The Committee conducted interviews of candidates for Commissioners on the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE).
The Committee had shortlisted 24 candidates on 23 February 2019. Committee Members tested candidates on issues relating to governance, regulation, legislation, policies, ethics, challenges, amalgamation of Chapter 9 Institutions, suggestions for improvement, reduction of violence against disadvantaged groups, gender pay-gap, female unemployment, social cohesion, role of sex-workers, employment of women in Senior Management, termination of pregnancy, preventative measures, core principles of the Commission on Gender Equality, and other Commission-related issues.
Candidates who were previously Commissioners were asked what challenges they had identified, what suggestions they had going forward, and what they had contributed to the Commission.
The Committee informed the candidates of the processes and proceeded to interview all candidates.
The Chairperson welcomed the Committee said that, wherever Members were, she was sure that everyone had enjoyed their International Women’s Day. She mentioned that she had been in Sandton on International Women’s Day, where she had listened to young women raise pertinent issues about the high rate of cases of violence against women, including rape. What she had also found interesting were the discussions around reproductive health, where one woman had said that young women were dying due to reproductive health programmes.
The Chairperson hoped that, since it was the first day of interviews, the Committee would ask questions that were in line with the Commission for Gender Equality Act No. 39 of 1996. She was confident that all Members were familiar with the Act. She said that she was confident that Members knew how to use the legislation and the Bill of Rights in relation to human rights issues and that Members would ask candidates about some of that legislation. The Chairperson officially declared the meeting opened.
The Chairperson stated that Members were supposed to have been given a report on the outcomes of the verification of qualifications by the Human Resources Department before the meeting, but they now had copies of the report. With reference to the State Security Agency (SSA) report, she said that the Committee had received a report which was not complete but that it was fine to use the incomplete report to interview the candidates.
The Chairperson explained that Members were free to ask candidates questions based on the reports before them. She said that as a Committee they had agreed to allow candidates to explain themselves regarding the outcome of their individual reports. The Chairperson emphasised that there was nothing stopping Members from asking any questions, including where there were any discrepancies concerning the qualifications of candidates. The Chairperson said that she had received a phone call from the Acting Chairperson of the CGE who had requested that a candidate’s interview be shifted to the afternoon as the candidate was scheduled to go to New York and was to have an interview with the US Ambassador in the morning. She had agreed to shift the candidate and that candidate would be the last interview for the day. She thus took it that the Committee Secretary had adjusted the candidates.
The Chairperson said that a score sheet had been drafted and was in the package before each Member. She explained that Members were going to score each candidate on a scale from 1-10 where the score sheet indicated ‘points awarded’. She said that it was up to each Member to decide how many points they would award each candidate and that they were to write their comments on the side of the sheet. The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee would talk about the outcome of the SSA report as had been agreed and that candidates would be given the opportunity to explain themselves. She urged Members to remember that they had already shortlisted the candidates, so it was no longer their choice to interview the candidates, it was a legally constituted list. Where a person had been shortlisted, there was no way for that person to be withdrawn.
Shortlisted candidates would be entering the interview room, and Members were to ask them questions. She indicated that each candidate would be given 45 minutes which was to be divided into five minutes per Member.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked whether that time would include responses from candidates?
The Chairperson responded, saying that two minutes would be allocated for the Member to ask questions and three minutes for the candidate to provide an answer. She stated that Members and candidates were not going to give any background as they were to get straight to the answer. Regarding issues raised by the SSA, the Chairperson said that maybe the Committee could be granted another two minutes to address those issues. She emphasised that candidates were not to give background and that she did not want any histories as it would take too much time.
The Chairperson stated that Ms M Khawula (EFF) and Dr S Thembekwayo (EFF) (Alt) were to assist each other as one was a permanent Member and the other an Alternate. In terms of voting, she said that Alternate Members did not vote and that only permanent Members voted but that today everyone would score the candidates. She added that Ms Khawula was not to raise any issues in Zulu as the Committee was to remain focused. She asked where Ms Khawula’s interpreters were and why she had to raise that issue in every meeting? She emphasised that there should be no need for her to ask the question as it should be taken that Ms Khawula’s interpreters should be present.
The Chairperson introduced herself and all staff members present in the meeting.
The Committee Members proceeded to introduce themselves.
The Chairperson referred to the agenda which stated that the Committee was to deal with the Consideration and adoption of the Committee progress report. She said that the Committee should not deal with the report at that time as it would take too long and suggested that it be dealt with on the Thursday. She asked Members to confirm that they had all the tools that would be needed for the interviews.
Ms Tseke if there was any input from the public that could be used in the process as they had not yet received public comments.
The Chairperson replied that the report on public comments had been given out a long time ago. In fact, when they had summarised the CVs of the candidates, some of the comments were included. She asked the Committee Secretary where the public comments were and if copies could be made for all Members as they could help the Committee. The Chairperson added that that is why it was important to have the SSA report even if it was not complete.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu. No interpretation was provided.
The Chairperson confirmed that all Members had the list of candidates.
Ms T Stander (DA) asked who was responsible for organising Ms Khawula’s interpreter? She said that, in order for fairness to be ensured, the Committee’s process would have to be delayed so that Ms Khawula could participate fairly in the Committee. She stated that she did not know whether anyone had made contact with the Translation Services to find out why there was no translator. She went on to explain that they lived in a multi-lingual country and that there was a standing arrangement for Ms Khawula to have interpreters at every meeting. However, these interpreters were not there. Ms Stander said that she did not know whether the Committee could proceed without Ms Khawula’s interpreters being present.
The Chairperson responded that the person responsible for ensuring that Ms Khawula had an interpreter was the Committee Secretary who had informed the Translation Services the previous day. She stated that the email that the Committee Secretary had sent her the previous day at 11:00 had also been sent to the Translation Services. She did not know what the problem was with Parliament in terms of organising those things. It was an inconvenience for the Committee and Ms Khawula.
Ms Stander interrupted, saying that it was a human rights issue.
The Chairperson agreed with Ms Stander and said that it was not correct as Parliament had to ensure that the interpreter was present when the meeting started. In fact, she pointed out that the interpreter should have been there by then as the Committee had started with tea at 09:00.
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) said that she was unsure about Ms Stander saying that the Committee could not start. Firstly, the problem was around the calculations that had been made regarding the time allocated to Members for questions as it should be considered that where there were interpreters, questioning would take much longer. She said that she understood Ms Stander’s concern and re-emphasised her concern regarding the calculated time and that consideration should be made where there is an interpreter, especially where the interpreter was to interpret for Ms Khawula. Ms Morutoa said that it was a different case for people of sign language as they were much quicker than people who are speaking aloud.
Ms Stander respected what other Members had said on the issue. She repeated that that was a human rights issue and that no one’s rights were more important than another’s regardless of whether it was sign-language, isiZulu or a sight impairment. She pointed out that, according to the programme, they were already half an hour late and were supposed to have started with the first candidate at 10 am.
Ms Stander said that it needed to be ensured, as Ms Khawula was not an Alternate Member but rather a permanent Committee Member, that while the questioning and answering was in process that the interpreter interpreted at the same time. Ms Khawula who would in turn be able to discuss the issues with her interpreter. She maintained that the Committee should wait as no one’s human rights were more important or less important than someone else’s even though the Committee was already late.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was not going to wait. She asked Dr Thembekwayo to assist Ms Khawula for the first candidate as the Committee needed to continue with the first candidate.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu. No interpretation was provided.
The Chairperson responded, saying that a letter would be written to the Speaker on behalf of the Committee.
Ms Morutoa said that she did not want the Committee to wrap the issue up without understanding each other. She mentioned that her contribution was not against the points raised by another person and that she was just mentioning that the Committee had overlooked the issue of time. There was nothing for the Committee to debate about as she seconded what Ms Stander was saying.
Ms Stander apologised for the misunderstanding.
The Chairperson pointed out that everyone had the same understanding as Ms Stander. In fact, Ms Morutoa was cautioning the Committee, insofar as the minutes had been allocated for each Member and candidate, not to forget that Ms Khawula was to have an interpreter and that the interpreter would take more time. She indicated that two minutes had been added to the time of those who required more explanation from candidates. She said that the Committee had to manage its time better as that would only be to the benefit of the Committee. However, she said that if Members start giving background and delaying, they would forfeit their two minutes. The Chairperson stated that the Content Advisor would be the time-keeper and that once two minutes has been exceeded, she would indicate that the time was up, and that Member would have missed the opportunity to ask her questions. She hoped that Members would be disciplined as she, unfortunately, was going to be very strict.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) knew that there was not a lot of time to go through the progress report and said that she had glanced through it.
The Chairperson stopped Ms Newhoudt-Druchen and repeated that the progress report was going to be disregarded for today’s meeting and had to be put aside. Members had to concentrate only on the interviews that day.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that she understood this but, in case she forgot another time or was not present for a meeting, she wanted the Committee Secretary to note that the draft report had to include the issue of the interpreter for Ms Khawula. That was not in the report and had to be put in as it was being brought up time and time again in meetings. Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that the issue was not the letter to whoever was responsible for interpreters, the issue was the request coming from the Committee Secretary which should be enough. She raised that, in the list of nominations and among people who had applied, there was a deaf person and if she had been shortlisted, she would have requested an interpreter. Would the Translation Services have been able to provide another sign-language interpreter?
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked why Members of Parliament always had to struggle with getting that service? She pointed out that Ms Khawula had been a Member for the past five years and she could not understand why it was always a struggle to fulfil that request. If it had been a candidate who had needed an interpreter, would that have been possible? She wanted that noted in the report and wanted the Committee to make sure it was there.
The Chairperson responded, saying that what Ms Newhoudt-Druchen was raising was profound but that was exactly what she was trying to avoid: issues that Member wanted to add would be added when discussing the report. She added that there was no way that Ms Newhoudt-Druchen would not be part of the meeting and that she should write it down and raise those points on Thursday.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should not waste time and get started as there were candidates who needed to fly back, and she would not allow the Committee to incur fruitless costs by prolonging the process. The Chairperson asked Members if the Committee could proceed with the interviews.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu. No interpretation was provided.
