The sub-committee continued to interview candidates for the three positions of commissioner in the Public Service Commission (PSC). Only 6 candidates were interviewed because one had withdrawn after receiving another appointment.
The questions asked were aimed at determining the candidates’ notions regarding their fitness and propriety for the post. They were tested on their understanding of mandates from Section 195/6 of the Constitution, the developmental state as stated in the NDP, their human resource experience and their CVs. They were also asked to apply good governance in the area of the public service where they had served, apply their knowledge of the political administrative interface (PAI) in conflict resolution, state strategies that could be used in fighting corruption, and how they could increase the compliance rate on financial disclosure.
In a respectful manner, before each interview started, the Chairperson welcomed each candidate, introduced herself, informed them about the approach the interview, asked them to feel free to ask for clarification on any question asked and said that Members would introduce themselves when they asked questions. Each candidate would not be asked to state his background but would be asked questions based on the CV they had presented. She advised the candidates to listen carefully and briefly answer the questions without being too economical with information. They would be stopped when the sub-committee was satisfied with the answers that the candidate had given.
Questions posed to the candidates
Mr Thembekile Makhubela
Mr Mncwabe asked Mr Makhubela to state what the PSC could do in order to ensure that government agencies employed competent staff at senior level positions.
Mr Van der Westhuizen asked the candidate to explain the possible role of the PSC to support the developmental agenda in the NDP so as to achieve a developmental state.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked Mr Makhubela to explain what he understood by the values and principles contained in section 195 of the constitution. He should specifically mention some of the values and principles and elaborate on them. She also asked him to explain the different functions of the public service provincial MEC’s.
Mr Hlengwa asked Mr Makhubela how he would respond to issues of PI in the public service, and how it could be minimized.
Mr Dirks (ANC) asked if the candidate thought there was political interference in the public service, and to justify what informed his answer.
The Chairperson observed that the candidate had made a reference to his experience in Limpopo, and asked how this would add value to the PSC if he was appointed as a commissioner.
Mr Richard Khaliphile Sizani
Mr Ntombela asked the candidate to explain his understanding of the values and principles of Section 195 of the constitution, by mentioning some and elaborating on them.
Ms Dlamini-Dubazama asked if Mr Sizani’s presentation of recommendation on reports had been implemented, and if financial irregularities had happened in Limpopo in 2011. She asked him to specify the recommendations that had been implemented and those which were not. She explained that he was not being interrogated, but her questions were tailored to establish some facts because some of the candidate’s colleagues had been interviewed and had given different information about the financial irregularities that had happened in Limpopo in 2011.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked Mr Sizani to give his opinions on financial disclosure and how he would ensure that financial disclosure was high priority in the PSC. She asked him to disclose the present rate of financial disclosure in the public service.
Mr Hlengwa asked the candidate if he believed there was political interference in the public service and how the problem could be resolved.
Mr Van der Westhuizen explained that although the departmental agenda had been identified in the NDP, it seemed the public service had failed to achieve the developmental state. Therefore he asked Mr Sizani to suggest possible strategies that the public service could employ to achieve the goals of the departmental agenda, as stated in the NDP.
The Chairperson asked Mr Sizani to mention possible values that his appointment as a commissioner could add to the PSC.
Mr Ntombela indicated that he wanted to ask a follow-up question, but the Chairperson did not allow him to because the follow-up question was an after-thought.
Mr Hlengwa alleged that the committee was not asking questions in a disciplined manner.
The Chairperson responded that the Members could ask follow up questions when the candidates were answering questions, but not as an afterthought.
Ms Mally Hilda Mokoena
Mr Mncwabe asked Ms Mokoena what could be done by the PSC to make sure that government agencies employed competent and dedicated public servants at senior level positions.
Mr Van der Westhuizen asked Ms Mokoena to state what role the public service could play in order to support the developmental state.
Mr Hlengwa asked if Ms Mokoena thought PI occurred in the public service, what could possibly it, and to identify possible solutions.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen noted that Ms Mokoena had not referred to any values and principles, as stated in the constitution, and asked her to mention and elaborate on some of them. She was also asked to explain the functions of the public service.
