Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been nominated as South Africa’s next public protector.
She will now be recommended to the National Assembly for a final decision.
Mkhwebane won the support of all political parties, with the exception of the Democratic Alliance (DA), on the ad hoc committee charged with selecting a candidate to succeed Thuli Madonsela as the head of the watchdog entity.
She gained ground after opposition parties argued heatedly against the selection of Judge Siraj Desai, who they viewed as an African National Congress yes man.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said Mkhwebane became the ANC’s favoured candidate by default after Desai performed poorly in his interview earlier this month.
“She came in after he let them down,” Juju said, adding that the EFF believed Mkhwebane was a good choice for the job.
He warned it would be unwise to oppose her in knee-jerk fashion simply because she had the ruling party’s backing.
The Democratic Alliance, however, wasn’t convinced, especially since Mkhwebane had given up a high-ranking post at Home Affairs for the sake of the lesser job of public protector.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said that during her interview with the committee, Mkhwebane could not explain her reasoning behind this decision.
The early stages of the three-hour meeting to choose the nominee from a shortlist of five candidates was dominated by pleas from the opposition not to let the post go to Desai.
Breytenbach and EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu said it was of serious concern that Desai ducked the question when asked whether he believed President Jacob Zuma had done wrong in the Nkandla saga.
Malema said Desai’s failure to answer questions about the protest against rape culture staged as Zuma spoke at the election result centre in Pretoria earlier this month showed an insensitivity to the pain of rape victims.
And the way he had spoken to MPs bode ill for his ability to deal with ordinary citizens.
In the end, the committee came to a decision without needing to put the issue to a vote.
The committee will now submit a report to the National Assembly recommending Mkhwebane for appointment.