Speech on Consideration of Recommendation of a person for appointment as Public Protector
Speech by ACDP MP, Steve Swart

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

ACDP withholds support for Adv Kholeka Gcaleka as Public Protector

Oct 19, 2023

“Speaker,

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said of the Public Protector that “she is the embodiment of the biblical David, that the public is, who fights the Goliath, that impropriety and corruption by government officials are. The Public Protector is one of the true crusaders and champions of anti-corruption and clean governance…. Her investigative powers are not supposed to bow down to anybody, not even the door of the highest chambers of raw state power.”

The Constitutional Court found not only that former President Zuma was in breach of his constitutional duties in not enforcing the Public Protector’s remedial action, but more significantly, Parliament was found to have failed to hold the President accountable and thus breached its constitutional duties. This judgment remains a serious indictment against Parliament, and we cannot afford to make similar mistakes when exercising our oversight functions or when appointing a new public protector. The ACDP has severe reservations about Adv. Gcaleka’s independence. This follows her finding in June that the allegations that President Ramaphosa had acted in a manner inconsistent with his office in his response to the burglary at his game farm “could not be sustained”.  She also found that there was no evidence that Ramaphosa was involved in the day-to-day running of the farm, or that he received any remuneration from the farm (30 June 2023).

Her finding flies directly in the face of the findings and recommendations of the section 89 Independent Panel, chaired by former Chief Justice Ncgobo. The Panel found that there was prima facie evidence that President Ramaphosa may have committed a serious violation of the Constitution by committing a range of crimes as well as serious misconduct inconsistent with his oath of office (over the alleged cover up of the theft of millions of rands hidden in a sofa on his game farm). We repeat that Chief Justice Mogoeng stated that “Her investigative powers are not supposed to bow down to anybody, not even the door of the highest chambers of raw state power.” This includes President Ramaphosa.

The ACDP regrets that it supported the appointment of Adv. Mkhwebane. We will not make the same mistake again and will not support this appointment. We trust, however, that Adv. Gcaleka will prove us wrong. While we are speaking about the Biblical David, I would urge members to pray for the peace of Jerusalem at this time. Our hearts go out to all the innocent civilians who have died and who are injured both in Israel and Gaza, particularly those who were savagely butchered and murdered by Hamas, including babies, young people, and the elderly, including a 65-year-old South African granny.  No country would allow these unspeakable atrocities to go unanswered and would do everything in its power to save the innocent hostages. These atrocities must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The hostages in Gaza, which include various nationalities, and vulnerable women and children, must be released immediately.

Am Israel Chai.

I thank you.”

-ENDS-

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