The Chairperson asked Ms Khawula’s interpreter, who had just arrived, why the Committee always had to delay their meetings because the interpreter was not present despite making the request early. She asked who was responsible for that.
Ms Khawula spoke in isiZulu. No interpretation was provided.
A staff member from the Translation Services apologised for what had happened. As far as she knew, she had received a request which was sent to the Unit Manager and copied to her as a Supervisor. She said that the request had been for the whole week and that the Translation Services had offered to send an interpreter.
The Chairperson stopped her and requested a response in writing by the following day.
Ms Khawula agreed with the Chairperson and added that she would otherwise open a case against the Translation Services as it was undermining her.
The Chairperson asked the Committee to sit down and moved to proceed with the process.
Candidate one: Ms Magdalene Moonsamy
The Chairperson reminded Ms Moonsamy that the interviews were open and transparent and told her to feel free and relaxed. She added that she would leave it to the Members to introduce themselves. She explained that Members were going to ask Ms Moonsamy questions and that she had 45 minutes with the Members, allowing her enough time to think and apply her mind when answering questions. The Chairperson continued, saying that Ms Moonsamy had three minutes to respond and would be stopped when the time had been exceeded. Ms Moonsamy was not to give any history or background and was to try as best as she could to get straight to the answer. Lastly, she said that Ms Moonsamy was free to ask Members to repeat their questions where she had not heard them properly. The Chairperson asked Members to introduce themselves.
Ms Morutoa suggested that Members introduce themselves as they ask their questions.
The Chairperson acknowledged that Ms Morutoa was managing time. She asked Ms Moonsamy to tell the Committee who she was, where she came from and for a brief motivation about herself. She explained that anything Ms Moonsamy could tell the committee anything she wished.
Ms Morutoa explained that in South Africa, the representation of women was at 42%. She asked how Ms Moonsamy, if she were to be appointed as a Commissioner, would deal with the obstacles hindering women from participating in politics as she had indicated that she had been an activist in politics for quite a long time. Secondly, she asked how the Commission could address those barriers to ensure that women were adequately represented.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen referred to the skills, background and legal activism of Ms Moonsamy as well as violence against women, children, the LGBTQI+ community, people with albinism, and people with disabilities. She asked, were Ms Moonsamy to be appointed on the CGE with the background that she had, what she would do to change things and improve it as sometimes it was said that the Commission was not visible.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) said that she had listened very carefully and that of course, Ms Moonsamy was an activist and passionate about the issues of women and children. The reality was that the CGE had not been able to successfully address many of the challenges that women faced, and there were a number of challenges at the Commission. Having looked at the Commission, she asked whether Ms Moonsamy felt that she had made a meaningful impact. If so, she asked whether Ms Moonsamy could tell her of some of the successes that she thought they had been able to achieve and if not, whether she could identify some of the shortcomings of the CGE and how she would tackle those issues. Ms van der Merwe then asked why Ms Moonsamy thought the CGE was failing in successfully addressing gender-based violence at a policy level and what some of her suggestions were in that regard. Lastly, she asked what Ms Moonsamy thought the CGE should be doing in terms of addressing the gender pay-gap which stood at 27%, as well as her thoughts on the issue.
The Chairperson said that the problem was that Ms Van der Merwe has asked three, if not four, questions.
Ms van der Merwe was sure that Ms Moonsamy was able to answer all of them.
Ms Moonsamy asked Ms van der Merwe to repeat the last question.
The Chairperson said that Ms Moonsamy should try to answer the questions, but that when the three minutes were up, she would be done. However, she said that Ms Van der Merwe was not fair as she asked one question, then a second question which included legislation.
Ms Van der Merwe suggested that the last question be left out as Ms Moonsamy had not gotten it.
The Chairperson said that the Committee forgave Ms van der Merwe as she had not been present when Members were discussing the approach that the Committee would take. She told Ms Moonsamy to start answering the first question and if she could manage the second question, that would be fine.
Dr P Maesela (ANC) said that, as an aspiring legal eagle, Ms Moonsamy was in a democracy in which neither constitutionalism or institutionalism had not been able to solve the problems of gender inequality. He asked her what she thought an alternative remedial activity could be. He explained that he was looking for a solution, not a definition of the problem. He then asked Ms Moonsamy what the essence of her integration would be, if she were to be elected, that would shift the paradigm.
Ms Tseke asked how Ms Moonsamy would ensure that the CGE left a footprint in rural areas, taking note that most provincial offices were located in urban areas. She explained that CGE as a Chapter Nine Institution had made many recommendations to many government departments, government entities and even within the private sector. Further, the CGE had made many reports on the performance and status of gender equality and the challenges it faced in the country. Ms Tseke said that some, if not many, of the institutions in the country had not implemented the recommendations. She asked what steps Ms Moonsamy would take, if appointed, to ensure that CGE’s recommendations were implemented by these entities.
Ms Stander said that currently the CGE was facing a difficult time. She agreed that the CGE was underbudgeted and underfunded with a huge mandate that they were not really achieving. With the changing over of Commissioners, she explained that there had been somewhat of a disconnect between the Commissioners themselves and that there would also be a Chairperson vacancy that had arisen from the process. She asked if Ms Moonsamy was interested in applying for the Chairperson position and if so, how she would bring the organisation to be a united one-directional ship where everybody was on board, as well as how she would manage the leadership and its personal skills. Ms Stander them asked how Ms Moonsamy would influence cohesiveness within the organisation as an ordinary Commissioner if she was not going to apply for the Chairperson position, whether part-time or full-time.
Ms Khawula, in trying to focus on the issue of affirmative action, asked how Ms Moonsamy would address the issue of the number of women, especially black women, in South Africa who were not being appointed into or occupying higher positions. She asked how Ms Moonsamy would assist in ensuring that black female South Africans were given the opportunity to occupy those senior positions if she were to be appointed. She gave the example of an occurrence in Appelsbosch where nurses were being assaulted by a senior male in the hospital. She asked how Ms Moonsamy would address and assist with that issue.
Mrs D Robinson (DA) said that women were denigrated in many ways and that the abuse of women was great, both of which could be attributed to patriarchy. She asked Ms Moonsamy how the CGE could bring about a fundamental change in society and within the family structure. She asked what strategy Ms Moonsamy would suggest and implement through the CGE.
Dr Thembekwayo said that one of the principles of CGE was to avoid a culture of ostentation. If appointed as a Commissioner, she asked how Ms Moonsamy would ensure that the culture of ostentation was avoided when dealing with gender issues.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) pointed out that Ms Moonsamy had applied for the position of Commissioner and asked for her understanding of the core functions of the CGE and how she would ensure that those core functions were implemented or recognised.
Dr Maesela attempted to ask another question.
The Chairperson interrupted to say that the questions were closed. She asked if Ms Moonsamy had any questions for the Committee pertaining to CGE, her package or any other concern. She said that the Committee took it that Ms Moonsamy would have looked at how much the package was on the website and that everyone who was to be interviewed knew how much full-time and part-time Commissioners were being reimbursed. She explained that the Committee did not have this information on them but asked if there was anything else that Ms Moonsamy wanted to discuss before leaving.
Ms Moonsamy asked if Dr Maesela could ask the question he had wanted to ask.
The Chairperson said that unfortunately Dr Maesela had forfeited his turn because he should have asked the question when he was in the process of asking questions. She indicated that Ms Moonsamy would be informed of the outcome in due course and wished her a safe trip.
Refer to the audio for responses
Candidate two: Ms Jennifer Smout
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Smout. She explained that Ms Smout had only 45 minutes in the room and that two minutes were added to allow for interpretation. She told Ms Smout to feel free to ask Members questions or to repeat themselves if she had not heard a question. The Chairperson explained that before each Member asked a question, he or she would introduce him or herself and that Ms Smout was not to take long or give any background as that would result in her forfeiting her question and not receiving any points. Ms Smout was to get straight to her answers. She asked Ms Smout to tell the Committee about herself and why she thought she was a suitable candidate for the post.
Ms Khawula interrupted to say that she had only received one scoring sheet and did not have one for that candidate.
The Chairperson reminded Members to disregard the progress report and only concentrate on the score sheets. She asked Ms Khawula not to disturb the candidate next time as this was unfair because candidates had prepared for the interviews. She said that the Committee would give Ms Smout an extra two minutes.
Ms Khawula apologised.
The Chairperson apologised to Ms Smout.
Ms Maluleke said that when Ms Smout had applied for the position, she would have had an understanding of the core functions and powers of the CGE. She asked Ms Smout to share her understanding on that.
Ms Stander asked whether Ms Smout believed that the CGE was a political environment and how she would handle the human rights for sex workers in the current environment.
Ms Khawula raised the example of the current floods being faced in KwaMashu. She asked, if given the opportunity to be appointed as a Commissioner, how Ms Smout would assist the CGE as those houses were occupied by grannies and their grandchildren but had not been properly built nor were they good enough to be occupied by women. Secondly, she asked how Ms Smout was going to assist in bringing back and restoring women’s dignity and how she was going to ensure that women were not discriminated against, economic issues were addressed, and their land rights were restored. Ms Khawula pointed out that there was also a challenge that was currently being faced, especially amongst women who were employed by Chinese people, as those women were not receiving their maternity rights. She thus asked how Ms Smout was going to assist the CGE so that women’s dignities and rights were restored.
The Chairperson interrupted to say that Ms Smout only had three minutes and that she, upon listening to the questions Ms Khawula had asked, had noticed that there were more than three questions. She said that Ms Smout would be allowed to answer only two questions.
Ms Stander said that there should be an agreement going forward that Members ask only one quick question and then one question that requires deeper thinking. She acknowledged that Ms Khawula’s questions were three good questions but required three minutes each. She added that it was also difficult to ask the candidate to pick two questions.
