Shortlisting of candidates to serve on the Commission for Gender Equality

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Meeting Summary

The Committee nominated candidates to be interviewed for the positions of commissioners in the Commission on Gender Equality. Members initially decided that they would look for 13 candidates to be interviewed. However, after much deliberation and compromise, the ruling party and the opposition parties decided to interview 15 candidates. The Committee based its selection of candidates on whether they understood the contents that informed matters of gender equality - especially at community level, and whether candidates seemed to have the necessary administrative skills and passion for what they were doing. Members would also focus closely on commissioners that were eligible for re-election, as the matter of continuity within the Commission was very important. It was decided that the interviews would take place on 25 and 26 January 2012.

Meeting report

Opening Statement
The Chairperson welcomed the Members back to Parliament. She commended them for their commitment to the work they were tasked to do. Members of the Committee were tasked to fill the vacancies on the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). Members had agreed that the shortlisting of candidates would be done today and they would agree on when the interviews would take place.

The Chairperson stated that she wanted to reflect on what had already been discussed, which consisted of what the Committee’s mandate was, what informed the mandate, and what informed the Committee in executing the mandate. The Committee was expected to fill nine of these vacancies. By law, the Commission should consist of between a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 commissioners. Some of these commissioners had to be full-time and others had to be part-time. A minimum of 2 to a maximum of 7 could be appointed full-time. The first thing the Committee had to do was to decide on the number of candidates they wanted to interviews. Currently, there are 9 vacancies out of 12 positions. The terms of office of the three remaining commissioners are coming to an end at the end of April 2012. Approximately six commissioners resigned in 2009. There were five commissioners that were eligible for reappointment in terms of the law. They were Mr Mfanizelwe Shozi, Ms Ndileka Loyilane, Dr Yvette Abrahams, Ms Janine Hicks and Ms Kenosi Meruti.

Shortlisting of Candidates for the Commission on Gender Equality
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee look at having 13 names from which they would interview and select the Commissioners for appointment to the CGE.

Mr G Snell (ANC) agreed with the Chairpersons proposal of 13 candidates. He believed that if Members applied their minds, they would be able to fill the vacancies with those 13 candidates.

Ms D Robinson (DA) agreed, but said that if the Committee found that there were one or two people that seemed to be experienced enough, they should be considered for interviews as well.

The Chairperson agreed that the Committee would aim for 13, but they could compromise if there were one or two others that Members wanted to include in the interviews.

Ms H Ndude (COPE) agreed that this was a good suggestion.

The Chairperson wanted Members to reflect on what they had discussed when Members were at the last meeting. She was sure that the Members sitting within the Committee had in-depth knowledge and the qualifications to understand what the CGE was about. It also helped that Members were from such diverse backgrounds and understood gender equality matters. Members were given enough time, with the consideration of their parties, to decide who the candidates were that they wanted to interview. However, she wanted the Committee to discuss the criteria they would use to decide which candidates they wanted to interview.

Mr Snell responded that it was critical to have continuity in the Commission in terms of issues that had to be rectified within the Commission.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) noted that communities in the country were diverse and very different to one another. Candidates had to have the ability to come up with fresh ideas. They had to be able to adapt to different situations all over the country. Administrative skills were also very important.

Ms D Ramodibe agreed with her fellow Members. The Commission also needed people that were “sharp” in terms of gender equality issues. Members had to look at the candidates’ background, but also at their interests to see if they were dedicated to the plights of ordinary people.

Ms Ndude agreed that continuity was important, so the Committee had to be very careful with the Commissioners that they were choosing to re-elect. Having the right academic background was a prerequisite, but the Commission needed people with experience and backgrounds in activism. The Committee needed to put special focus on community workers with backgrounds in gender equality matters. The candidates needed to have passion and should not be office-orientated people. Potential candidates needed to show that they were in the habit of interacting with communities and could bring in new ideas.

Ms C Zikalala (IFP) added that the Committee had to agree that the CGE had not performed well in the past.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee had to be mindful of the fact that the Commission has experienced challenges in the past that had affected the execution of their mandate. She wanted to summarise the criteria that would be used to shortlist the candidates:
The Committee needed people who understood the content that informed matters of gender equality. Candidates had to have a full understanding of gender equality at the community level.
Candidates had to have the necessary administrative skills, and they had to be able to interrogate and interpret decisions made at management level.
Continuity was very important. The Committee will look very closely at Commissioners that were up for re-election.
The Commission needed people with fresh ideas. Candidates had to be passionate about gender equality and had to be able to interact with communities, such as community workers.

The Chairperson asked the Committee to speak to the dates that the interviews would be held, bearing in mind that Parliament was resuming activities on 17 January 2012, after which Members would be interacting with the Diagnostic Report.

Ms Ramodibe proposed that the interviews take place on Wednesday, 25 and Thursday, 26 January 2012, as the Committee was expected to report on the appointments no later than 21 February 2012.

Ms Ndude suggested that the interviews take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 24 and 25 January instead.

Ms Robinson seconded Ms Ndude’s proposal, stating that caucus took place on Thursdays.

The Chairperson said that there would not be caucus on 26 January.

Ms Ndude stated that due to the Chairperson’s announcement, she would withdraw her proposal.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee agreed that the interviews would take place on 25 and 26 January 2012. She asked Members to start putting names forward as potential candidates. She gave Members a ten-minute break to discuss which names they wanted to put forward as some Members were only seeing the information for the first time. She was going to ask the different parties for their list of candidates.

After the break…
Ms Ndude spoke for herself as a COPE member and on behalf of Ms Robinson for the DA and Ms Zikalala for the IFP. Ms Mashigo spoke for the ANC. Each put forward 13 names.

The Chairperson stated that the two lists needed to be consolidated into one list. She noted that there were two names in common. These were Ms Janine Hicks and Ms Ndileka Loyilane. She said that parties had to decide which names they wanted to prioritise and which candidates they were willing to put aside. She would allow the parties to caucus.

The Chairperson noted that after much deliberation and compromise, the Committee had settled on 15 candidates. They consisted of:
Mpumlwana, Thoko
Salo, Elaine Rosa
Landrew, Lorraine Joan
Mgoqi, Wallace
Ranuga, Nondumiso Maphazi
Maziya, Steven
Mxaku, Zandile
Hicks, Janine
Loilane, Ndileka
Shozi, Mfanozelwe
Stofile, Nomvuyiso
Nare, Lulama
Abrahams, Yvette
Gouws, Amanda
Botha, Mbuyiselo

Mr Snell noted that Members felt very strongly about certain candidates. He felt that all 15 should all be brought in for interviews.

Ms Robinson added that the Committee had said at the beginning of the meeting that it could take one or two more candidates if they needed to.

The Chairperson agreed saying that the Committee had settled on 13 candidates but they could interview 15. She asked if all Members could agree to 15.

Ms Ramodibe replied that she seconded the proposal for 15 candidates to be interviewed.

The Chairperson noted that no one had opposed the proposal. To summarise, the Committee had agreed to the criteria used for the shortlisting, they agreed to the dates for the interviews to take place, and the candidates were shortlisted to 15. She urged the support staff to contact the candidates immediately and to schedule their interviews.

The meeting was adjourned.


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