Irregularities in CGE Commissioners Term of Office; Advert Approval

Appointment to the Commission for Gender Equality

31 October 2018
Chairperson: Ms C Ncube-Ndaba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee agreed on the programme to be adopted for the selection to fill the vacancies at the Commission for Gender Equality. Members were told that the qualifications for candidates to be nominated included no age, or any other, discrimination. The Chairperson also expressed her wish that a person with albinism could be one of the commissioners. A Member said that the Committee should sit even on weekends to ensure that the process was finished before the end of the Parliamentary session in 2019.

The advertisement for the vacant positions was adopted, and it was decided that this would be published in newspapers, but not promoted through social media.

The Committee also agreed that there were discrepancies in the extension of the appointments of three commissioners, so it had been unlawful. As their term of office had ended, they should therefore leave office.

Meeting report

CGE vacancies selection process

Ms T Stander (DA) said the proposed time for the preparation of the advertisement for applications to fill vacancies at the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) was too long, and proposed a timeline of 1 to 9 November. She further suggested that the advertising in the print media should take place from 13 to 30 November. She supported the proposal by stating that the Announcements, Tablings and Committees (ATC) had not been accounted for, and that it should be approved by the House.

Dr Z Luyenge (ANC) countered that the Committee could not pronounce that the period was long without considering the activities taking place during that period would be creating pressure.

Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) seconded Dr Luyenge, adding that the Committee needed to understand the reasons behind he proposed dates before proposing new ones. She asked why only print media would be used, and also which local print media they would be. She suggested that the advert should be in the community newspapers as well, because some newspapers were not necessarily affordable to the local people.

The Chairperson said that previously the aim was to reach people in the rural areas. As such, now that this was going to happen, the Committee would use print media in each every province, and pay particular attention to ensure it was a newspaper that everybody could read.

Ms Stander added that the Committee should best go for the lowest priced newspaper. She proposed that the budget R300 000 should be moved from the preparation of advert to the actual advertising itself.

The Committee Secretary gave reasons as to why there had been an extended period for the process of preparing of advert, which had included translation of the advert, political and financial approval, and the administration process.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) reminded the Committee that Ms Stander had suggested that the budget to be moved to the publishing of the advert

Ms Stander said that the uploading of nominations for public comment from 14 December to18 January 2019 was a long period.

The Chairperson said that the period was enough for public comment.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked the Committee for the deadline for the nominations.

The Committee Secretary responded that the deadline would be 10 December, and the names would be uploaded on 14 December before Parliament closed on 15h December.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen requested that the administration to notify the Committee when the nominations were uploaded.

The Chairperson agreed.

Dr Luyenge asked if the civil society organisations were allowed to make nominations.

The Chairperson said they were.

The Chairperson suggested that as the CV of candidates were uploaded; this process should run parallel with the screening and verification of their qualifications.

She suggested to Dr Herman Tembe, Office of Institutions Supporting Democracy (OISD), that if the candidate had a criminal record, the nature of the criminal record should be stated, including when it happened, and it should be included in the briefing.

Ms Stander asked if the screening process happened concurrently and the applications closed on the 18 January 2019, it was stated that the interviews would take place from 21 January to 15 February 2019, which was almost four weeks. Was it possible to reduce this by one week, as she was concerned that the Committee may not have time for the Announcements, Tablings and Committee (ATC) report?

The Chairperson said that the Committee could, but they would keep the dates as is in the document and would make time within the Committee

Ms Tseke added that also it would depend on the number of applicants that would be called for an interview, so the dates should be left as they were in the document.

Ms S Khawula (EFF) asked if the flights and accommodation would be booked on behalf of the shortlisted candidates.

Ms Stander emphasised that there should be a short-listing process.

The Committee Secretary clarified that the 19 to 20 February slot was for the selection process after receiving comments from the public, and information from SAP and from human resources (HR).

Ms Stander responded that short-listing should come after the feedback. She asked if the Committee could have the briefing first, as it would help the Committee with the consideration of whom to shortlist.

The Chairperson, referring to previous selection processes, said that the Committee accepted all the applications first and HR summarised all the curricula vitae (CVs) of all the applicants. The CVs had been given to the Members to go through before the meeting. The Members had gone through the master list, and the following day the Members had sat in again.

Ms Stander suggested that the master list should be given to the meeting, and that the Members should have it with them during the briefing.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked if the selection process and feedback would be the other way round --first feedback and then the selection process, or would it be changed?

The Chairperson answered in the affirmative.

Ms Khawula asked if the Committee considered age as a selection criterion.

