Sapa Editor:

Filling Baqwa's Big Shoes


Publication  Mail & Guardian
Date 2002-07-31
Reporter Angela Quintal and Sapa
Web Link


MPs have re-opened the process of finding a suitable successor for Public Protector Selby Baqwa, after only seven nominations were received for the key post.

Adverts calling for more nominations will be placed in Sunday newspapers for the next two weeks with a closing date of August 14, Parliament's ad hoc committee on the appointment of a public protector decided at Wednesday's meeting.

Baqwa's term ends on September 30 and he will join Nedcor as its head of corporate governance.

Committee chairman Johannes Mahlangu (ANC) stressed the post was one of the most important institutions supporting South Africa's constitutional democracy and should be filled by a South African citizen with the required qualifications.

ANC MP Connie September led the call for more nominations given the importance of the post.

"The ANC will call for more nominations ... so that we are afforded the opportunity to have quite a wide range of people that we can actually interview."

This was supported by the DA's Hendrik Schmidt who said his party had been alarmed at the number of nominations.

"We thought there would be more. It's a bit concerning, especially in the light of the high office that we have been limited to seven individuals.

However, this did not mean that the seven fell short, he said.

Among those who have already been nominated, include Eastern Cape lawyer Mpumelelo Nyoka, who earlier this year recused himself as the defence attorney for the accused in the Marike de Klerk murder trial.

Other contenders include the national director of the legal resources centre, Professor Bongani Christopher Majola; Vista University's Dean of Law, John Baloro; the University of the Transkei's Dean of Law Mzambo Gumbi; and senior advocate Ferdinand Gustav Preller.

Applications were also received from a Dr JH du Plessis of Pietermaritzburg and Durban lawyer Roshan Rai Dehal.

The seven would not have to be renominated, Mahlangu said.

The president on the recommendation of the National Assembly appoints the public protector for a non-renewable seven-year term.

Once more nominations are received the committee will short-list candidates and hold public interviews.

In terms of the Constitution, the public protector has the power to investigate any conduct in state affairs or in the public sphere of government that is alleged to be improper or which results in any impropriety or prejudice.

With acknowledgements to Angela Quintal, Sapa and Mail & Guardian.