The Chairperson said that there was no way that the Committee would treat a candidate unfairly as candidates had only three minutes and Members two minutes. She said that Members were taking most of the time to relate long stories and that candidates also wanted to present issues and answer the questions. She pleaded with Members not to be unfair. As she could not prescribe how Members asked the candidates questions, she asked Members not to put candidates in an unfair situation whereby they have to start by giving a background and explaining something else before coming to the answer. She told Ms Smout that she only had three minutes and that it was up to her if she wanted to answer all three questions.
Ms Van der Merwe said that it was good to hear that Ms Smout was very passionate about the issues she was articulating and that it was always good to have a feminist amongst the Committee. She stated that Ms Smout was an expert on the issues of gender-based violence and asked why she thought the CGE was failing in the war against gender-based violence at a policy level, and if she could provide a critique and some suggestions. Ms Vander Merwe also asked what Ms Smout thought that the CGE, as a body, should be doing in terms of addressing the gender pay-gap.
Ms Morutoa said that she knew Ms Smout had a lot of experience as far as she had seen in her CV. She indicated that Ms Smout was quite conversant with the Sustainable Development Goals, especially number five, in terms of the elimination of all harmful practices. She asked Ms Smout to explain what she would do about some of the cultural practices that women in the country were still subjected to, if she were to be appointed as a Commissioner.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that Ms Smout had mentioned everything in terms of vulnerable groups but had not mentioned people with disabilities. She explained that an increase in violence has been seen against people with disabilities who could not speak for themselves as well as an increase in violence against people with albinism by killing them for their body parts for muti, etc. With all of Ms Smout’s experience, research and work, and if she were to be appointed on the CGE, what could she do to make sure that violence against all vulnerable groups decreased or that awareness was increased in the various areas of society for the silent groups who were not vocal enough.
Mrs Robinson said that Ms Smout had mentioned some of the practices that were harmful but had not referred to female genital mutilation (FGM) which, according to her information, was increasing. She asked if Ms Smout had any idea about that and linked it with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and justice system, which was inadequate, to ask how Ms Smout would see her role within the Commission in highlighting the issue and bringing it to the attention of the law-makers and those who provided budgets.
Dr Maesela stated that everyone talks about the systemic and institutional problems about inequality but that nobody talked about the genesis or causative agents of gender inequality. He explained that if the disease was not diagnosed properly, proper medication could not be prescribed to efficiently terminate it. He asked how Ms Smout would solve the conflict of gender inequality and motivate communities toward dealing with the inter-personal problems. He asked how Ms Smout intended to deal with systemic, institutional and gender inequality problems. Lastly, he asked if inequality problems could be solved through legislation.
Dr Thembekwayo stated that Ms Smout had furnished the Committee with her CV showing the chronological particulars of her employment or work experience since leaving school. She mentioned that Ms Smout had been employed, most importantly, by UNICEF as a researcher on the Triangle Project to address violence against women and specifically LGBTIQA+ persons. She had also worked at various NGOs as a writer and researcher. She stated that transgender persons were experiencing a problem at Home Affairs with regard to the application of ID cards and their identity. Dr Thembekwayo asked Ms Smout how she would help in that regard, and with the problems that they were facing in the Western Cape, specifically regarding the housing problem.
Ms Tseke asked how Ms Smout, were she to be appointed as a Commissioner, would make sure that the CGE would have a footprint in rural areas, taking note that most provincial offices were located in urban areas. Ms Tseke also asked if the recommendations of the CGE were binding in Ms Smout’s view.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Smout for coming and asked if she had any questions for the Committee.
Ms Smout said that she knew that there was an investigation into amalgamating the Chapter 9 Institutions and that it was the recommendation of Parliament that the CGE not be one of those institutions. She added that she had not been able to find out any information on what had happened to that discussion and whether it would be taken forward. She supported the view of the parliamentary Committees that the CGE needed to remain separate from the others as it represented more than 52% of the population. She added that the Commission represented everybody as everybody was a gendered person.
Adv Herman Tembe, Legal Advisor from the parliamentary Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy (OISD), explained that the study had been done but that the report had not been finalised to say that a particular direction would be taken and thus the report was still with his office.
Mrs Robinson stated that she had been under the impression that the decision had been that there would be no amalgamation of GCE.
The Chairperson added that was what she had thought as well but that she did not want to put herself in the position where somebody would come and ask her what was happening. She thought that the mere fact that the Committee was continuing with the identification of suitable candidates meant that the decision had been made. She said that if there were any changes, candidates would be informed. For now, the Committee would work with what they knew and had before them.
Ms Morutoa said that the status quo remained and that nothing had been announced or tabled in parliament as yet.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Smout for coming and said that she would be informed of the results in due course.
Refer to audio for responses
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee was skipping a candidate who was meant to be interviewed.
Candidate three: Ms Mmbatho Ramagoshi
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Ramagoshi. She explained that each Members was going to ask Ms Ramagoshi questions but that she had only 45 minutes with the Committee. Each Member had two minutes to ask a question and Ms Ramagoshi would have three minutes to answer. The Chairperson added that Ms Ramagoshi was not to give any history or background as it would take too much time. Ms Ramagoshi was to go straight to the answer; otherwise she would end up not answering the question at all. She explained that the same applied to Members – if they told stories and ended up not asking the question, they would forfeit their opportunity. She asked Ms Ramagoshi to tell the Committee about herself and why she thought that she was a suitable candidate for the post.
Ms Khawula asked Ms Ramagoshi, if she were appointed as a Commissioner, how she would assist the CGE in helping people with disabilities so that they are equipped with skills and are employable. She also asked how Ms Ramagoshi was going to ensure that even where people with disabilities were allocated RDP houses, that they were able to access those houses. Ms Khawula added that there was also the issue, even when they are given the opportunity to have houses, of the houses being able to accommodate the people and their children. She asked how Ms Ramagoshi was going to assist them in becoming independent and not rely on grants, which was the case at the moment.
Ms Robinson mentioned that her concern lay with the abused, those who had suffered violence and the fact that despite having good laws, women were not being protected. She added that there were major problems with the police, criminal justice system and social development. She asked how Ms Ramagoshi could use her position to influence the budget-making process and law-makers to take those issues seriously.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen noted Ms Ramagoshi’s previous experience at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as well as the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). She said that an increase in violence was seen towards people with disabilities, people with albinism and the LGBTQIA+ community. She added that sometimes she wondered about children and teenagers who were watching a lot of violence on television, in videos and in gaming. If Ms Ramagoshi were to be appointed to the CGE, how she would use her experience to work with the SABC and NFVF to make sure that they restricted programmes that were not suitable for children in terms of violence. She gave an example of where a child skipped school, the parents were working, no one was home, and the child was watching a lot of violence. She explained that that could lead to the violence currently being faced in society, and at schools, against people with disabilities as well as abuse towards elderly women. Ms Newhoudt-Druchen wondered if that violence was because of television. She asked Ms Ramagoshi how she would assist with that issue at a CGE level.
Dr Maesela said that he was still trying to formulate his question but that it would have to do.
The Chairperson asked if Ms Morutoa had her question ready instead.
Ms Morutoa continued from the previous question as her question was also about media and film. She asked Ms Ramagoshi what changes she thought were needed within the film and media industry in terms of advancing gender equality. Because Ms Ramagoshi was an educator, Ms Morutoa also asked what she thought the role of school-based curricula was in promoting gender equality.
Ms Tseke asked whether Ms Ramagoshi thought that the CGE was still relevant today or whether she supported the proposal of amalgamating the CGE with other Chapter 9 Institutions. In brief and if Ms Ramagoshi had time, Ms Tseke also asked whether the recommendations of CGE were binding and if not, what her advice to the legislature was.
Ms Van der Merwe noted that Ms Ramagoshi had once been a Director in the Department of Women in the Presidency. She said that there was a challenge in the fact that both the Department of Women in the Presidency and the CGE had limited resources yet seemed to be working in silos. She said that it was often found that they were prioritising the same projects in the same areas but did not seem to have a good working relationship. Having come from this background and if she were to be given the opportunity to serve as a Commissioner on the CGE, Ms Van der Merwe asked what Ms Ramagoshi would do to strengthen the relationship between the CGE and the Department of Women in the Presidency.
Ms Van der Merwe also asked what Ms Ramagoshi would do to ensure that there was greater respect for the CGE emanating from government. She explained that it was often found that when the CGE was looking for information that they were often dismissed and that there was a culture of disrespect or lack of understanding for the mandate and job that the CGE had to do. If appointed to the Commission, Ms Van der Merwe asked what Ms Ramagoshi would do to ensure that there was greater understanding and respect from government for the CGE, as well as a better working relationship with the Department of Women in the Presidency.
Dr Thembekwayo mentioned that, during the period 2002-2007 as a Director of gender equity in the Department of Education, Ms Ramagoshi had developed various policies for gender and monitored its implementation at provincial and national levels. She said that her question was based on sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in schools was not reducing but that there was rather an increase thereof. Secondly, she mentioned that when Ms Ramagoshi was a manager, she had engaged and trained school governing bodies on sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools. She repeated that there had been no improvement thus far and that there was an escalation regarding the matter instead. If she were to be appointed as a Commissioner, Dr Thembekwayo asked what Ms Ramagoshi would do to curb this escalation. She asked if Ms Ramagoshi would be prepared to go back and evaluate her policies and/or training programmes, and in the form of a questionnaire, find out what was causing this the escalation.
Dr Maesela asked Ms Ramagoshi to indulge him as there was something that had touched his mind when she was talking. He stated that a sangoma and doctor/general practitioner dealt with diseases in a different way – one was scientific and the other sangomised – but that they both tried to get the patient to survive. Dr Maesela said that Ms Ramagoshi was talking about gender violence, which was not a stand-alone thing as it is formed by relations of power. He added that the relations of power were informed by societal and systemic imperatives and that those problems could not be solved by sangomising or diagnosing if it was not understood that there was a patient who needed to be cured. He said that it was the socialisation of children that created these problems. The socialisation being used on children is informed by the mode of production.