The Chairperson said that there was no age, or any other, discrimination. She also expressed her wish that a person with albinism could be one of the commissioners.

Ms Tseke said it had been previously stated by the CGE that the majority of the commissioners were from Gauteng. It was difficult to take commissioners from Johannesburg and deploy them to other provinces, and it was costly.

Ms Khawula asked if males were allowed to apply.

The Chairperson replied that they could apply.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen suggested that a holding room be organised for people coming early and from far, and that it should be provided with water.

Ms Stander suggested that the point raised by Ms Newhoudt-Druchen should be budgeted for, and asked what the budget was for arranging logistics such as flights and accommodation. She suggested R100 000.

However, the Chairperson and Ms Tseke were against this suggestion, stating that there might be more applicants, as the Committee had to fill eight positions.

Ms Stander suggested the Committee submit 12 names, just in case one of the candidates did not take up the position.

Ms Stander indicated her concern regarding the deliberation on candidates, stating that one morning would not be enough. A full day would be required, and she suggested 19/20 March. She proposed that consideration and adoption of the report take place on the Friday of the week of 19 March. The report must meet the ATC requirements and go to the House for adoption before 31 March, but added that Parliament might even be closed due to political activities.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee keep the date for the report as 27 March, but the Committee should ensure that it finished the process before that date.

Ms Stander said that the Committee should sit even on weekends to ensure that the process was finished on time.

The Chairperson said that there were other Committees that may be affected by the process of the current Committee, such as Women’s Committee. She suggested that those who may be affected should tell the Committee in advance if they would not be available in the week for appointing candidates to the vacant positions.

Ms Tseke agreed to the changes in the report.

Ms Khawula seconded.

Consideration and adoption of draft advertisement

The Chairperson said there had been an issue as to whether CGE Commissioners who had served half a term should be allowed to reapply if they were interested. However, upon consulting with the Parliamentary legal team, the consideration was not approved, as according to the Act, even though they had served half a term, it counted as a full term.

Ms Stander argued that a member was eligible to apply unless the member had already served for two terms.

The Chairperson therefore requested that in paragraph 3 of page 1, the last sentence to be discarded all together.

Ms Stander asked if the applications or nominations should have a motivation.

The Chairperson said that typically, organisations motivated their nominations. However, individuals would have to motivate themselves. She observed that a motivation requirement was not included in the CGE Act, so a request for motivation could not be made.

Ms Khawula asked if the positions were for South Africans only.

Chairperson responded that this was sp.

She said that the due date for nominations was 10 December, but the closing date was flexible for application from the rural areas. It should be noted that the Committee would be required to check the post stamp and the date of postage. This was mainly due to the fact that applicants from rural areas may not have access to the internet and experience a delay from the post office services.

Ms Stander suggested that the advert to be released instantly to the public after adoption, through social networks.

Ms Khawula opposed the suggestion, stating that it might encourage some level of criminal activity. Moreover, the Committee had already defended a number of vacancies, where people had been required to pay for applications.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen suggested that the day the advert went to print should be the day it was shared on social media networks. It was not fair to share the advert now, as there were people who did not have access to social media.

Ms Stander further motivated her suggestion, stating that more opportunities were better than fewer. She added that a press release could be covered on community radio or in the news, particularly as potential applicants were being given an extension.

The Chairperson stated that the advertisement would not be released to social media networks, and the advert was adopted.

OISD: I irregularities in Commissioners’ term of office

Mr Kaya Zweni, Head: Office of Institutions Supporting Democracy, said that the OISD had been requested to follow up on irregularities permitting to the appointment of three commissioners -- Lulama Nare, Wallace Mgoqi and Lindelwa Bata.

He said that on Wednesday he had sent an email to the Presidency, addressed to the legal advisor who dealt with Chapter 9 institutions, indicating that there were discrepancies in terms of the three presidential minutes that were furnished by the CGE’s chief executive officer (CEO) to them.

Mr Zweni went through the presentation, but it was not handed out to the Members, It was then indicated that copies would be made available later. Even though the presentation was not made available to the Members, it was concluded that the appointment of the Commissioners had had some discrepancies, and was therefore unlawful.

The Chairperson stated that as the term of office for the Commissioners had ended, they should therefore leave office.

The Chairperson suggested that all the positions should be filled, even the positions that resumed in May/June. The commencement dates should be indicated in the report to avoid confusion.

Consideration and adoption of minutes

 

The minutes of the Ad Hoc Committee of 24 October 2018 to identify candidates suitable for filling the vacancies at Commission for Gender Equality, were adopted.

 

The meeting was adjourned.

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