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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
9 February 2000
APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRPERSON OF SECURITY OFFICERS’ BOARD
The ANC announced that they had selected Josias Jele as their candidate for the position of Chairperson of the Security Officers Board (vacant since November 1999). Opposition parties complained about the lack of fair process being applied to the selection. As requested by opposition members, it was agreed that the committee would be provided with the full CV of Mr Jele as well as a job description of the position. The committee could then debate the suitability of the candidate at the next meeting as well as put forward other candidates for consideration by the committee.
The Chair informed members of the circumstances that induced the necessity of this meeting. In November 1999, the Chairperson of the Security Officers Board resigned suddenly. This necessitated the appointment of a new Chair. In terms of the relevant legislation, the Minister of Safety and Security must appoint a chairperson to this Board after consultation with the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security. This meeting was convened in order to facilitate this consultation.
The Minister of Safety and Security, Mr Steve Tshwete, was introduced. The Minister impressed on the committee the need to appoint a chair speedily in light of the fact that legislation dealing with security officers was soon to come before Parliament. The Minister requested that the committee recommend a suitable person/s for the position. He then asked that he might be excused from the meeting while the committee deliberated on suitable candidates. This was agreed and the Minister left.
The ANC announced that it had already picked a suitable candidate for the position of Chair.
Members of Opposition parties including Gen. Viljoen (FF) and Mr. Ndlovu (IFP) indicated their unhappiness with the manner in which the meeting was proceeding. They argued that they did not want to merely rubberstamp the governing party’s decision but they wanted to properly consider each and every candidate for the post.
Members of the ANC replied that the Committee members had been informed of the meeting in advance and that they should have applied their mind to the selection process at an earlier stage.
The Chair also emphasized that time was of essence and a lengthy screening process would be very difficult at this stage. Furthermore, in the past a screening process like the one described by the Opposition was not followed and there was no reason to embark on one now.
Opposition party members replied that they had been informed of the meeting very late. Furthermore they emphasized that they were not seeking a formal interview process: They merely wanted to be informed about the list of candidates from which the ANC had selected their candidate and how the ANC had arrived at their decision.
The ANC announced that they had selected Josias Jele as their candidate. Mr. Jele was a leader in the ANC. He had been Secretary in the military council of the ANC, a Member of Parliament after the 1994 elections and was currently serving as a South African representative to the United Nations.
Gen. Viljoen (FF) remarked that the ANC suggestion sounded to him like a “jobs- for-pals” appointment. He said that any candidate for the position had to be assessed intensively to ensure they had necessary qualifications for the post so as to ensure open and efficient administration. He requested that the ANC provide Opposition party members with a full CV of the candidate as well as a job description of the position of Chair.
Mr. Ndlovu (IFP) reiterated his request for the list of candidates from which Mr. Jele had been selected by the ANC. Opposition members stated that their requests were not meant to be obstructionist but the importance of the post necessitated that a fair process be applied in the selection.
The ANC informed the Opposition members that there had been no “list of candidates” from which Mr. Jele had been picked.
Nevertheless the Chair agreed to provide Opposition members with the full CV of Mr. Jele as well as the job description for the post of Chair of the Security Officers Board. The Opposition parties could then peruse these documents and debate the suitability of the candidate at the next meeting. They could even put forward their own candidates for consideration by the committee. This was agreed.
The meeting was then adjourned.
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