Information Regulator; SAHRC; National Council for Correctional Services vacancies

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Justice and Correctional Services

17 May 2016
Chairperson: Dr M Motshekga (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Summary
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) briefed the Committee on the proposed potential candidates for appointment to the National Council for Correctional Services. Candidates had to be experts in the field of clinical psychology or be representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the field of correctional services, be academics in the fields of criminology, criminal law or restorative justice, or be experts in community justice. The Department’s proposed candidates were Mr IL de Klerk, Ms TS Monyamane Mr LUZ Rataemane, Adv KA Mahumani, Rev JP Clayton, Ms A Vilakazi, Dr V Chetty and Mr M Nkopo.

The Deputy Minister of the DCS said the Minister had sought to improve the list of members who directly represented the public and to ensure that other dimensions of public or community interest, apart from professional and technical abilities, could be inputted into the Council’s decision-making process.  Another factor was that the Minister wanted to ensure that community representation was diversified.

Members asked what process was used to thin down the list of candidates. Some members wanted the fourth category to have more than one person assigned, and that the names of Van Biljon, Maposo and Vava should be considered.

The Deputy Minister said that the nominee for category four had been chosen because his law studies had been in international exposure and that his area of interest was how the justice system dealt with non-nationals, which would enrich the Council. He stood above all the rest of the candidates as an activist for the promotion of human rights and should not be lost, therefore it would be difficult to drop him. The Deputy Minister would however make a submission to increase the number of Council members, even though that would have budgetary implications.

The Committee agreed to recommend that the final list of nominees referred to above be considered for appointment as public representatives on the NCCS, and that the Minister should consider increasing the number of candidates with expertise in the community justice systems category.

The DA said that the nominee for Category 4 had a legal background, while the purpose was to provide input from people who did not have an academic background. In its current form, the DA could not support the nominations to the council.

The Parliamentary Researcher told the Committee that the chairperson of the Information Regulator was a full time position and there were four ordinary members, of which two had to be full time and the remaining two members could be part time or full time. The members had to be appropriately qualified and at least one had to have experience as a practicing advocate or attorney or a professor of law at a university, and the rest had to have qualifications, expertise and experience relating to the objectives of the Regulator. The Act dealt with access to information and not just data protection.

The short list of names were Mr Francis Cronje; Mr Sizwe Snail ka Mtuze; Prof. Tana Pistorius; Ms Thavaneethee Reddy; Mr Siyakhula Simelane; Adv Lebogang Stroom; Prof David Taylor; Adv Pansy Tlakula and Mr Johannes Weapond. There was unanimous support for the appointment of Adv Stroom and Prof Pistorius. The DA did not agree with the appointment of Mr Snail ka Mtuze and felt that Prof David Taylor should be considered to replace him, and that Mr Siyakhula Simelane, with a background in finance, should be accommodated in the list. The DA said that there were no candidates that were fit to be the chairperson and consequently that the search for a chairperson should continue.

The ANC said that Adv Tlakula was a ‘fit and proper’ person for the job and if that was not the case, then the Bar Association would have brought charges against her. It added that the reason she had resigned from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had been because she felt the office was bigger than the person. The Committee’s recommended nominees after a vote were for Adv Tlakula as the chairperson, and Prof Pistorius, Adv Stroom, Mr Weapond and Mr Snail ka Mtuze.

The ANC proposed that Mr Andre Gaum and Mr Edward Lambani be the recommended appointees at the SA Human Rights Commission. The DA supported Mr Gaum but not Mr Lambani and said that Prof Rushiella Songca should be considered instead. After a vote, the names put forward as the Committee’s recommendations were Mr Gaum and Mr Lambani.
 

Meeting report

Appointment of members to serve on National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS)
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) briefed the Committee on the proposed candidates for appointment to the National Council for Correctional Services. The briefing covered the purpose of the appointments, the statutory requirements that had to be met, a historical overview of the process that was undertaken, the criteria used to shortlist candidates and the list of potential candidates.

Mr Thabang Makwetla, Deputy Minister, DCS, said the appointment of public representatives to the Council was in line with section 83(3)(h) of the Correctional Services Act.

Mr James Smalberger, Chief Deputy Commissioner: DCS, said the first call for nominations was made on 21 February 2016 and 15 responses had been received. A second call for nominations was made on 5 April 2016 and 27 responses had been received. Ten of the 42 applications were from existing Council members. Candidates had to be experts in the field of clinical psychology or be representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the field of correctional services, be academics in the fields of criminology, criminal law or restorative justice, or be experts in community justice.

The Department’s proposed candidates for Category 1: Experts In Clinical Psychology, were Mr IL de Klerk, Ms TS Monyamane and Mr LUZ Rataemane.

For Category 2: Representatives of NGOs working in the field of correctional services, the proposed candidates were Adv KA Mahumani and the Rev JP Clayton.

For Category 3: Academics with expertise in criminal law, criminology, penology or restorative justice, the candidates were Ms A Vilakazi and Dr V Chetty.

For Category 4: Experts in community justice systems, the candidate was Mr M Nkopo.

Mr Makwetla said the NCCS also comprised the other seven mandatory categories. These included three judges from the Supreme Court of Appeal or the High Court, and representatives of the magistracy, the prosecutorial office, and the Departments of Correctional Services, Police and Social Development who were at the level of director or higher. The Minister had sought to improve the list of members who directly represented the public and to ensure that other dimensions of public or community interest, apart from professional and technical abilities, could be inputted into the Council’s decision-making process.  Another factor was that the Minister wanted to ensure that community representation was diversified.

