The public has been urged through a campaign organized by Corruption Watch to partake heavily in choosing who becomes the next public protector as Thuli Madonsela vacates the seat in October this year.
In a move to sensitize the public on what role they have in producing the next Public Protector, public advocacy NGO Corruption Watch launched a campaign, Bua Mzansi. According to the Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis, people appointed to such important Chapter Nine institutions ought be answerable to citizens.
“In the past, public participation has not characterized the appointments of public protectors,” Lewis said this at the Constitution Hill at the launch of the campaign.
There, Lewis called on civil society as well as the broader public to recommend candidates of their choice and in accordance to the constitution, in terms of the current process.
“We hope that this campaign will generate a public debate on the most effective and democratic method of appointing the leaders of all Chapter Nine institutions and other key posts that require independence,” Lewis said pointing that as Bua Mzansi aims at ensuring that every step of the appointment process takes place in the public spotlight to safeguard the independence and integrity of the Office of the Public Protector.
The president is vested with the right to appoints the public protector based on the recommendations made by the National Assembly, which in turn will create an ad-hoc committee composed of political party representatives who undertake the selection and interviewing process.
When Parliament makes the call for applications in April or thereabouts, Corruption Watch will inform the public about the prospective candidates and questions for those who applied for the post will be sent by the public after which nominees will be shortlisted and subjected to public interviews,and the members of the parliament will vote in the National Assembly on a recommended candidate, who must get 60% of parliamentarians’ votes. The president will then make the final appointment based on who the members of the parliament chose.
Meanwhile, the campaign project manager Kavisha Pillay explained some ways South Africans can actively participate in the processes of nomination, interviewing and eventual appointment. Among the ways is the use of an app which will be downloaded on phones to enable people participate in a crowd vote.
“We want to start a crowd voting application that people can download on their smartphones. There will be roadshows in four provinces, reaching people who may not have access to the internet, to implement mobile electronic voting polls,” said Pillay.
“We are working with new technologies for public participation. When parliament votes, so should the public.” he said.
Miss Madonsela has been praised for representing the public well all through her tenure in office. She has a number of reports on public sector corruption among which is Secure in Comfort – a report that saw her attacked and even labelled a foreign spy – which was released in 2014.
The EFF among others, are optimistic that the whoever succeeds Ms Madonsela would do the job with the same level of vigour and momentum.