Parliament, Friday 20 May 2016 - Appointments to the 11 Institutions Supporting Democracy (ISDs) are governed by the Constitution and specific laws applicable to the specific ISD. In some ISDs, the President appoints commissioners and heads of institutions. In others, such as the Pan-South African Language Board and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, the relevant line Minister is responsible for appointments.

For most of the ISDs, however, the appointment process generally involves the National Assembly (NA) approving candidates and recommending them to the President, who makes the appointment. As with its other work, the NA must also facilitate public involvement in the process of recommending candidates to fill vacancies on the ISDs.

For appointments to most of the ISDs only a simple majority of the Members of the NA must support a resolution making the recommendation. However, in the appointment of the Public Protector and the Auditor-general of South Africa at least 60% of NA Members must support the vote recommending the appointment.

According to section 183 of the Constitution, the Public Protector is appointed for a non-renewable period of seven years. Advocate Thuli Madonsela's term expires in October 2016 and an ad-hoc committee to begin the process of appointing a new Public Protector will be established soon. For the committee to be established, a motion has to be moved and adopted in the National Assembly.

The Public Protector Act says the Public Protector must be a South African citizen who is a fit and proper person to hold such office and who:

  • Is a Judge of High Court; or
  • Is admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after being admitted, practised as an advocate or an attorney; or
  • Is qualified to be admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after having qualified, lectured in law at a university; or
  • Has specialised knowledge of or experience, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years, in the administration of justice, public administration or public finance; or
  • Has acquired any combination of experience mentioned above for a cumulative period of at least 10 years

The 11 ISDs are the Auditor-General of South Africa; Commission for Gender Equality; Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Electoral Commission; Financial and Fiscal Commission; Independent Communications Authority of South Africa; National Youth Development Agency; Pan-South African Language Board; Public Protector; Public Service Commission; South African Human Rights Commission