The Department of Science and Technology (DST) briefed the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprise on the procedure and process that had been followed for the newly-appointed board of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which had come into effect at the beginning of 2015.
The curriculum vitaes (CVs) of each newly-appointed member was listed in the presentation.
The Chairperson of the Committee indicated concern that there were no Coloured or Indian board members.
Mr Tommy Makhode, Chief Director: Communications, Department of Science and Technology (DST), briefed the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprise on the appointment of the board of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The three-year term of the office of the previous board of the CSIR had expired on 31 December 2014. The new CSIR board had been appointed and come into effect from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2018. The purpose of the presentation was to share with the Committee a report which had been submitted to Parliament in January 2015.
Mr Makhode presented the “appointment process, selection criteria, consultation process and the composition of the board”. During the appointment process, the DST had received 35 nominations from the public. The DST had then presented this to an expert panel which had compiled a shortlist of 14 candidates. The selection criteria required all selected board members to have achieved a distinction in the science industry or alternatively to have special knowledge or experience in relation to some aspect of the CSIR functions. The panel had also taken race, gender, financial, legal and human resource expertise into consideration.
During the consultation process, the chairperson of the CSIR board had been consulted to select current board members who were willing to continue to serve. The chairperson had selected six members, but only four had been eligible to continue as the other two had already served two terms. Professor Thokozani Majozi had been appointed as the chairperson, and nine other members had also been appointed. Representation of the newly-appointed CSIR board was 60% female, 80% African and 20% White.
Mr A Singh (ANC, Kwa-Zulu Natal) asked if all the curriculum vitaes (CVs) provided in the meeting were the CVs of the newly-appointed CSIR board members.
Mr Makhode said that the newly-appointed board members had been identified in the presentation, and all the CV’s of the appointed members were available amongst the pile of CV’s handed out.
The Chairperson asked if all the board members had been assessed on their performance. She also wanted to know how the DST dealt with the issue of conflict of interest.
Mr David Mmakola, Chief Director: Strategy and Planning, DST, responded to the Chairperson and said the DST’s mechanisms to assess performance were similar to those of National Treasury’s, where people’s performance was assessed, based on scales or levels that ranked the performance,. The CSIR had its own internal procedures to deal with conflict of interest.
The Chairperson asked if any other Members of the Committee had questions, but no one responded. She then expressed concern that no Coloured or Indian board members had been appointed, but she did not blame the DST for this. She asked if there had been any Coloured or Indian applicants.
Mr Mmakola replied that as indicated in the presentation, one had to be nominated in order to be considered for a position on the CSIR board.
The Chairperson thanked the presenters, and the meeting was adjourned.