Discussion
Adv G Breytenbach (DA) asked what process was used to thin down the list of candidates.

Mr Smalberger said the applicants were evaluated against the set criteria, whether they accepted the nomination, whether they were full time government employees, etc. The applicants were then evaluated against the four categories.

Mr M Mothapo (ANC) said she appreciated that the issue of diversity had been taken into account and proposed the adoption of the names submitted.

Adv Breytenbach said she did not support the motion, as she wanted the fourth category to have more than one person assigned.

Ms MC Pilane-Majake (ANC) suggested that Adv Breytenbach’s proposal be sent to the Ministry for consideration.
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Mr W Horn (DA) added that the names to be considered should be that of Van Biljon, Maposo and Vava.

Mr B Bongo (ANC) said that names should not be included.

The Chairperson said the Minister was not obliged to accept the Committee’s input.
 
Adv Breytenbach countered that “in consultation with” meant the input had to be taken into account.

Mr Makwetla asked for clarity on whether Adv Breytenbach was asking for an increase of the Commission to 11 or to nine members.

Adv Breytenbach said she was calling for it to be eight members, but that an extra three names needed to be considered for category four.

Mr Makwetla said that the nominee for category four had been chosen because his law studies had been in international exposure and that his area of interest was how the justice system dealt with non-nationals, which would enrich the council. He stood above all the rest of the candidates as an activist for the promotion of human rights and should not be lost, so it would be difficult to drop him. The Deputy Minister would, however, make a submission to increase the number of council members even though that would have budgetary implications.

Ms Pilane-Majake said she agreed with the Deputy Minister’s views, but that the names should not be included.

Mr Bongo concurred.

The Committee agreed to recommend that the final list of nominees referred to above be considered for appointment as public representatives on the NCCS in terms of section 83(2)(h) and that the Minister consider increasing the number of candidates with expertise in the community justice systems category

Adv Breytenbach said that the nominee had a legal background whilst the purpose of category four was to provide input from people who did not have an academic background. In the current form the DA could not support the nominations to the council.

Filling of Vacancies at the Information Regulator
Mr Horn asked to be reminded what the requirements regarding the field of expertise were for the full time and part time members of the panel.

Ms Christine Silkstone, Parliamentary Researcher, said the Chairperson was a full time position and there were four ordinary members, of whom two had to be full time and the remaining two members could be part time or full time. The members had to be appropriately qualified, fit and proper and at least one had to have experience as a practicing advocate or attorney or a professor of law at a university, and the rest had to have qualifications, expertise and experience relating to the objectives of the Regulator. The Act dealt with access to information and not just data protection.

The short list of names were: Mr Francis Cronje; Mr Sizwe Snail ka Mtuze; Prof Tana Pistorius; Ms Thavaneethee Reddy; Mr Siyakhula Simelane; Adv Lebogang Stroom; Prof David Taylor;  Adv Pansy Tlakula and Mr Johannes Weapond.

Ms Pilane-Majake noted the short listed names and recommended the appointment of Adv Tlakula
as the Chairperson/Regulator, Mr Weapond and Adv Stroom as the full time members and Mr Snail ka Mtuze and Prof Pistorius as the part time members.

Mr Bongo supported the recommendation.

Mr Horn said he did not agree with all the names. He said he agreed with the appointment of Adv Stroom and Prof Pistorius, but that Mr Siyakhula Simelane, with a background in finance, should be accommodated in the list. He said Mr Snail ka Mtuze was not convincing and that Prof David Taylor replacing him should be considered. He added that there were no candidates that were fit to be the chairperson. He agreed that Adv Tlakula had an impressive CV, but at issue was the findings of misconduct by the Electoral Court. Her resignation had meant she could not be tried in court. Her answers during her interview did not convey a sense of responsibility for her actions at the IEC. Consequently, he felt that the search for a chairperson should continue.

Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) said the Bar Association had not brought any charges against Adv Tlakula and that she was a ‘fit and proper’ person for the job.

The Chairperson said the fact that she had not been struck from the roll showed that her fitness to hold the office had not been dented.

Mr Horn said the Electoral Court findings could not be ignored unless they were set aside.

Mr Bongo said the reason she had resigned was because she felt the office was bigger than the person.

The Committee then voted on the names individually. There was unanimous support for Prof Pistorius and Adv Stroom. The ANC voted for Adv Tlakula, Mr Weapond and Mr Snail ka Mtuze, while the DA voted against. The ANC voted against Prof Taylor and Mr Simelane, while the DA voted for them.

The Committee’s recommended nominees were as Ms Pilane-Majake had stated earlier on.

Filling of Vacancies at the SA Human Rights Commission
Ms Pilane-Majake proposed that Mr Andre Gaum and Mr Edward Lambani be the recommended appointees.

Mr Bongo seconded the motion.

Adv Breytenbach said the DA supported Mr Gaum but not Mr Lambani, and that Prof Rushiella Songca should be considered instead.

The Chairperson said that Prof Songca was not available full time.

The names were put to a vote. There was unanimous support for Mr Gaum. The ANC voted for Mr Lambani while the DA voted against, and the ANC voted against Prof Songca while the DA voted in favour. The names put forward as the Committee’s recommendations were Mr Gaum and Mr Lambani.

The meeting was adjourned.



 

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