Dr Maesela said that as long as there was still poverty, which was man-made, gender and inequality problems could not be solved because they had been socialised to protect the mode of production. He added that that meant that their minds were captured.
The Chairperson asked Dr Maesela to ask his question as he was running out of time.
Dr Maesela asked Ms Ramagoshi, as she had been in the position of Director-General, what she had done to promote equality and prevent unfair discrimination – which was one of the labour laws. He asked Ms Ramagoshi to tell the Committee about what she had done.
Ms Maluleke noted that Ms Ramagoshi had a lot of knowledge and experience on gender issues. She asked how Ms Ramagoshi would ensure that the CGE could be visible, especially in rural areas.
Ms Stander stated that during the period of September 2015 to August 2017, Ms Ramagoshi was the Director-General within the Department of Women in the Presidency. She added that Ms Ramagoshi’s role was very similar to her roles from 1998 to 2002 when she was also working within the government sector. The roles and strategies that Ms Ramagoshi had implemented in 1998 were quite similar to those of today. For example, Ms Stander mentioned the 365 days of activism, the researching of policy, the monitoring of policy, the One-Stop Centres versus the Thuthuzela Centres and the National Network of Violence Against Women, all of which had been implemented since 1998.
Today, in 2019, the Department of Women in the Presidency did not have a meaningful impact on gender issues in South Africa. During Ms Ramagoshi’s tenure and with all of her experience from 1998, Ms Stander asked what Ms Ramagoshi had monitored and evaluated. She pointed out that Ms Ramagoshi had specifically said monitoring and evaluating in her CV and so she was asking which policies she had monitored, what her evaluation was on each of the policies and why they hadn’t worked. Ms Stander said that she had heard Ms Ramagoshi on consequence management but was asking her which policies she had monitored, what her evaluations were and what kind of reports she would have submitted to the President.
The Chairperson asked if Ms Ramagoshi had any questions for the Committee.
Ms Ramagoshi thought that as much as the Committee wanted to hold the CGE accountable, they were not holding government accountable. She said that she wanted to see the Committee call in all of the departments, not just the Department of Women in the Presidency. She explained that gender mainstreaming did not just concern the Department of Women in the Presidency as, in this country and within the Department, there were only three female Director-Generals. She concluded that someone had to hold those Ministers accountable.
The Chairperson said that that was a good point but that, unfortunately, the Committee was an Ad Hoc Committee dealing strictly with the filling of vacancies, unlike the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency. She said that, fortunately, most Members who were present were serving in that Committee and that in the next administration, Members would put it in their recommendation. The Chairperson then wished Ms Ramagoshi a safe journey home.
Refer to audio for responses
The Chairperson asked if Members wanted to break for lunch or continue onto the next candidate.
Members agreed that they wanted to continue onto the next candidate.
Candidate four: Ms Tasneem Fredericks
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Fredericks and explained that she had only 45 minutes with the Committee – three minutes were for her to answer the questions and two minutes were for Members to ask the questions. She told Ms Fredericks not to take long in terms of providing background and history when answering the questions as she was to get straight to the point. She added that there were two extra minutes as one of the candidates made use of an interpreter as she spoke isiZulu. She told Ms Fredericks to feel free and that if she had not heard the questions, she was allowed to ask Members to repeat themselves. The Chairperson asked Ms Fredericks to tell the Committee about herself and why thought that she was a suitable candidate for the position of Commissioner.
Ms Maluleke asked Ms Fredericks to tell the Committee what her understanding was on the powers and functions of the CGE.
Ms Khawula said that South Africa had a very high number of widows due to illnesses and diseases and they were left behind with many children to support. She explained that most widows had not yet reached the stage of being able to apply for pension and, as a result, remained vulnerable. She asked how Ms Fredericks was going to assist those widows so that they remained self-reliant. She asked Ms Fredericks how she was going to assist those widows so that they were able to fend for themselves and not feel destitute as was the case presently.
Ms Morutoa spoke to the issue of termination of pregnancy as she saw that Ms Fredericks had attended workshops for multi-faith leaders. She asked Ms Fredericks what her understanding was and what she would say about termination of pregnancy in relation to her belief and faith. She also asked what Ms Fredericks thought of sexual reproductive health.
Mrs Robinson asked how Ms Fredericks’ international experience in Myanmar, business experience and on-the-ground activism would contribute to her moving the lumbering, slow and torturous machinery of the CGE and government to make it work more actively. She also asked if Ms Fredericks would be able to see herself influencing things and bringing about change as well as in which aspect.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that from Ms Fredericks’ overall experience, she did not see her working directly with vulnerable groups, i.e. people with disabilities, people with albinism and the LGBTQIA+ community. She stated that in those groups an increase in violence against them could be seen and that there still silent voices as no one heard of their experiences and abuse. If Ms Fredericks were to be appointed as a Commissioner, Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked how she would use the experiences she had gathered thus far, including her legal background, to ensure that the policies relating to people with disabilities and vulnerable groups were implemented in order to reduce the violence perpetrated against them.
Dr Maesela said that most often, as a legal person, people emphasised the retribution side of things and not the preventative side of things. He pointed out that things were being dealt with after they had already happened, which was not solving the problem. He mentioned that Ms Fredericks’ emphasis was on gender-violence, not gender inequality per se, and that people always gravitated towards violence when talking about gender relations. He added that this was, of course, a function of power relations and that was why people were comfortable with talking about beating others up and violence. Gender-wise, he said that the greatest violence was poverty and that this was a major causative agent of inequality. If there was no poverty and everyone was equal resource-wise, Dr Maesela said that there would not be any violence. He mentioned that legally, violence was being misinterpreted and asked Ms Fredericks what she would do to solve this problem as it was a major problem insofar as gender equality was concerned.
Ms Fredericks said that she was struggling to understand the question and asked Dr Maesela to rephrase the question. She asked him if he was talking about the perception of gender violence versus gender equality, or poverty as a driver of gender violence or inequality.
Dr Maesela said that he was asking Ms Fredericks what her solution would be as people often spoke about things without understanding what they were talking about. He said that the Commission was about gender equality, but that people spoke about retribution and violating other people’s rights. He repeated that the greatest violence on people was inequality – a function of economics. He asked Ms Fredericks what she would do to look at this violence from a different perspective, such as inequality being caused by something else which, if not solved, would result in all other violence being visited on people.
Dr Thembekwayo said that the Commission had, amongst other powers and functions as regulated by national legislation, the power to research, educate, and most importantly, to advise. If appointed as a Commissioner, she asked what changes Ms Fredericks believed could be made to the criminal justice system to improve the conditions of women using the advantage that she was the Director of the law firm Fredericks Inc. Dr Thembekwayo also asked Ms Fredericks to cite an example in South Africa, with regard to gender-based cases which are delayed or cancelled.
Ms Tseke asked Ms Fredericks, if she were to be appointed as a Commissioner, how she would ensure that the CGE services reached people who were far away from towns and deep in rural areas, taking note that the provincial offices were located in urban areas.
Ms Stander said that when talking about gender equality, the first thing that came to mind was women. She asked Ms Fredericks for her opinion on the statement that the CGE is for women. Ms Stander mentioned that Ms Fredericks had touched a lot on diversity and asked her, if she was entering a space where there was current tension and a lack of cohesion, how she would enter such a space and contribute to promoting cohesion amongst the Commissioners.
Ms Van der Merwe asked what Ms Fredericks, if she were to be appointed as a Commissioner to the CGE, her advice would be in terms of addressing the plight of sex-workers in South Africa. She noted that Ms Fredericks had also spoken about how powerful the CGE was. In her analysis of the CGE, Ms Van der Merwe asked Ms Fredericks if she found that the organisation had teeth, if the reports were binding in respective and, if not, what her suggestions would be in that regard.
The Chairperson asked if Ms Fredericks had any questions for the Committee. She informed Ms Fredericks that she would hear from the Committee in due course after they had completed all the processes. She wished her luck and a safe flight.
The Chairperson added that she was informed that the Committee Secretary had changed Ms Fredericks’ flight as, in looking at the time, the Secretary had thought that she would miss her flight.
Ms Fredericks asked if she was not meant to indicate whether she preferred full-time or part-time, or whether that was not necessary as she had indicated this on her form.
The Chairperson agreed that that was on her form.
Refer to audio for responses
The meeting was adjourned for a lunch break.
Candidate five: Ms Mapitsi Mary Mononela
The Chairperson resumed the meeting and welcomed all Members back from the lunch break. She welcomed Ms Mononela. She explained that Members were just going to ask Ms Mononela what she knew, and that what she did not know, she did not know. She told Ms Mononela that she had 45 minutes in the room – three minutes to answer questions from Members and two minutes for Members to ask the question.
The Chairperson advised Ms Mononela not to give any history and background as it would disadvantage her from presenting her answer and would result in her losing points, thus she was to get straight to the answer. She said that if Ms Mononela was lucky enough, all Members would ask her questions but that that was dependent on whether all Members wanted to ask her questions or if only a few did. She explained that Ms Khawula made use of an interpreter, but that Ms Mononela was to answer in English.
The Chairperson asked Ms Mononela to tell the Committee about herself and why she thought that she was a suitable candidate to be appointed as a Commissioner at the CGE.
Ms Morutoa was eager to know if Ms Mononela had a passion for gender equality in everything that she aspired to do. Since government had established the CGE, and using a barometer for gender-equality, what did Ms Mononela think were the achievements of CGE? She added that Ms Mononela was saying very important things that she had seen in terms of the inequality of her mother in rural areas. She asked, now that Ms Mononela had seen the CGE, whether there was any difference and if she could explain that.
