Appointment to Commission on Gender Equality: Election of Chairperson and Process decisions

Appointment to the Commission for Gender Equality

13 December 2011
Chairperson: Ms R Bengu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Ad Hoc Committee elected its Chairperson and considered whether it had to shortlist nominees from the summary of CVs or from the CVs themselves. The Committee debated whether it should consider the Kader Asmal Report of 2007 as well as the report of the recent Ad Hoc Committee that specifically looked at the problems at the CGE. That Committee recommended that the Commission for Gender Equality Act should be amended so that the roles of the Commissioners and administration be clearly defined.

The Chairperson said that on Thursday 14 November the Chief Whip of the ANC had moved for a motion without notice which was adopted by the House. The motion was for the consideration of the CGE Act together with the establishment of the Committee. However the filling of vacancies would take precendence. The Committee discussed when it would next meet and took the resolution that the Chairperson together with the Office of the Deputy Speaker and Committee Section would settle on a date in January 2012.

Meeting report

Ms R Bengu (ANC) was nominated to be the Chairperson of the Committee by Mr J Sibanyoni (ANC) and Ms B Ndlulani (ANC) seconded.

Ms Bengu, as the new Chairperson, said the Committee had to be represented by the various political parties and deal with the vacancies that had occurred in the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). The Committee would now receive a briefing from the Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy (OISD) of Parliament.

Adv Nonkosi Cetshwayo, Head of the OISD, explained that there were nine vacancies in the CGE. Three of the positions had occurred because of the coming to an end of the terms of office for three Commissioners at the end of November. The Commission was now left with three active Commissioners. The rules stated that there had to be twelve Commissioners. There was a necessity to complete this matter urgently as the CGE required eight Commissioners for a quorum.

The Chairperson said that an advertisement for the positions had been put out. The Committee had to consider the curriculum vitaes (CVs) of the nominees and agree on how it would shortlist candidates. The Committee had to decide whether to look at every CV or make a decision based on the information provided in the summary. The Committee also had to decide on when it would hold interviews.

Ms D Robinson (DA) said that before the Committee could shortlist it had to consider the CVs in detail as there may be important considerations that may have been left out from the CVs, it was not possible to do this at this particular meeting.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had to demonstrate its in depth knowledge of the role of the CGE particularly when it came to the transformation agenda. It was true that the CGE has had its challenges and the Committee had to take this into consideration. In addition the suitability of candidates was not only what was reflected in their CVs but also in their ability to do good work in community.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) asked if the Committee was taking into consideration the list of 147 candidates and also in the brief it was stated that there were five vacancies, could this be clarified. If it was five vacancies then there had to be a short list of five nominees, each Committee Member could choose to either look at each CV or the summary and come up with a list of ten names.

Ms P Duncan (DA) asked what were the terms of reference for the Committee and if this particular committee was an extension of the previous Ad Hoc Committee that had to deal with the challenges that were faced by the CGE. The terms of reference had to be in writing so that the Committee had to know what it had to do. The previous Ad Hoc Committee had made recommendations contained in a report that was tabled in Parliament. One of the recommendations was that the CGE Act had to be amended because the roles of the administrators were not defined from those of the Commissioners. Parliament also had a responsibility to act on the recommendations that were made by the previous Committee.

The Chairperson said that on Thursday 14 November the Chief Whip of the ANC had moved for a motion without notice which was adopted by the House. The motion was for the consideration of the CGE Act together with the establishment of the Committee.

Ms Duncan said that the present matter would be taken back for discussion with her caucus.

The Chairperson interrupted and said that the issues had to be separated. The minutes of the resolution of the House provided a very clear mandate to the Committee. It was not clear what Mrs Dudley was going to take back to her party? The mandate of the Committee was clearly the filling of the vacancies. The House had also agreed that there was a need for the amendment of the Act however this would be a longer process that could not run concurrently with the appointment of Commissioners.

Mrs Duncan said that she understood the position of the Chairperson however the Kader Asmal Report of 2007 on the Chapter 9 Institutions also had to be considered.

The Chairperson said that Ms Duncan had a right to raise this issue with her political party however it was not relevant for the Committee’s present purpose.

Ms Dlulane agreed with the Chairperson that the mandate of the Committee was clear.

Ms Robinson said that she had had a glance at the summary document and it was not adequate for one to form an opinion about which candidates had to be shortlisted. The proposal from Mr Snell was a good one, the Committee could not shortlist today.

Ms Duncan asked how many positions were going to be filled through the current process.

The Chairperson said that the advertisement in the Government Gazette did not state a particular number.

Ms C Zikalala (IFP) said that the Committee had to be given enough time to consider the CVs without any pressure.

Mr G Snell (ANC) said that if Members were not comfortable with the time given to them, then the Meeting should be re-called and Members should be given time to consider the nominees.

The Chairperson said that the issue under discussion was not whether the Committee had to shortlist today but whether the summary or the CVs were going to be considered for determining the shortlist. The question remained as to which document should be used.

Ms M Mashigo (ANC) said that the Committee should meet in early January 2012. She proposed that both the summary and the CVs should be looked at.

The Chairperson agreed and asked if there was a seconder for the second proposal.

Mr Snell seconded.

Ms C Zikalala asked for a date of the meeting in January.

Adv Cetshwayo suggested the second week of January possibly after the 9 January.

The Chairperson said that from the 17 January 2012, Committees would be meeting according to the parliamentary programme, a date would be found during this period.

Ms Dlulane said that the Chairperson together with the Chief Whip and the Committee Section should sit down to find a date and then inform the Committee.

Ms Dudley said that the week of the 9 January would be ideal because as soon as Committees started meeting, all Members would be very stretched.

The Chairperson said that the matter would be handled by herself, the Office of the Deputy Speaker and Committee Section. The meeting was adjourned.


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