Ex-Gigaba adviser Gcaleka set to become deputy public protector

A screengrab of advocate Kholeka Gcaleka during her interview in Parliament on 13 November 2019 for the deputy Public Protector position.
A screengrab of advocate Kholeka Gcaleka during her interview in Parliament on 13 November 2019 for the deputy Public Protector position.
Image: YouTube

Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka is set to become SA’s next deputy public protector.

Gcaleka was nominated by the ANC during a heated meeting of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on justice.

The nomination will be tabled at a sitting of the assembly next week for approval before it is sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ who is the appointing authority.

Gcaleka was nominated  despite the objections of opposition MPs, who pointed out that she was former finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s adviser when he was found to have lied under oath during the Fireblade Aviation case.

She was also reputed, during her tenure at the National Prosecuting Authority, of being a supporter of controversial former NPA head Menzi Simelane, who allegedly said he was at the NPA to implement the decisions of the ruling party.

Nominating Gcaleka‚ ANC MP Hishaam Mohamed said many of the candidates interviewed by the committee were not able to answer questions on due process, possibly due to nerves.

“Only one candidate came nearest to that — the candidate has a legal background‚ has been dealing with trial procedure through criminal trials‚ has been involved in investigative nature of work and has been exposed to the criminal justice system as a whole,” Mohamed said.

“I am obviously referring to advocate Kholeka Gcaleka‚ who very clearly was ahead of any other candidate.”

He said Gcaleka was confident and experienced for what was required as the deputy public protector.

He said the only issues that came up during her interview was that she worked with the previous finance minister and that there were certain views about that which he dismissed as “not factual”.

“We can only objectively and rationally judge the candidate that is in front of us based on what is on the record and what we could find in terms of investigation this committee has done.

“And nothing disqualifies this particular candidate‚” Mohamed said.

All the ANC MPs in the committee voiced their support for Gcaleka, rejecting claims by opposition MPs that she was not ethically fit for the job.

Gcaleka was a senior deputy director of public prosecutions at the NPA for five years between 2011 and 2016.

She worked as Gigaba’s legal adviser in the last two portfolios he held before he  resigned from the cabinet in 2018.

The DA and the EFF objected to Gcaleka's nomination and instead nominated Moshoeshoe Moshoeshoe‚ an attorney at Sars‚ for the job.

They argued that, as Gigaba’s legal adviser, Gcaleka must have played a role in‚ or at least knew about‚ him lying under oath.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said: “Why would any self-respecting lawyer continue to associate with a man who had lied under oath?”

On Gcaleka’s tenure at the NPA, Breytenbach, herself a former senior prosecutor, said: “She did nothing to fight for prosecutorial independence. She did nothing to ensure that prosecutions were done without fear‚ favour or prejudice.” TimesLIVE


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