The search for a new public defender is in full swing as the names of the 38 legal practitioners who applied to fill the position or were nominated in Parliament were revealed last week on 12 July.
legal experts said Daily Maverick That the right candidate for the position must understand The rule of law and giving priority to the public.
Black Lawyers Association President Paith Mswazi says the next public defender must be committed to and understand the rule of law.
Parliament must choose the best possible candidate. They have the right to do so because the majority will determine who is appointed.”
The Law Association of South Africa said that before the candidate could also be considered Must hold a Certificate of Good Conduct from the Legal Practice Council (LPC), as the statutory regulator for legal practitioners.
“All applicants shall be treated fairly without fear, favoritism or prejudice, and the person appointed shall be the candidate who is believed to have the best potential to fill this important office as a competent supporter of the Constitution and the rule of law, placing the constitutional mandate first above all other tasks or pressures, According to the syndicate.
Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos said that as well as having all the required qualifications and good moral standing, the appointed public defender must also have an understanding of the South African social, political and economic context, and be aware of the struggles and hardships faced by marginalized and poor people in particular .
“Learning from past experience, it is essential that a new PP be honest, incorruptible, competent, knowledgeable about the law, fair but brave, independent and scrupulously impartial. This means that it is best not to consider most or perhaps all of the candidates closely associated with any political party,” de Vos said. Commitment to human rights, social justice and respect for the rule of law are also important.
Familiar faces on the run
Among those vying for the position are Acting Public Defender Julika Jkalka, Former South Australian Human Rights Commission Chair Buang Jones, Former South African Human Rights Commission Chief Executive Tsilisu Thebanian and Numbolelo Beauchamp.
Gcaleka received the most nominations out of 38 potential contenders.
Other well-known legal figures who declined the nomination included lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, preacher Dali Mpofu, DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach and former Public Defender Thuli Madonsela.
According to Article 183 of the Constitution, the Public Defender is appointed for a non-renewable term of seven years. Suspended Public Defender Busisiwe Mkhwebani’s term will expire in October, which led to this A special parliamentary committee begins the process of appointing its successor.
The Ad Hoc Committee is proportionately composed of members of all parties in Parliament. Once her recommendation has been made, the nomination must be approved by Parliament by a resolution which is passed with the approval of at least 60% of the members.
The appointment of a new public defender comes amid a row over Mkhoebani’s suspension. On Thursday, 13 July, the Constitutional Court issued a ruling that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to suspend Mkhoebani was valid.
Mkhoebani argued that Ramaphosa was biased against her by the impeachment inquiry, but the Constitutional Court ruled that the evidence did not show that he had acted in a biased manner.
Read more at The Daily Maverick: Concourt says there is no bias in Ramaphosa’s comment to Mkwebani
In June 2022, Mkhoebani was stopped by Ramaphosa According to Section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution, which states that the president may suspend the public defender (or any member of a Chapter 9 institution) “at any time after proceedings have been initiated by a national assembly committee for [their] Removal”.
This was a month before Mkhuebani was due to face impeachment inquiry under Article 194 of the National Assembly. When she was suspended, Mkhwebani was about to investigate allegations against Ramaphosa of the theft of money from his home. Vala Vala farm.
Since then, Gcaleka has been at the helm of the Chapter 9 Foundation. She already has I faced a backlash For her reporting on the Vala Vala case where many accused her of being a supporter of Ramaphosa.
The report, released by the Acting Public Defender on Friday, June 30, 2023, considered allegations that there was a risk of a conflict of interest between the President’s constitutional duties, obligations, and private interests arising from or affected by his alleged payment. Working on a Vala Vala farm. It found the allegations unfounded.
The report stated that evidence presented by DA leader John Steinhausen that Ramaphosa abused his position of authority in connection with the use of state resources to investigate the home invasion crime at the ranch was not substantiated.
In her recommendations, Jkalka said Police Minister Beki Seely should take note of the findings of mismanagement and improper conduct against SAPS in relation to the allegation that SAPS members attached to the Presidential Protection Service acted improperly by investigating the crime of housebreaking, intent to burglary and theft that occurred in Farm, “in keeping with the power vested in the Minister of Police, by Section 206 of the Constitution.” DM