SOUTHERN African Litigation Centre’s (SALC) Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh has all eyes on her for the top post of Public Protector. She found herself defending her organisation in a bizarre interrogation during her interview to become the next public protector last week.
The centre under Ramjathan-Keogh initiated the process that led to the Gauteng High Court interdicting the South African government to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes during his visit to the country for an AU summit. The resentment from ANC MPs towards her was evident in her gruelling interview for the position as Public Protector.
Ramjathan-Keogh told Masondo that she found his train of questioning offensive and stressed that the centre was not foreign controlled.
“This situation was one where we had to uphold the rule of law and one where we had to make sure that SA does not become a safe haven for criminals,” she said in defence of the Bashir application in 2015.
ANC Bongani Bongo then questioned her in light of the al-Bashir matter, whether she would pursue an antagonistic relationship between the office of the public protector and the government. Ramjathan responded that she intends to be friends with the government of South Africa.
During her interview, Ramjathan-Keogh told the ad hoc committee that one of the first matters she would prioritise was finding new means to finance the financially strained chapter nine institution.
“The person selected has to be true to the mandate of the office and protecting the Constitution in their day-to-day work. I’m not aware of all the financial arrangements around the office. It is unfortunate that regional offices are being closed. If selected, I will make a huge effort to seek finances to keep the office going,” she said.
Watch her interview here: