Corruption Watch has today launched an awareness campaign to highlight the need for greater transparency, merit-based criteria and public participation in the appointment of key leadership positions, most notably in the anti-corruption institutions that constitute the pillars of our democracy. During 2019 and 2020, three of these institutions will require new leaders, namely the executive director of Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the deputy public protector and the auditor-general.
The announcement yesterday by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, calling for public comment on the list of 28 candidates nominated for the position of deputy public protector, heightens the focus on this critical appointment. The seven-year term of the current incumbent, Advocate Kevin Malunga, ends in December 2019. One of the primary objectives of this Corruption Watch campaign is to ensure that his replacement is appointed in a transparent way that allows for public participation and public influence. The opportunity for members of the public to review the CVs of candidates is an important step in the process of influencing the calibre of leaders appointed to key institutions.
In support of this, Corruption Watch has launched a survey to solicit public opinion about the types of qualifications, skills and experience that the new office-holder should possess. The results of this survey will be shared with parliament to communicate public sentiment about the attributes they believe the next candidate should embody. The organisation calls on members of the public to add their voices to this important process.
This campaign builds on Corruption Watch’s previous work lobbying for greater transparency, the need for leaders to be assessed against clear merit-based criteria, and for opportunities for public participation and engagement to be made available. In this instance, the organisation will call for proper vetting processes of candidates, ensuring that they are qualified and suited for the position, and that the proceedings are conducted in the public spotlight.
The recent submission by Corruption Watch and the Institute for Security Studies to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture (Zondo Commission) highlighted how, in the absence of public scrutiny and transparency, appointments of unsuitable leaders to key crime and corruption fighting institutions resulted in the capture of these agencies.
Corruption Watch urges the public to join in the process of appointing the new deputy public protector by taking the survey, as well as sending Parliament your comments / objections to the 28 candidates currently awaiting short listing.