Important bastion of democracy

Rozario Brown, Mouille Point

The appointment of the next public protector carries momentous implications for the integrity of our democratic institutions and the faith citizens place in them.

Hence, the matter requires a meticulous regard for propriety and legal acumen.

It is with profound concern that I note Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka’s made it on to the shortlist for the role. In recent public interviews, Advocate Gcaleka has manifested lapses in her understanding of elemental legal principles – discrepancies that are nothing short of disconcerting for a role that is pivotal to safe-guarding the rule of law.

Further exacerbating these reservations is the fact that Advocate Gcaleka has recently cleared President Cyril Ramaphosa in her Phala-Phala investigations. Should the president proceed with her appointment, it would not only incite concerns over the integrity of the process but may also be construed as a quid pro quo, thereby undermining public confidence in both the Office of the Public Protector and the Presidency.

Precedence in this matter is also instructive. Recall the legal contention surrounding former President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of the judge to lead the “State Capture Commission”, which led to a judicial intervention mandating the deputy president to oversee the appointment. It would be judicious for the current president to voluntarily recuse himself from the selection process to preclude any perception of bias or impropriety.

Given the gravity of the situation, it is incumbent upon those vested with the power of appointment to ensure that the chosen candidate embodies impeccable legal acumen, unwavering ethical standards, and an untarnished reputation.

Such measures are essential to ensure that the Office of the Public Protector remains an unimpeachable bastion of justice and equity.