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ANC makes the same mistake with Public Protector (PP)

The appointment of Kholeka Gcaleka as the new Public Protector (PP) demonstrates that the ANC does not learn from its past mistakes. Gcaleka is not the right candidate for this extremely important position.

The Office of the Public Protector is of the utmost importance for maintaining South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

The PP, in effect, functions as the fourth pillar of government and is supposed to act as watchdog over the executive authority. The legitimacy of government, therefore, depends on having a functional, independent and impartial PP.

During the appointment process, the ANC constantly focussed on one requirement, namely that the candidate should be deemed fit and appropriate. It is indeed important and one important related factor is having a clean record regarding misconduct.

In the process, the ANC overlooked a very important requirement that applies to all Chapter 9 Institutions, namely impartiality. Courts have ruled in the past that perception forms part of the test for impartiality.

Gcaleka fails this test in spectacular manner. Not only because the Phala Phala report found in favour of President Cyril Ramaphosa, but particularly also because of her membership of the ANC.

To make matters even worse, she worked closely with the controversial Malusi Gigaba, a convicted woman beater and dishonoured minister of several portfolios.

During this time, Gcaleka witnessed the worst state capture in the country’s history, which was carefully orchestrated by the Guptas.

There should not even be a hint of partiality connected to the Office of the PP. Neither a possible perception of it. So, the Office of the PP simply cannot afford yet another political appointment.

History seems to be repeating itself as seven years ago the party also warned against the appointment of Busisiwe Mkhwebane as PP. The ANC did not want to heed the warning then either and today Mkhwebane sits among the EFF, donning a red overall.

Government is thinking only of itself, at the expense of the people of South Africa. The time has come to reclaim the country and its constitutional democracy.

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