Ms Khawula mentioned that she liked the fact that Ms Mononela said she was a teacher and that she got into gender equity because of what she had seen growing up in terms of women suffering abuse after they lost their husbands. She said that she would like to focus more on the farm areas where they saw women who had livestock left to them by their husbands but who were not allowed to keep them and who had restrictions placed on them as to how much livestock they could keep. She added that when some of their relatives died and they wanted to bury them, they were not allowed to do so, or their graves were dug up and thee bodies thrown out. She asked what Ms Mononela would do, if she were to be selected, to help these women in places such as Limpopo where a farmer had actually evicted people living on the farm and who had nowhere to go.
Ms Stander said that she saw from Ms Mononela’s comprehensive CV that she had been working in various departments of government since 1999. She noted that that included the Education Department; the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities and that every time Ms Mononela’s main mandate had something to do with gender equality. Ms Stander said that Ms Mononela thus had 20 years of a very intimate knowledge of seeing what had come and gone over the years. Why, in Ms Mononela’s opinion, had gender inequality increased over the past 20 years? She also asked how Ms Mononela’s religion impacted on her feelings of abortion and sex work, for example.
Ms Van der Merwe asked whether Ms Mononela , in looking at the GCE, thought it was an organisation that was making an impact on the lives of women and children. She asked Ms Mononela whether there were any challenges and if so, what those challenges were. She also asked how Ms Mononela would use her skills to contribute to making the organisation more robust and visible in rural areas. Looking at the crisis of gender-based violence in South Africa, she asked Ms Mononela what she recognised as the reason that they were losing the war against gender-based violence. Lastly, if Ms Mononela were appointed to be a Commissioner, what input would she be making and, because the CGE should be advising on issues such as gender-based violence, which issues should be addressed at a policy level.
Ms Maluleke stated that as a Commissioner in the GCE, Ms Mononela would not be working alone but with other Commissioners. She asked Ms Mononela how she was going to ensure that there were good working relationships in the CGE.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that she could see from Ms Mononela’s CV that there she had written some papers. Ms Newhoudt-Druchen noted that Ms Mononela had co-authored an Advocacy Strategy for Women, Children and People with Disabilities and had authored the National Mainstreaming Strategic Framework on Gender, Children and People with Disabilities. Ms Newhoudt-Druchen observed that, even with such publications, there was still an increase in violence against people with disabilities, people with albinism and the LGBTQIA+ community. She asked Ms Mononela to take into account that many of her presentations focused on women but that men also had to take accountability as the perpetrators of violence were mostly men.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked Ms Mononela, if she were to be appointed as Commissioner, what she would do to change the perception that it was okay to abuse vulnerable people. She asked what Ms Mononela could do to help in the reduction of violence against people in vulnerable groups. She understood that they were speaking about equality but said that the vulnerable people did not feel that they were equal nor that they had a voice. How Ms Mononela would change that? She added that not everything was about policy, but rather how one worked to ensure that implementation happened. Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that the Committee knew that there was good legislation and good policy, but that implementation was needed to reduce the violence. What were Ms Mononela’s thought on that?
Dr Thembekwayo observed that from April 2017 to date, Ms Mononela had been involved in the promotion of equality and the elimination of discrimination against women. She said that Ms Mononela had mentioned something about facilitation, especially in the areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Stellenbosch. She asked Ms Mononela about the other provinces and how she reached people in those provinces. On the conceptualisation of programmes that Ms Mononela was involved with, Dr Thembekwayo said that the 16 days of activism started with horror stories that carried throughout to date. She asked Ms Mononela, if appointed Commissioner, how she would make the non-occurrence of violence against women and children possible and how she would end the violence.
Dr Maesela asked Ms Mononela what she would do to help other people in the milieu in which she operated because it was not an individualistic thing, it was a collective thing. He asked what she could do to get more people to be involved so that the problem could be solved.
The Chairperson asked Ms Stander not to disturb the candidate. She added that Ms Mononela’s views were her views and that there was nothing wrong with that.
Mrs Robinson said that she was impressed with what Ms Mononela was doing with her teaching, guidance and work with the churches. However, she said that she was very concerned with the cults that were developing. She asked what Ms Mononela’s view was with regard to how one deals with cults, considering that South Africa had a human rights culture and freedom of religion. Mrs Robinson said that she honestly thought that the cults were very dangerous, a problem and nettle that needed to be grasped. She asked how MS Mononela would suggest the Commission dealt with that.
Ms Tseke said that there was a perception that there was a duplication of mandate between the Department of Women and the CGE. If Ms Mononela were to be appointed as a Commissioner, how would she envision the relationship between the two institutions?
The Chairperson said that the Committee was doing well in terms of time, and asked Ms Mononela if she had any questions to ask the Committee.
Ms Mononela said that she knew that time would never be enough, but that there were issues that she felt she needed to discuss regarding sex work and the legislation pertaining to it.
The Chairperson said that she thought Ms Stander was going to ask Ms Mononela about sex-workers but heard that she had not got there. She wished Ms Mononela the best and said that as time was limited, she could not give Ms Mononela more time. She agreed that time was never enough and told Ms Mononela that she would hear from the Committee in due course. She wished Ms Mononela a safe journey.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate six: Ms Barbara Esther Euphane Aletta Watson
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Watson. She explained that Ms Watson had only 45 minutes in the room although an extra five minutes would be added to accommodate the interpreter and for her to ask questions at the end.
She asked Ms Watson to tell the Committee about herself and why she thought that she was a suitable candidate to be appointed to the position of Commissioner.
Ms Watson asked if she was to answer after every question or if she was to take them all and answer later.
The Chairperson instructed Ms Watson to answer after every question.
Ms Maluleke said that she believed that when Ms Watson had applied for the position of Commissioner in the CGE she would have understood the core functions of CGE. She asked Ms Watson, if she was appointed on the CGE, how she would ensure that the CGE was visible in rural areas.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen noted that she sat on the Public Service Commission (PSC) and was thus tempted to ask Ms Watson questions regarding the PSC but that she would focus on the day’s agenda. She said that her question was in relation to vulnerable groups, particularly people with disabilities, people with albinism and the LGBTIQA+ community. She added that the increase in violence towards those groups of people had really increased despite the good laws, good policies and the conventions that had been signed. If she were to be appointed as a Commissioner at the CGE, what work would Ms Watson do to ensure that the escalation of violence was decreased or reduced?
Ms Stander stated that Ms Watson had a long history with Employment Equity as well, having worked on the Commission for Employment Equity. From her understanding of gender representation in the workplace, what did Ms Watson think were the main causes for the pay-gap and lack of representation in Senior Management? She asked what Ms Watson thought of roles like sex-work becoming legitimate work. Ms Stander asked what Ms Watson thought should change in the work place to ensure that the pay-gap was reduced, and to increase the representation of women in Senior Management. What were her views on women being allowed to sell sex as their job?
The Chairperson said that a bell had rung calling Members to vote and asked that someone to check that. She apologised to Ms Watson and explained that when the bell rang, Members were required to vote and that they would be back shortly.
Ms Stander said she would agree if the Members were engaged in a Committee dealing with a discussion on a Bill, legislation or Committee report but they were engaged with an interview of a candidate.
The Chairperson disagreed and said that Members should go and vote.
The majority of Members agreed.
Ms Stander said that that was unacceptable and that she was not going anywhere.
The Committee took a short break to vote.
The Chairperson resumed the meeting and asked Dr Thembekwayo to pose the question she was about to ask before the break.
Dr Thembekwayo said that one of the principles of CGE was to avoid a culture of ostentation. If appointed at the CGE, she asked what Ms Watson thought the most reasonable and simplest definition of the term ostentation was so that it could be understood by users of any documents. She also asked how Ms Watson would ensure that a culture of ostentation was avoided when dealing with gender-based issues.
Ms Khawula understood that Ms Watson had been on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was a social worker by profession, which was appreciated by the Committee. She said that she wanted Ms Watson to assist the Commission, if she were appointed as a Commissioner, with the major problems in the taxi industry. Ms Khawula spoke about the women whose husbands had been murdered and shot in taxi violence. She asked what Ms Watson would do to ensure that the industry continued to grow under the control of women e.g. like assisting them in obtaining permits as taxi owners. Some women had difficulty in getting permits and were being harassed daily by the police when transporting people. She also asked how Ms Watson would assist them as there were orphans who needed assistance. She added that she had noticed that usually there was no one to assist the women or children properly when they faced those challenges. If Ms Watson were appointed to the Commission, how would she assist those people?
Mrs Robinson said that she was impressed with Ms Watson’s background and said that it was very obvious to all Members who had served for some time, that patriarchy was the main problem in the country as it led to victim abuse, rape etc. She said that that was a whole of society approach and asked what Ms Watson could suggest that might be different and would enable the Commission to get through to people in rural areas, townships and people who were not necessarily in communication television-wise, etc. She asked Ms Watson how the Committee could break the pattern that led to the violence. Inspiration was needed.
Dr Maesela agreed that prevention was better than cure. He pointed out that there was a problem of socialisation and that inequality was a function of socialisation as it was deliberately created by those who owned the means of production. He explained that those people used the schools, churches, judiciary and any other means they could to social people into accepting it as the status quo. He asked what Ms Watson would do as a Commissioner to make sure that the Commission instilled the idea and concept of equality at ECD level and made it part of the school curriculum so that the status quo could be changed. He said that would decolonise the minds of people so that if the Commission did not eradicate inequality, it could, at least, be ameliorated. He said that children would be patriotic and, as patriots, they would not participate in crime, inequality or beat their women; they would cherish them. Dr Maesela asked what Ms Watson would do to make that a reality.
Ms Morutoa was concerned about the demonstrations against gender-based violence. She mentioned that recently the Commission had a “#totalshutdown” programme against gender-based violence and that the tools used were demonstrations and testimonies. She said that she did not think that some of the things the Committee had done were acceptable. She said that she did not know what it meant to hang out your underwear to show how serious you were in front of the camera. She thought that some education of some sort needed to be given. Ms Morutoa said that she had not heard anyone speak about that and thought that CGE had responsibilities, one of which was education. She thought that there was a challenge and asked Ms Watson what she thought about what had transpired, although she was not sure that she had seen it.
