The Ad Hoc Committee tasked with filling vacancies in the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) met for the consideration and adoption of the Committee report on the process of filling vacancies in the Chapter Nine institution.
The Content Adviser briefly browsed through the draft report and allowed Members of the Committee to make additions, corrections and/or amendments to the report.
Members then adopted the draft report of the Ad Hoc Committee with amendments.
The Chairperson welcomed all present. She requested the content adviser to go through the report page by page so that Members were able to pinpoint which issues they wanted to add, correct or amend in the report.
Ms Kasifa Abrahams, Committee Content Adviser, read through the draft report page by page stating that she would pause when Members wished to make a correction or an addition to the report. The report read as follows: on 27 October 2016, the National Assembly resolved, in accordance with section 193(5) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, to establish an Ad Hoc Committee to nominate and recommend suitable persons for filling of vacancies in the Commission for Gender Equality in terms of the revised Commission for Gender Equality Act, No 39 of 1996, which came into effect on 26 November 2013. The Ad Hoc Committee is mandated to exercise the powers in terms of the Rules of the National Assembly that it deems necessary to perform its task, and to report to the House.
The draft report went on to list the membership and composition of the Ad Hoc Committee in terms of political parties. The Committee elected the Chairperson on 23 November 2016. The Committee, having met, requested for an extension of the initial deadline to 28 February 2017 which was approved by the House on 6 December 2016.
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) noted that the spelling of her name was incorrect and should be rectified in draft report.
Ms R Morutoa (ANC) noted that her name was not included in the draft report although she was part of the interview process.
The Unit Manager of the Committee said the reason why Ms Morutoa’s name was not included in the draft report was because membership of the Ad Hoc Committee would be reflected on the original report while co-opted Members would be reflected in the minutes.
The Chairperson disagreed by stating that the name of Ms Morutoa should be included in the draft report under consideration despite the fact that she was a co-opted Member - she was still part of the whole process.
The Committee agreed that the name of Ms Morutoa should be included in the draft report.
Ms Abrahams stated that, in terms of the legal framework, the Committee’s process was guided by the relevant constitutional and statutory provisions, as well as the Rules of the National Assembly. On public participation, section 193(2) of the Constitution provided that involvement of civil society in the recommendation process may be provided for as envisaged in section 59(1) of the Constitution. Section 59(1) of the Constitution provided for public access to and involvement in the National Assembly. Section 193(1) (a) and (b) of the Constitution dealt with the selection criteria.
The Committee shortlisted 21 candidates on 14 February 2017 but, subsequently, one candidate on the short-list withdrew and, as such, the Committee interviewed a total of 20 candidates on 13 March and 14 March 2017. The interviews were broadcasted live on TV.
Ms Abrahams said the Committee deliberated on 15 March 2017 on the selection of candidates to be recommended to the President and agreed to recommend six candidates in terms of his/her performance and the Committee’s preference. The Committee initially requested vetting of shortlisted candidates but was subsequently informed by the State Security Agency (SSA) that vetting was an intensive process and therefore screening of shortlisted candidates was done.
Ms T Stander (DA) asked whether previous Ad Hoc Committees requested the vetting and screening of candidates. If so, it should be captured in the draft report under consideration.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) pointed out that before the Committee was briefed by SSA, Members did not understand the difference between screening and vetting processes. There was then agreement by the Committee to remove the vetting process as it was not within the prerogative of the Committee. Screening of shortlisted candidates was recommended instead – this was reflected under deliberations on page seven of the draft report under consideration.
Ms Abrahams said the recommendations of the Committee were as follows:
Having considered the request of the National Assembly for the Committee to nominate candidates for appointment as Commissioners on the Commission for Gender Equality, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Filling of Vacancies in the Commission for Gender Equality recommends, in this order, the Committee’s preference:
- Ms Tamara Eugenia Mathebula
- Ms Nthabiseng Moleko
- Mr Sediko Daniel Rakolote
- Ms Nthabiseng Sepanya Mogale
- Ms Sethembiso Promise Mthembu
- Dr Praveena Sukhraj-Ely
The Committee further recommended that: The National Assembly considers the possibility of investigating, establishing a standardised procedure/mechanism to guide Committees of the Assembly when dealing with the matter of appointments to statutory bodies/organs of state. To this end, the Committee recommends that Parliament develops a standardised template to deal with these processes in future.
The Committee also notes that Parliament has yet to develop comprehensive guidelines for Committees that are similarly tasked. The Committee considered the method of the previous Ad Hoc Committee mandated to nominate suitable persons for appointment as Commissioners. In addition, the Committee considered the method of other Committees that were mandated to deal with the statutory appointments such as, the Public Protector and South African Human Rights Commission nominations. The Committee found that there was a lack of uniformity.
Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi, (DA) moved for the adoption of the draft report with amendments.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen seconded the move.
The Committee adopted the draft report on the filling vacancies in the CGE.
Mr M Manyoni (ANC) thanked the Chairperson for her leadership during the interview process.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi also thanked the Chairperson for her leadership of the Ad Hoc Committee and the way in which Members acted liked a “unit” during the interview process.
The Chairperson thanked Members of the Committee for their input, the support staff for hard work and the media for its co-operation in terms of the process.
The Ad Hoc Committee would deal with outstanding minutes during its next meeting.
The meeting adjourned.