The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture conducted its third day of interviews for candidates to be appointed to the Pan South African Languages Board (PanSALB).
The Committee interviewed six shortlisted candidates. The interviewed candidates were Mr Dennis Joseph Malunga Ngcangca, Mr Mashite Jacob Mogale, Ms Preetha Dabideen, Ms Prudence Chilwane, Ms Zanamuhle Primrose Khanyile and Mr Rowan Nicholls.
Committee members interviewed candidates on issues relating to PanSALB’s mandate according to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and PanSALB Act of 1995. They were also questioned on their individual unique skills and value sets in terms of relevance to the collective prosperity of PanSALB affairs, whilst meeting the appropriate interests of promoting the equal use of indigenous languages in both private and public sectors. Amongst other things, financial issues and ethical leadership were other key points of focus relating to corporate governance and conflict management.
Many of the candidates had strong academic and professional backgrounds in languages and corporate governance, and were thanked for expressing their patriotism. Each interview was 45 minutes long in total. They were asked the same set of questions. For example, they were asked about their stance or views on multilingualism, their viewpoint on PanSALB’s independence/dependence, what they would do differently, their opinion on PanSALB’s reporting structure, etc. Candidates were informed of the procedure to be taken after the Interviews that the committee would make recommendations to the Minister who would then select candidates to be appointed. The department would communicate the outcomes to both successful and unsuccessful candidates. The timeframe for when this would be finalised was not yet known.
Candidate one: Mr Dennis Joseph Malunga Ngcangca
The Chairperson asked if Mr Ngcangca had any prior experience serving in a board.
Mr T Makondo (ANC) asked how Mr Ngcangca would ensure what the constitution stated regarding the 11 official languages would find expression through PANSALB. He also asked him how he would ensure ethical leadership and integrity in the PanSALB.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) noted that she knew Mr Ngcangca from a past encounter with him. She asked him about his understanding of PanSALB’s mandate according to Section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. She further wanted to know about his stance on multilingualism and why he thought it was a necessity for both the public and private sectors.
Mr G Grootboom (DA) asked what set of skills he would bring to the board and if they would be of use to it to achieve its mandate. He wanted to find out about the kind of values he would be bringing to the board and how they would assist it.
The Chairperson asked how Mr Ngcangca would ensure the relationship between the board, Department of Arts and Culture and management was harmonious, keeping in mind these relations might not always be smooth.
Mr Makondo wanted to know Mr Ngcangca’s view regarding PanSALB’s independence. He indicated there was a view that PanSALB should be independent of the department because it was a constitutional entity or a Chapter 1 institution accountable to the Department of Arts and Culture, particularly the minister. The minister was continuing to have oversight over PanSALB and appointing the board.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate two: Mr Mashite Jacob Mogale
The Chairperson asked if Mr Mogale’s current employer was aware there were prospects of him being appointed to PanSALB. She asked if he was fully aware of the required disclosure procedures and she made him aware there were four scheduled meetings for PanSALB annually. She asked how he would juggle his responsibilities if he got appointed to the board.
Mr Makondo wanted to understand what his strategy would be to promote sidelined languages such as Nama and Khoi to reach equal status with English and Afrikaans. He further wanted to know how he would ensure ethical leadership and integrity in PanSALB, and if he understood the role of the Committee in the scheme of things. He asked him if he was foreseeing any possible conflict of interest if he got appointed; and wanted to find out if he understood what the role of PanSALB should be.
Ms Tsoleli asked him about his view on multilingualism and why he thought it was a necessary practice in both the public and private sectors. She wanted to understand what Mr Mogale would do to compel PanSALB to implement the Language and Policy Act; and asked what he could do to change previous trends in PanSALB based on his experience at Public Works.
Mr Grootboom asked what set of skills Mr Mogale would bring to the board and if these skills would be of use to it to achieve its mandate. He further asked what values he was bringing to the board and how these values would assist it.
The Chairperson wanted to establish how he would ensure PanSALB took Sign Language more seriously because it was now offered in schools as an examinable subject, not only for those with hearing impairment. She said it takes time for one to understand and appreciate sing language.
Mr Makondo wanted to know if Mr Mogale would ask the director-general of the department to comply if the department was not complying with the language policy if it was his duty to ensure all departments have a language policy. He also asked him why he thought government departments were not complying with language legislation.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate three: Ms Preetha Dabideen
The Chairperson asked what she thought of PanSALB’s independence/dependence when considering the various contestations on PanSALB’s reporting structure because PanSALB was a Chapter 1 institution according to the constitution, yet at the same time it was accountable to the Department of Arts and Culture.
Mr Makondo asked Ms Dabideen to repeat what she said about the Chief Justice’s relation to PanSALB. He also wanted to know her view on the reporting structure for PanSALB seeing that there was the department and minister exercising oversight and appointing the board. It further appeared he was agreeing with Ms Dabideen’s view that there was something in the Act that seemed not right and which must be corrected. He wanted to know what she would do, if appointed, to help Section 6 of the Constitution find full expression because it acknowledged the 11 official languages of South Africa as equal, but the reality was different in practice. English and Afrikaans have had more resources invested in them and that gave them a higher footing than the rest.
Mr Makondo wanted to find out what she would do to ensure money meant for service delivery was not used for corruption; and he probed if she would take action against her board colleagues if they had a different view from hers because government officials sometimes coerce board members to be part of enabling corruptive practices. He remarked that corruption was worse in government and SA has got a problem of corruption.