Ms Morutoa said that she wanted to hear from someone and that as one aged, one became sensitive to each and everything. She added that that might be because of her age and that if she were as young as those ladies, she might have done the same thing. However, she did not think that it would educate any young person or that the way things were done was appealing. Ms Morutoa asked Ms Watson what she would advise, were she to be appointed as Commissioner?
The Chairperson asked Ms Watson if she had any questions for the Committee. She wished Ms Watson luck, said that she would hear from the Committee in due course after they had finished with all the interviews and wished her a safe flight.
Refer to audio for responses
The Chairperson told Members that a few changes had been made as two candidates were to fly back to Gauteng. She said that the Committee Secretary had booked accommodation for two candidates as they were coming from rural areas but took advantage as those who were coming from Gauteng could swap their flights most of the time. The Chairperson informed the Committee that they would have to vote again and said that she could not speak for the Members as to whether they would participate or not.
Ms Stander emphasised that the Committee was not going down when the bell rang as it was discussed that it was rude towards the candidate and that the Committee would stay.
Candidate seven: Professor Reiner Steyn
The Chairperson said that she would allow Professor Steyn to sort himself out. She explained that he had 45 minutes in the room – three minutes for him to answer the questions and two minutes for Members to ask him questions. She said that if Professor Steyn did not hear a question, he could ask the Member to repeat it. When speaking he was to switch the mic on and to put it off when he was done.
The Chairperson asked Professor Steyn to tell the Committee about himself and why he thought that he was a suitable candidate to be appointed in one of the posts as a Commissioner for the CGE.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen warned Professor Steyn that if he heard a bell go off, he could expect Members to go and vote. She asked that he please excuse the Committee as some people thought that it would be rude but that they were Members of Parliament and were expected to go and vote. She wanted to apologise beforehand in case the Committee did get up when the bell rang. She said that her question was specifically focused on vulnerable groups such as disabled people, people with albinism and the LGBTQIA+ community. She said that there were escalating incidents of violence towards those vulnerable groups. She added that South Africa had good policies, good law and had signed various international conventions but still found that the violence against those groups was increasing. She asked what kind of programmes or workshops Professor Steyn would do or give to ensure that violence against those groups decreased, if he were to be appointed on the CGE.
Ms Van der Merwe wanted to understand what made Professor Steyn passionate about the issues of gender equality. If Professor Steyn were to be elected, she asked what his focus areas would be as a Commissioner in terms of ensuring greater visibility of the CGE as well as making sure that the Committee achieved meaningful gender equality. She asked him to touch on some of the challenges that he had identified that the CGE might be struggling with. Ms Van der Merwe asked Professor Steyn about the issue of gender-based violence in South Africa and if he could share his views on why he thought that they were not winning the war against gender-based violence. She asked him touch on some of the policies and what he considered as some of the challenges in that regard.
Ms Maluleke asked Professor Steyn what his understanding was of the core functions and powers of the CGE.
Ms Khawula said that it was well-known that in our society a woman could be living with her husband in one room, and have about 10 or 15 children living with them. She explained that there was a challenge of privacy, land ownership and the availability of houses in the country. She asked how Professor Steyn, if he were to be appointed as Commissioner, was going to assist the women experiencing those challenges as their privacy was affected in entire families having to use one room and not having enough accommodation.
Mrs Robinson said that she did not think that Professor Steyn could answer that question as it was not within the realm of the Commission. She asked what Professor Steyn would do with his insight into the mind and how people think.
The Chairperson interrupted the meeting as Member were required to vote.
The Committee took a break to vote.
The Chairperson resumed the meeting.
Mrs Robinson continued. She asked if Professor Steyn could help the Committee with his psychological insight and what he could do within the CGE to get to people, to work out what it was that caused the violence and what measures the Committee could implement to try and break the patriarchal culture. How could they reach young men, women and children and make them independent thinkers?
Dr Thembekwayo said that the Commission had, amongst other powers and functions as regulated by national legislation, the power to research and educate. She said that she knew that as a Professor, Professor Steyn was an expert in the fields mentioned, not forgetting the advisory aspect. If appointed as a Commissioner, what changes did he believe could be made and how would he advise the criminal justice system to improve the conditions of women, especially with regard to gender-based cases which were often delayed or where files were destroyed. She asked what his principles of gender-healing were with reference to the #MeToo movement and its applicability and relevance to the multi-cultural society of South Africa.
Ms Stander explained that the Commission did a vetting of all the candidates and their CVs and got the SSA to do some background checks. In terms of the personal identification verification report, she said that his qualifications had not come up on the MIE report. Ms Stander attributed that this could perhaps be a glitch on the system and said that she tried to check his CV for any proof of qualification included but that he had probably not been asked for that. She asked if he knew of any reason why the information about his qualifications were not coming up on the report.
Ms Stander said that she had been listening to Professor’s Steyn’s answers throughout the process but that she was still trying to find out what he, if he were to be appointed as a Commissioner, would do with the role. She said that a number of Commissioners did need a strong research background but asked why he would be so important to have on the Commission and what he was going to do.
Ms Tseke said that she was of the view that in preparation for the interview, Professor Steyn would have gone through the CGE Act which had been passed in 1996. She asked what his understanding was of the independence of the CGE as a Chapter Nine Institution and as stated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. She also asked for a follow up on the Kader Asmal Report that he had referred to and asked whether he considered the CGE still relevant today or whether the Commission should be amalgamated with other Chapter Nine Institutions as Kader Asmal had said.
The Chairperson said that Professor Steyn would hear from the Committee in due course after they were done with all the candidates. She mentioned that he was going back to Gauteng and wished Professor Steyn a safe flight.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate eight: Ms Liliwe Eliza Mlilwana
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Mlilwana and told her to feel free to ask anything and that she could ask Members to repeat their questions if she had not heard the question. She explained that Ms Mlilwana had 45 minutes with the Committee, which meant that every question was allocated five minutes – three minutes for her to respond to questions and two minutes for Members to ask her the questions. She said that she knew that most of the candidates who came from Gauteng had not been given accommodation and would have to fly back, which was why Ms Mlilwana was being interviewed ahead of other candidates. The Chairperson said that each Member would introduce him or herself when asking her questions.
The Chairperson asked Ms Mlilwana to tell the Committee about herself, who she was, where she came from and why she thought that she was a suitable candidate to be appointed as a Commissioner.
Ms Tseke said that the advertisement was very clear in terms of the kind of person that the Committee was looking for. She continued, saying that one of the criteria was that the person be fit and proper. Prior to the whole process unfolding, she said that the Committee had had to request the SSA to give the Committee information on all the candidates. She said that the information before the Committee stated that Ms Mlilwana had six criminal records or offences with dates specified. Ms Tseke said that two of the criminal cases were still pending and were cases of fraud that had happened in December 2007 and theft which had taken place in October 2012. She said that Ms Mlilwana had been found guilty of at least four cases but that at least she had paid fines and that the amounts were recorded. She asked Ms Mlilwana to speak to the criminal records that she had so that the Committee knew that they were appointing or recommending a person who was fit and proper enough to run the credible Chapter Nine Institution.
Ms Stander handed Ms Mlilwana a copy of the SSA report. In terms of the SSA information that the Committee had been given, she said that the Committee had received a report on every single candidate, not just Ms Mlilwana. She pointed out that as per the page that she had given Ms Mlilwana and the six cases outlined, that Ms Mlilwana was only identifying the second case as one that she was aware of. Ms Stander added that the outcome there was pending due to a dispute and asked if the case had been resolved. She stated that Ms Mlilwana was talking about the prescription period being reached, but explained that the prescription period could not be reached if the case had not yet been concluded and that according to the report, the case was still pending, which was something that someone with a legal degree would know.
Ms Stander asked if Ms Mlilwana was aware of any identity fraud and if she categorially stated that none of the other offences were committed by herself. She also asked for more information on the nature of the case of theft in October 2012 that she did identify with. What was it related to, had she pled guilty, whether she had been found guilty, whether it had been resolved or if there was any information that she was willing to give about the case?
Ms Maluleke urged Ms Mlilwana to relax as those were just questions on the findings. However, if Ms Mlilwana was saying that she knew nothing about those offences, Ms Maluleke’s advice was that she needed to clear her name as it would keep coming up when one verified her record. She asked Ms Mlilwana to outline her understanding of the powers and functions of the CGE.
Ms Khawula asked how Ms Mlilwana would assist the CGE if she were appointed as a Commissioner, as there was an escalation in child trafficking. The matter had been seen trending on Twitter the previous day in a hashtag concerning a child who had not come home in Phoenix. Ms Khawula added that Ms Mlilwana should also be aware that elderly people with mental illnesses were found naked at their neighbours, and were accused of witchcraft because of elderly illnesses. She asked how Ms Mlilwana would assist the Commission in stopping that, if she were to be appointed.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen stated that her question was directed at vulnerable groups which included people with disabilities, people with albinism and the LGBTQIA+ community. She said that there had been a huge increase in the abuse, violence and killings of those vulnerable groups. She was not sure whether Ms Mlilwana had worked with vulnerable groups before or not but asked whether she could give the Committee a perspective or idea of why there was that increase. If she were appointed to the CGE, what she could do with her legal background and experience to assist in reducing the violence and killings against those vulnerable groups.
The Chairperson asked Ms Mlilwana if she had any questions.
Ms Mlilwana stated that, according to the matters that had been raised of the criminal records against her, Ms Maluleke had advised that she should clear up the matter. After she had cleared up the matter, could she bring the report to the Committee?
Ms Stander recalled that in the last set of interviews there had also been findings that were attached to a particular candidate that turned out to be false. She stated that the Committee had also advised that candidate, and had included the point in their recommendations in the Committee report, that any South African who believed or found out that there might be criminal charges based on apartheid crimes or crimes that had been wrongly attached to their names, the person should approach the SAPS to have those matters cleared up.
