South African Human Rights Commissioners appointment: decision to re-advertise

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Justice and Correctional Services

25 August 2009
Chairperson: Mr N Ramatlodi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee decided in this meeting that the South African Human Rights Commissioners positions should be re-advertised. This was because many of the applications did not comply with what had been stated in the previous advertisement placed in newspapers. On the matter of candidates not having nomination letters. The Committee established that the advertisement did not specify whether the nominee could be the same as the nominator. It was thus accepted that a person could nominate himself or herself for the position. There were some applicants that did not have the required details on their application forms or had applied late. It was agreed in the meeting that the short-listing process would be suspended until after the revised closing date.

Meeting report

Mr J Jeffrey (Parliamentary Counsellor to Deputy President / Leader of Government Business; ANC) asked if the nominations complied with the specified requirements of the advertisement - such as specifying gender, race group and information about the organisation making the nomination. Mr Jeffrey told the Committee that he thought self-nomination was acceptable as there was nothing in the advertisement saying that the person making the nomination could not be the same person as the person nominated.

Mr Jeffrey said that he himself did not know that the application procedure had been extended. He noted that there was a nomination that was dated October 2008. He asked if the person had actually applied for the currently advertised position last year.

He said that there was a problem with regards to condoning the extended date from 8 May to 19 August. He felt the position needed to be re-advertised. However they need re-advertise the position only for one week. Condoning late applications was going to be a problem.

Ms Smuts asked if Mr Jeffrey was talking about the decision that had been reached by the Committee on 19 August.

Mr Jeffrey said that he did not know anything about the decision taken to condone late applications. Applications that did not comply with the advertisement were not acceptable, as they would create problems.

Ms Smuts said that there were a number on the list that were late and also one did not have a nomination letter. The Committee had to take that name, which was number seven, off the list.

The Chairperson said that he had received a nomination for the name.

Mr Jeffrey asked when was the nomination signed.

The Chairperson told the Committee that it had been signed the day before.

Mr D Kekana (ANC) said that it was important for the Committee to have everything written down on paper. In future, the Committee could not accept verbal legal opinions. That was putting the integrity of Parliament at stake. He said those were non-negotiable principles.

Mr Kekana said that the best way to deal with the potential defects was to re-advertise the positions.

Mr M Oriani- Ambrosini (IFP) said that he agreed with Mr Kekana and called for the Committee to re-advertise.

Mr Jeffrey noted that the advertisement that had been previously placed in newspapers was for full-time commissioners, and he thought there were people who would make a valuable contribution but who wanted only to be part-time. So he thought that people who wanted to be involved part-time should be welcomed to apply.

Ms Smuts said that the advertisement was calling for five commissioners, however she could not understand why because they already had one position filled. However her party wanted the Commission to have seven commissioners of which some of them could be part-time commissioners. So that is why she believed that the positions needed to be re-advertised.

Mr Oriani- Ambrosini said that it should be stipulated in the advertisement that people who had applied on time need not reapply.

Ms L Adams (COPE) asked what would be done with the names that were short-listed that did not meet the criteria. There were a few of them on the short-list.

Mr Jeffrey said that it was only the late ones and the people who had not filled in a nomination letter, that would not be included.

The Chairperson said that the short-list would be affected by the new nomination process so the short-listing process was suspended.

The meeting was adjourned.


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