Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai has made the cut on the list of aspiring South African Public Protectors despite backlashes.
Desai was interviewed together with thirteen other aspiring candidates last week and finally made the cut by a slim margin despite backlashes from opposition.
The judge earned the endorsement of ANC MP Nic Koornhof; who praised him for exhibiting competency during his interview. In fact, Koornhof described Desai as fit and ideal for the job and said his interview as colourful.
However, a majority of Parliament members thought otherwise. The Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Phumzile van Damme expressed doubt over his competency to objectively handle cases and his worrying temperament.
Judge Siraj Desai’s Temper Questionable
EFF chief whip MP Floyd Shivambu argued that though Desai is a pre-eminent and distinguished judge; he is apparently unfit for the job of the Public Protector due to his lack of patience.
“I don’t think he should be considered at all. You need a person who will be patient with everyone on the job,” he said.
DA’s Glynnis Breytenbach recalled that “He had a poor interview; lost his temper and was abusive to MPs who were questioning him.”
During Desai’s interview in Parliament last week; he descended hardly on MPs when questions about Mumbai rape charges against him were exhumed.
Rape charges were laid against Judge Siraj Desai in 2004 after he was accused of raping a South African woman in Mumbai.
In response, he said: “Firstly, I was never acquitted. I was not convicted either. What happened was that the allegation against me was withdrawn under oath.”
When accused of changing the original version of the story; he flared up in the heat of the moment and insisted that “It’s an absolute lie that I changed my version; this engages in a great deal of speculation.”
Though he later apologized for letting loose his temper; EFF’s Shivambu slammed him for not being cool even in Parliament.
“I don’t think you have the temperament… Even now a Member of Parliament points to the rape allegation and you interject. I had expected far much better from a judge.”
Other candidates who made the list include; Sharise Weiner; Busisiwe Mkhwebane; Muvhango Lukhaimane and Bongani Majola.