Ms Stander said that that was one of the reasons why she had asked if Ms Mlilwana was of aware of being a victim of identity fraud. She said that Ms Mlilwana should feel free to submit a report if she had had an investigation and to submit it at her earliest convenience to the Committee Secretary. She said that following Ms Mlilwana’s account to the Committee, it was now on record forever. She added that the Committee had noted what she had said and that it should not impact the outcome of her application unless the opposite could be proven.
The Chairperson said that in that case it was different because Ms Mlilwana was saying that she did not know about the charges, which made it tricky. The Chairperson suggested that Ms Mlilwana dealt with the issues the following day so that her report could be sent to the Committee through the Committee Secretary and included in the Committee report. If the Committee did not have anything tangible from Ms Mlilwana, the Committee would have to depend on the SSA report and would not be able to change it. She wished Ms Mlilwana good luck, said that the Committee would inform her of the results in due course and wished her a safe flight.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate nine: Mr Louis Laurens Botha Gaum
The Chairperson welcomed Mr Gaum and thanked him for his understanding in relation to the two candidates who had been interviewed before him. She said that he had been scheduled before them but that they had to fly back to Gauteng and thus had to be interviewed before him.
The Chairperson asked him to tell the Committee about himself, who he was, where he came from and why he thought that he was a suitable candidate to be appointed as a Commissioner for the CGE.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen explained that her question was on violence towards women and children as well as violence towards specific vulnerable groups such as disabled people, people with albinism and the LGBTIQA+ community. She said that there had been an escalation of violence targeting those groups and that she had heard him speak of his experience working in prisons. In terms of the CGE, if he were to be appointed as Commissioner, what did he envision he would do to reduce the violence against those specific vulnerable groups.
Ms Khawula said that she was worried about women who were landless and staying in shelters. She explained that there was a phenomenon of women being crowded in one place without land. She asked Mr Gaum, if he were to be appointed Commissioner, how he was going to assist the Commission on the issue of land for homeless women so that they could have their own integrity, build their own houses and have their own land. On the issue of health, she said that it had been found that people were getting sick because they were crowded in one place. Ms Khawula also asked Mr Gaum how he was going to address the issue as those people were even having sexual intercourse in front of their children because they were landless. She asked, if Mr Gaum was to be appointed, how he was going to ensure that those females ended up having their own land for the sake of their dignity.
Ms Stander asked whether Mr Gaum thought that the LGBTQI+ had a real voice in South Africa or whether it was just a political catchphrase. She admitted that she really liked the description of a programme aimed at men and boys discussing masculinity and power amongst other things. She asked Mr Gaum why he thought that the CGE was the structure or platform for him because seemed to be quite passionate about these kinds of programmes as he had said that he offered them in churches and prisons but could not get to do it anywhere else. Ms Stander assumed that Mr Gaum would try to push these programmes though the CGE. She asked him why he had chosen the CGE and what avenues, structures, or legislative precepts the CGE would provide for him to follow his passion.
Dr Thembekwayo believed in Mr Gaum’s motivation for why he believed that he was the right person to serve as a Commissioner in the CGE. He had said that he believed he could contribute to strengthening the Commission’s monitoring role to accelerate change. She said that the monitoring role was lacking in most programmes, although it existed on paper. If appointed as Commissioner, she asked how Mr Gaum would ensure that principles of monitoring projects were adhered to. Dr Thembekwayo said that Mr Gaum had also mentioned that he wanted to accelerate change and asked him how he would, as a Commissioner, be able to act as an agent of change through applying the principles of paradigm shift as a paradigm shift was the most difficult to apply although it could be a contributory factor to the strengthening of the CGE.
The Chairperson said that it was unfortunate that the Members had to go to the House of Parliament to vote but that they would come back in a few minutes.
The Committee took a short break to vote.
The Chairperson resumed the interview.
Dr Maesela stated that in order for the nation to become anything, equity and non-violence had to be instilled in the youth. He indicated that he was happy with that. He said that Mr Gaum was talking about a hands-on approach and that what he was doing did not just concern quantification – it was a preventative approach instead of a corrective approach. Where a situation could be prevented, it was a 100% more effective than going to quantify what had happened. Dr Maesela was happy that Mr Gaum had realised that socialisation, especially within the youth, taught them to be good citizens. He said that the church was also a good socialisation media, like the press. Mr Gaum had said that if one taught the youth and helped them to understand by using the community, the environment and milieu in which they operated, would yield a better solution.
Dr Maesela said that it was a pity that human beings did not have any discipline. He explained that God made man in His own image and that they were all made in the image of God but that because of resources, man fought and dominated. If there were two people in a house – whether it was a man and his wife or his children – they would enter into an antagonistic relationship and fight as one would want to dominate. He said that he remembered a little child who was told to eat his vegetables, to which he replied that he did not like them. The child’s phone was taken away and he was told that if he did not eat his vegetables, he would not get his phone. When the Mother then looked away, the child put the vegetables in his pocket and told his mother to see that his plate was empty and to give him his phone. He pointed out that in this story they were both fighting for domination. Dr Maesela said that in South Africa, they spoke about human rights and that everybody should have rights, but that there were no human rights if one was hungry. He explained that if one did not have resources, one did not have rights. Dr Maesela wondered why then, we as humans did not share and said that Maslow mentioned only five primary needs of mankind. He added that if we did not learn to share, we would go nowhere.
The Chairperson asked Mr Maesela what his question was.
Dr Maesela asked Mr Gaum what he would do to solve this problem of inequality and how he would make humans come together and learn to share.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Gaum and asked him if he had any questions for the Committee. She wished him luck and that hoped that he drove safely. The Chairperson thanked Mr Gaum again for his patience and understanding.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate ten: Ms Octavia Lindiwe Ntuli-Tloubatla
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla and told her to feel free and relaxed as she was just there to sell herself. She explained that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla had 45 minutes with the Committee – three minutes to answer questions from Members who were allocated two minutes to ask the questions. She told Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla not to dwell on the background and history but to try and be as short as possible and get straight to the answer.
The Chairperson asked Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla to tell the Committee about herself, who she was, where she came from and why she thought she was a suitable candidate to be appointed as a Commissioner for the CGE.
Ms Van der Merwe said that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla had articulated why she thought that she was a suitable candidate to be a Commissioner for the CGE. She asked, if Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla were to be appointed as a Commissioner, what her advice would be in terms of the plight of sex workers in South Africa and what her views were on that issue. She said that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla would know that South Africa was grappling with a gender-based violence crisis and was not making much headway. In many instances, South Africa was losing the war against gender-based violence. If Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla were to be a Commissioner, what advice would she offer government in terms of the shortcomings in the fight against gender-based violence?
Ms Morutoa asked Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla what her understanding was on the national gender machinery and what challenges were currently facing the national gender machinery. From Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla’s presentation, Ms Morutoa said that she could hear that she had experience as a Gender Officer within the Trade Union Movement. She said that there had been calls to government to recognise and value unpaid care-work.
Ms Tseke asked Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla for her view on whether the CGE was still relevant, taking into consideration that they now had a fully fleshed Department of Women in the Presidency. She asked if Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla supported the view that the CGE should amalgamate or merge with other Chapter Nine Institutions.
Dr Maesela asked how Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla understood the causes and drivers of gender inequality, let alone the violence as a resultant of inequality and power relations. He asked how she processed that and how she sought to solve those problems, to level the playing field and to ensure that there was no more inequality by eliminating the causes. Dr Maesela said that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla had spoken about the need for the Chapter Nine Institutions but that the Commission might fade away some time in the future. He thus asked her how the Committee would get to the destination of fading away as it was a process and how she suspected that that would actually happen.
Dr Thembekwayo mentioned that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla had explained in her motivation why she believed that she was the right person to serve as a Commissioner in the CGE. She said that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla had mentioned the fact that she was an active member of the National Gender Machinery for the Ministry for Women which, according to her, was a strategic and decision-making organ for gender issues in the country. That obviously meant that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla was quite informed of the CGE and could easily identify the weaknesses of CGE. She asked Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla what she thought the weaknesses were in her opinion, how she would address those weaknesses and how she would be able to use her inter-personal skills to make improvements in the sector.
Ms Stander said that she had read Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla’s CV and recognised that she had been through a lot, including divorce, children and cancer, amongst others. She mentioned that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla had served in the field for a long time and asked her to give the Committee an example of a project that she had initiated, led, saw through to the end and that had a positive outcome that she was proud of. She also asked what Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla thought the CGE’s role was in terms of international relations and whether the CGE had a role internationally as, for example, there were other countries where there was gender oppression.
The Chairperson mentioned that the way Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla was responding made the Committee want to listen and know more as information was power. The Chairperson added that Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla was talking about policies and that, as the Members were policy-makers, that was one of their key roles and responsibilities, which was why the Committee was listening so intently.
Ms Khawula asked her question in isiZulu. No interpretation was provided.
The Chairperson asked if Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla was agreeing with her that bail should be given to a perpetrator, only if it was in the interests of the people. In response to Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla ,and learning from what she had told the Committee, the Chairperson said that the Committee would make the recommendation that people should get bail only if it is in the interests of the people. She asked if Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla had any questions she wanted to ask the Members.
Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla thanked the Committee for giving her the opportunity to reach that level of the interview as she was not certain that she would be given an opportunity as she had come for an interview in 2016. She pleaded for her province, Mpumalanga, as without Mpumalanga there was no sun. She said that if the Committee wanted to see transformation on the inequalities still seen and service delivery in the areas that had no service delivery, the Committee should give Mpumalanga an opportunity to have a representative as a Commissioner. She pointed out that it was 25 years after democracy and that there had still not been a Commissioner from Mpumalanga, which was alarming. Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla thus urged the Committee to give Mpumalanga an opportunity and jokingly added that they would feel blessed for the next 20 years.
