National Assembly endorses Busisiwe Mkhwebane as new Public Protector

The Democratic Alliance was the only party to not vote in favour of Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

A screengrab of Busisiwe Mkhwebane being interviewed in Parliament

JOHANNESBURG - Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is one step closer to becoming South Africa's next Public Protector.

Members of Parliament have voted on recommending her name to President Jacob Zuma, who makes the final appointment.

Thuli Madonsela's term expires next month.

House chairperson Cedric Frolick announced the results of the voting a short while ago.

"The nomination of Advocate Busisiwe Joyce Mkhwebane is accordingly agreed to. The recommendation will now be forwarded to the President for consideration."

The Democratic Alliance (DA) was the only party to object the recommendation.

Cope abstained, saying there were unanswered questions hanging over Mkhwebane.

"Advocate Madonsela leaves very big shoes to be filled. There are questions hanging over advocate Mkhwebane's head that have not been explained, if they can be explained at all."

Yesterday, the DA claimed reliable sources had informed the party that Mkhwebane was on the State Security Agency's payroll during the four years she spent in China as director for refugee affairs at South Africa's Embassy there.

Today's vote began with committee chairperson, Makhosi Khoza recapping the process of shortlisting candidates, where marathon interviews of 14 candidates ran into the early hours of the morning.

"The public interest in this process was unparalleled. Our tabling for the consideration by this house stems not only from the ad-hoc committee deliberations, but from the members of the public who made it clear who they wanted."

Khoza commended the shortlisting of eight women, saying they were selected on merit and not solely for their gender.

Sixty percent of Members of Parliament in the National Assembly needed to endorse Mkhwebane's name before it's sent to President Zuma, who makes the final appointment.

The DA's Glynnis Breytenbach earlier said her party could not support Mkhwebane because she has little practical experience as compared to other candidates.

Floyd Shivambu of the Economic Freedom Fighters said Mkhwebane performed better than most candidates and is aware of the importance of the independence of her office.

In direct contrast to the DA's argument, Shivambu said his party was confident the advocate would hit the ground running and open her office to the public.

Two-hundred and sixty-three Members of Parliament voted in favour of Mkhwebane , while 79 voted against the recommendation. There was one abstention.

The Congress of the People opted to abstain from the vote, while the Inkatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front Plus and African Independent Congress were among the parties who voted in support of Advocate Thuli Madonsela's successor.