Recommendation of Adv Gcaleka for PP rejected – EFF

Fighters say committee is being irrational and nonsensical

EFF statement on the Ad Hoc Committee to nominate a person for appointment as Public Protector

29 August 2023

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) rejects, with contempt, the decision of the "Ad Hoc Committee to Nominate a Person for Appointment as Public Protector" to recommend to the National Assembly the name of Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka. The recommendation is irrational and nonsensical.

The EFF remains steadfast in its commitment to a transparent and credible appointment process for the Office of the Public Protector. As one of South Africa's pivotal Chapter 9 institutions, this office requires a leader who can be both impartial and decisive.

Our evaluation of various candidates throughout the interview process has led us to one conclusion: the candidate recommended by the Ad Hoc Committee falls significantly short of our expectations and requirements for this position.

We must focus on the disconcerting irregularities and evident conflicts of interest surrounding the candidate recommended by the Committee. This individual exhibited a serious lapse in ethical judgment in the performance of her official duties, particularly in the case involving Phala Phala.

Advocate Gcaleka's role in an investigation that directly implicates Cyril Ramaphosa is questionable, given the potential for it to impact her future in the Office of the Public Protector.

The conclusion she reached in this case, despite contrary evidence, points to a compromised sense of objectivity and fairness.

The candidate's public statements further erode our confidence in her suitability for the role.

She publicly asserted that she had compelling evidence, including a receipt of sale and affidavits, to support her findings in the aforementioned investigation. Yet, her own report contradicts these claims, especially when viewed in light of statements by the South African Reserve Bank that dispute the existence of any such transaction.

Additionally, during her interview for the position of Deputy Public Protector, she displayed a glaring ethical blind spot, stating that she saw no issue in collaborating with individuals found to have been dishonest.

All of this does more than cast a shadow over her; it questions her integrity and the credibility of the office she aspires to lead. To proceed with her appointment would be to perpetuate a facade of integrity, one that even members of the ruling party should question.

These issues do more than just cast a shadow over her candidacy, they undermine the very core of what the Office of the Public Protector should stand for. This is not merely about one candidate's qualifications or lack thereof, it is about the integrity of an institution tasked with defending the public interest.

Appointing a candidate with such conflicts would not give the Office of the Public Protector the fresh start it so desperately needs. It would be a disservice to the institution and to the people of South Africa.

Other candidates presented their own set of shortcomings, ranging from lack of conviction on significant issues to an evident disconnection from current affairs. Some appeared more comfortable in academia or the private sector, far removed from the grassroots concerns that the Office of the Public Protector should address.

In light of these observations, we vehemently reject the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendation and call upon the National Assembly to consider the gravity of this appointment. We need a Public Protector who can stand as a beacon of integrity, fairness, and justice; one who is truly accountable to the people of South Africa and not to political or personal interests. We urge all concerned parties to do the right thing for the betterment of our democracy and not be driven by narrow partisan attitudes.

Issued by Sinawo Thambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 29 August 2023