Ms Tsoleli asked her if she had ever served in a board or entity under the Department of Arts and Culture; wanted to find out about her understanding of PanSALB’s mandate in relation to the Act of 1995 and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa; and wanted to know the importance of promoting multilingualism in both the public and private sectors. She further wanted to understand what Ms Dabideen would do differently, something that has not been done in the past, if appointed to the board.
Mr Grootboom asked her how she would ensure that no language has hegemony over the others; and wanted to know if there was any conflict of interest that might jeopardise or compromise her chances of being appointed to PanSALB seeing that she was a member of the Tribunal of Kwazulu-Natal as well as the Treasury Board. He also asked what values she was bringing to PanSALB and how these values would assist the board.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate four: Ms Prudence Chilwane
Mr Makondo asked how Ms Chilwane would ensure everyone she works with behaves ethically and with integrity in the institution. He wanted to know her view on PanSALB being a Chapter 1 institution according to the constitution, yet it was accountable to the Department of Arts and Culture. He further wanted to find out how she would resolve conflict between the board and executives where, for instance, the executives would feel there was interference from the board or it misunderstood oversight because there was a blurred line between intervening and interference.
Ms Tsoleli asked for Ms Chilwane’s opinion on PanSALB’s reporting structure; and wanted to find out what her stance was on multilingualism and why she thought it was a necessary practice for both the public and private sectors.
The Chairperson remarked that PanSALB should be an independent body but it was expected that no ill would be spoken of those in charge of finances. She then questioned how the independence of the board was going to thrive if it does not have total control over the entity’s finances. She said she feels PanSALB’s independence was affected by their financial dependence on the department.
Mr Makondo asked for her views on how PanSALB was meant to carry out its mandate based on Subsection 5 of Section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa; noting that it was a unique government entity compared to those in other departments.
The Chairperson requested Ms Chilwane to do further research on PanSALB’s mandate before suggesting what needed to be amended.
Mr Grootboom asked for Ms Chilwane’s understanding of PanSALB’s mandate in relation to the PanSALB Act of 1995 and Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. He also wanted to know what values she would bring to PanSALB and how they would be useful.
Mr Makondo asked her if it would be possible to achieve equal treatment for all South African languages, without using English and Afrikaans as the standard or base for translations.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate five: Ms Zanamuhle Primrose Khanyile
Mr Makondo probed for her experience in serving as a member of the Audit and Risk Committee. He asked how she would ensure ethical leadership and integrity on the board as part of her oversight responsibilities; and wanted to establish if she would stand against an unfair chairperson.
Ms Tsoleli had concerns that Ms Khanyile was promoting her own language, isiZulu. She stated that PanSALB’s mandate was to ensure all languages were treated equally. She wanted to know her understanding of the PanSALB mandate according to the Constitution and the 1995 PanSALB Act; and enquired what she would do to promote indigenous languages. She further asked if Ms Khanyile was still a part of the Ditsong Museums which have been performing poorly; wanted to find out what she would do differently, if appointed to the board, especially when considering she was from a poorly performing board which was also under the Department of Arts and Culture; and wanted to establish what her stance was on multilingualism and why she thought it was a necessary practice for both the public and private sectors.
The Chairperson commented there was a previous candidate from a TVET college who complained of English being the only language used in TVET colleges of South Africa. She wanted to know if Ms Khanyile was subscribing to that school of thought.
Mr Grootboom, first, wanted to find out what role she played in investigating or mitigating the 25% wastage in expenditure from the Ditsong Museums. Second, he asked what she would do if her board colleagues plotted to act in violation of the law or policy. Third, he enquired what her values were and how these would assist the board.
The Chairperson wanted to know what the board of Ditsong Museums did to investigate the reported wastage on expenditure because it had unproductive personnel for years and a number of issues arose as a result. Skilled people were not doing the work in line of their expertise. She wanted to understand what Ms Khanyile done as a member of the Human Resources department to identify the irregularities the Portfolio Committee was able to identify within a day. Finally, she wanted to find out if she was prepared to stand for what was right even when board colleagues older than her were going against legislation and policy. She warned her that if she chose to be sidelined, intimidated and not confront issues, then that would affect her integrity which takes a lifetime to build.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate six: Mr Rowan Nicholls
Mr Makondo asked Mr Nicholls if he had ever been caught in a compromising situation caused by other board or committee members he previously worked with, something that tarnished his reputation. He further enquired how he would handle similar cases in future.
Ms Tsoleli wanted to establish if he understood the importance of multilingualism for both the public and private sectors. She said the private sector was currently not doing well in promoting multilingualism. She further wanted to know his understanding of the use of indigenous languages in line with Section 6 of the Constitution; and asked if he understood PanSALB’s role in ensuring the use of indigenous languages in academic and other public institutions. She also asked how he would ensure indigenous languages were afforded the same status as other languages.
Mr Grootboom asked for Mr Nicholl’s understanding of the PanSALB mandate according to the Act of 1995 and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Mr Makondo wanted to find out if Mr Nicholls had taken time to look at or study the PanSALB Act of 1995.
The Chairperson asked what he thought of PanSALB’s independence/dependence when considering the various contestations on PanSALB’s reporting structure because PanSALB was a Chapter 1 institution according to the constitution, yet at the same time it was accountable to the Department of Arts and Culture.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Pan South African Language Board Interviews day 3 - part 1
- Pan South African Language Board Interviews day 3 - part 2
- Pan South African Language Board Interviews day 3 - part 5
- Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) Interviews 2
- Pan South African Language Board Interviews day 3 - part 4
- Pan South African Language Board Interviews day 3 - part 6
- Pan South African Language Board Interviews day 3: deliberations
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