Original Research

A critical appraisal of the recruitment and selection process of the Public Protector in South Africa

Sandiso Bazana, Tayra Reddy
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1207 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1207 | © 2021 Sandiso Bazana, Tayra Reddy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 April 2019 | Published: 22 January 2021

About the author(s)

Sandiso Bazana, Department of Psychology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Tayra Reddy, Department of Psychology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


Orientation: The process of recruitment and selection the Public Protector (PP) needs to ensure that the most ‘fit and proper’ candidate is appointed. The process needs critical scrutiny for such a fit and proper candidate to be selected.

Research motivation: South Africa’s superior courts, including the Constitutional court have recently (in 2019) labelled the current Public Protector; dishonest and Incompetent in carrying out the duties of the PP office.

Research purpose: This article critically appraises the recent process that culminated in the appointment of Ms Busisiwe Mkhwebane as the fourth Public Protector in the democratic South Africa.

Research approach: This article analysed documents, including the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Minutes of the meetings of the Adhoc Committee established by parliament to lead the process of the recruitment and selection of the Public Protector, and Public Protector Act.

Main findings: We found that the process of recruiting and selecting the Public Protector as it currently stands in South Africa, through the sections of the constitution, completely ignores the principles of recruitment and selection that help avoid sentiments of bias and selecting incompetent persons.

Practical implications: The findings of this paper call for a critical evaluation of the discretion that the constitution gives to only the SA parliament to initiate and undertake the process of the recruitment of the public protector.

Contribution: The contributes to the role that Human Resources Management discipline needs to play in SA, beyond its preoccupations with corporate organisations, to influence professional ethics in the Public Sector.


Public Protector; South Africa; recruitment and selection; Ad-Hoc Committee; Constitution of South Africa; Parliamentary; Documents analysis; Competency-Based Assessment


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