Ms Dlamini-Dubazama asked the candidate to give five features of good governance in the public service.
Mr Dirks expressed his concern on gender representation in the public service, and asked Ms Mokoena to advice the sub-committee on how more women could be employed in the public service. He also asked Ms Mokoena to state the strategies she would use to get more youths employed in the public service. In addition he asked Ms Mokoena to also state policies that she would use in employing more blacks, coloureds, whites, Indians and people living with disabilities in the public service.
The Acting Chairperson said that Ms Mokoena had shown that she had a vast range of experience from her CV consequently, she asked Ms Mokoena to mention possible creative values that her appointment as a commissioner could add to the PSC. She also asked if the candidate have any comment or question to the committee members.
Mr Michael Homotsang Seloane
Ms Dlamini-Dubazama noted that Mr Seloane had worked in the health sector for some time, as evidenced by the oversight functions that he had performed in the health sector as captured in his CV. She therefore asked Mr Seloane to focus on the health sector, and elaborate on five features of good governance.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked Mr Seloane to explain how financial disclosure worked in the public service, and what strategies he would apply to increase the rate of compliance on financial disclosure in the public service.
Mr Hlengwa observed that one of the short-comings of the PSC was not implementing recommendations made by departments. He asked Mr Seloane to state what caused non-implementation of recommendations made by the department, and what corrective actions could make the PSC implement these recommendations.
Mr Van der Westhuizen asked him to state the role that the PSC could play to assist the public service to achieve the goal of a developmental state.
The Chairperson asked Mr Seloane to explain to the Committee the creative additions he would make if were re-appointed as a commissioner.
Ms Sylvia Phala
Ms Dlamini-Dubazama revealed that she was thrilled by Ms Phala’s CV, which said she was a farmer. What was the passion that had made her desire to apply for the position of a commissioner? What strategies would she employ to succeed if appointed as a commissioner in the PSC?
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked Ms Phala to explain what she understood about the values and principles contained in section 195 of the constitution, and to explain the functions of the PSC.
Mr Hlengwa asked the candidate to give her thoughts on why the PSC did not implement the recommendations presented by departments. What corrective measures would she use to stop the negative trend?
Mr Van der Westhuizen said that the candidate had mentioned in her CV that she was interested in developmental work as a social worker. What could the public service do to support the developmental role so as to ensure that the public service became a developmental state?
Mr Mncwabe asked Ms Phala to state what the PSC needed to do in order to ensure that state departments employed competent and dedicated public servants, particularly in the senior positions of the service.
The Chairperson asked her whether she believed that PI occurred in the public service. She also asked her to state what caused PI and how it could be managed.
Dr Tholomuzi Bruno Luthuli
Mr Dirks asked Dr Luthuli to advise the Committee on efforts he could use to intensify compliance on financial disclosure, what he understood by the financial disclosure framework, and whether the financial disclosure framework was in any way responsible for non-disclosure.
Mr Hlengwa asked him to state what caused the non-implementation of corrective measures given in reports submitted to PSC, and what he would do to stop this practice.
Mr Van der Westhuizen said he noted from Dr Luthuli’s CV that he was highly qualified in development studies, and asked him what the PSC could contribute to make the public service achieve its developmental role.
Mr Mncwabe commented that Dr Luthuli’s CV contained various researches into the public service, and asked what he would do to ensure that the public service employed competent and dedicated staff, especially at the senior management level.
The Chairperson him whether the perception that PI occurred in the public service was true, and if so, why. How could PI be avoided in the public service?
The Chairperson adjourned the interview session to allow the Members to prepare for the deliberations to select the three candidates for the position of commissioner at a pre-arranged date.
- PSC Commissioners: Mr Richard Khaliphile Sizani interview
- PSC Commissioners: Ms Sylvia Phala interview
- PSC Commissioners: Dr Tholomuzi Bruno Luthuli interview
- PSC Commissioners: Mr Michael Homotsang Seloane interview
- PSC Commissioners: Ms Mally Hilda Mokoena interview
- PSC Commissioners: Mr Thembekile Makhubela interview
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