The Chairperson wished Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla good luck and said that she hoped that the Committee Secretary had booked her accommodation. She invited Ms Ntuli-Tloubatla for supper and said that the Committee had learned a lot.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate eleven: Ms Nomsisi Bata
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Bata and said that she had only 45 minutes with the Committee – three minutes were for her to answer questions from Members and two minutes were for Members to ask the questions. She said that fortunately, Ms Bata had been Member in the recent past and thanked her for coming. She explained that the Members would introduce themselves as and when they asked Ms Bata questions and that there was an extra two minutes for one of the Members who had an interpreter. She asked if Ms Bata understood Zulu as there would be no need for the interpreter then but asked that Ms Bata respond in English so that time could be managed.
The Chairperson asked Ms Bata to tell the Committee about herself, who she was, where she came from, why she thought that she should be reappointed in the position as a Commissioner of the CGE. She asked Ms Bata to start by introducing herself.
Ms Van der Merwe said that it was important for the Committee, if they were to reappoint Commissioners, to assess the performance of Commissioners. As Ms Bata had spoken about the impact she had made in the Eastern Cape, Ms Van der Merwe asked her to highlight some of her projects and successes as well as the legacy and footprint she had left. She also asked Ms Bata for a few examples of those successes as well as what she could tell the Committee she had identified as some of the challenges that the CGE was experiencing. Lastly, she asked how Ms Bata had sought to address some of those challenges in the time she had served as a Commissioner.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that her focus was vulnerable groups and noted that Ms Bata had said that she had worked in her previous term with the Children with Disabilities Sector. She further noted that there were good policies and legislation but that an increase could be seen in violence and killings towards the vulnerable groups, for example people with disabilities, people with albinism and the LGBTIQA+ community.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked Ms Bata, if she were to continue as a Commissioner on the CGE, what she thought could be done to decrease the escalation of violence, especially violence against the vulnerable groups.
Ms Morutoa mentioned that Ms Bata had served as a Commissioner. She asked Ms Bata to explain the difference between gender equality, gender equity, gender mainstreaming and women empowerment, as well as to give an example.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee that they should do justice in their work.
Ms Khawula asked her question in isiZulu. No interpretation was provided.
Ms Robinson said that Ms Bata had the advantage of possibly going back and that Ms Bata was aware of the situation that existed. There had been too little funding, which she knew was a problem that could not be solved overnight. From what Ms Bata had said in her work in the Eastern Cape, Mrs Robinson thought that she might be able to work together in partnerships and to maximise funding by working with other people. She said that conflict had been an important problem in the most recent grouping and wanted to know if Ms Bata had any suggestions about how that sort of conflict could be avoided in the future as it had paralysed the work of the CGE to a certain extent. Mrs Robinson added that patriarchy was still a major problem and that Ms Bata had spoken about working with the traditional leaders. However, the Eastern Cape was still a source of so much violence and patriarchy. She asked Ms Bata if the partnership with the traditional leaders had worked.
Ms Stander said that Ms Bata was mentioning lots of things that they had managed to do because of South Africa’s progressive Constitution and legislation. She did not think that any one person could take ownership of that. Ms Stander said that Ms Bata had been with the CGE for five years and told Ms Bata to look back on the five years. She asked Ms Bata what she thought her legacy was and what she could say she was responsible for and had innovated, whilst acknowledging that she had worked with other people during that time. What were her plans were she to be elected for the next five years?
Ms Tseke mentioned that when she was going through the CV and documents attached, she found that Ms Bata had been nominated by more than ten people or institutions. She said that she was just asking herself if that was because of the work that Ms Bata had done for the province as there were a lot of NGOs and politicians in the legislature who had nominated her. Ms Tseke was impressed and hoped that it would be part of Ms Bata’s legacy.
Ms Tseke said that the CGE as a Chapter Nine Institution had made recommendations to many government entities and even the private sector where the Commission had been interacting with mining companies, etc. She said that many reports had been issued on the performance and status of gender equality as well as the challenges faced by women in the country. She added that some, if not many, institutions had not yet implemented the CGE’s recommendations. Ms Tseke asked what steps Ms Bata would take to make sure that the recommendations were implemented and, in brief, whether she thought that recommendations by the CGE were binding.
The Chairperson mentioned that some candidates, when answering questions, tempted the Members to listen more but that time did not allow for that. She explained that that was why she had stolen some of the Members’ minutes to allow Ms Bata to respond more. She asked if Ms Bata had any questions for the Committee.
Ms Bata asked if it was acceptable for her to share her report so that Members could go through it. She offered to send it electronically and said that she had it on a disc. She had brought one copy but was scared to bring more as there were strict rules on tabling in the legislature and that reports could not be tabled without prior arrangement. She said that she knew the protocol of the legislature as she had been a legislature official and that this was why she had shied away from bringing copies. She said that she had wanted to bring bound copies as it had pictures and evidence of the print and electronic media she had engaged with and the topics she had covered.
The Chairperson asked the legal advisor to advise the Committee on the issue.
The legal advisor said that if it was a report intended for this Ad Hoc Committee, it could perhaps be allowed if the Committee agreed. However, tabling for the House of Parliament meant that the report would end with the Members as the report had to be tabled and referred to the Ad Hoc Committee or relevant Portfolio Committee. He said that it was up to the Chairperson to agree to accepting it.
Ms Stander said that she was sure Ms Bata was very proud of her work and that she was sure the Committee would be proud of her work too. However, in her understanding every candidate had to be given equal opportunity and that all candidates had been given an opportunity to make submissions and that those submissions were now closed. She said that the Committee could not now accept any further submissions from any of the candidates. Ms Stander suggested that after the process had been completed, Ms Bata could table it to the Sixth Parliament. She said that the Committee had to respectfully decline any submission from any candidate.
Ms Van der Merwe said that respectfully she had a different view because Ms Bata was a former CGE Commissioner and that the Committee did not often get reports on the work that they had completed. She said that this was not a formal report that would follow the Speaker route and saw no problem in looking at some of the reports on Ms Bata’s work. She added that the 45 minutes that they had had with the candidates did not do justice to candidates, nor had they been able to look into the track record of Ms Bata as a previous Commissioner. Ms Van der Merwe was not sure whether it would even harm or progress Ms Bata’s chances, but it would be good for information purposes to be able to look through some of the achievements.
Ms Tseke agreed with Ms Stander in saying that the time for submissions had passed and that the questionnaire sent to candidates was elaborative enough in saying that candidates could add any information they felt would assist the Committee. She said that she was of the view that the Committee would use their interaction, the CV, the information that Ms Bata had submitted with her application, as well as the one-on-one interaction in the interview today to move forward.
Dr Thembekwayo asked whether what they were trying to apply there was going to apply to other candidates. She asked whether the Committee could just be fair to all the candidates. She stated that the Committee was not accepting anything outside what they had received so far.
The Chairperson said that the matter was now closed and wished Ms Bata good luck. She said that the Committee would inform Ms Bata in due course after they had finished with the deliberation on the interviews. She invited Ms Bata for supper and informed her that her accommodation had been taken care of.
Refer to audio for responses
Candidate twelve: Ms Fundisile Priscilla Lynette Nzimande
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Nzimande and explained that the reason why she was not accepting the document was because some of the candidates had wanted to give documents and Members had felt that it would be unfair as other candidates had not been given the opportunity to submit reports that they had.
Ms Morutoa thought that it was a pity that people were requesting to give their reports and not understanding that the Committee was a special Committee. She said that her understanding was that the reason why people were wanting to give reports on what they had done was because they thought that this was an ordinary Portfolio Committee of Parliament. It was not right for candidates to give a special report to an ad hoc Committee. Her understanding was that candidates wanted to give reports to the Committee on what they had done because they were Commissioners. In that case, she thought that if it should be referred to a Portfolio Committee that it would assist the Sixth Parliament.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Morutoa for her wisdom so that any candidate who wanted to give the Committee a report could have their report sent through to the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency so that it could help the Sixth Parliament. The Chairperson told Ms Nzimande to feel free and not to mind what had been discussed as she was to focus on her interview. She explained that Ms Nzimande was free to ask any questions and ask Members to repeat their questions where she had not heard what they were saying. She added that Ms Nzimande was not to go into the background and history of things when answering questions. She was to get straight to her answer. As Ms Nzimande only had three minutes and Members two minutes, she was to summarise her information as much as she could because if she did not, she would lose some of her points which would be bad. The Chairperson explained that Members would introduce themselves as and when they asked their questions and that she would have an extra two minutes as there was one Member who made use of an interpreter.
The Chairperson asked Ms Nzimande to tell the Committee about herself, who she was, where she came from and why she thought she should be reappointed as a Commissioner or otherwise, why she was a suitable candidate to be appointed as a CGE Commissioner. She also asked Ms Nzimande whether she was a current-serving Commissioner or if her contract had expired.
Dr Maesela said that since Ms Nzimande had been a Commissioner there was no use asking her questions that they had asked other people. He asked Ms Nzimande to give three cardinal drivers of gender inequality, how they impacted negatively on the lives of people and how to resolve them. He stated that democracy and institutionalism had not been able to solve the problem of gender inequality which could not be legislated against as a societal paradigm was based on power relations. He then asked Ms Nzimande how the paradigm could be shifted, and the status quo negated.
Ms Maluleke stated that Ms Nzimande was a current-serving Commissioner and asked whether, during the term that Ms Nzimande was serving as Commissioner, she had made sure that CGE was visible in rural areas. If Ms Nzimande had not done that during the current term, what did she think could be done to ensure that CGE was visible in rural areas. Lastly, she said that she did not know about Ms Nzimande’s working relation as a Commissioner. She wanted to know what Ms Nzimande would do to ensure that there would be good working relationships with other Commissioners if she were to be reappointed.
Ms Morutoa asked about the time that Ms Nzimande had been a Commissioner and, knowing that she knew the mandate very well and that she had even penetrated the rural areas, what would Ms Nzimande tell someone from outside of South Africa about the CGE. She asked whether Ms Nzimande thought that the CGE had improved, if it was performing its mandate properly and, in a few words, the challenges that were blocking its progress.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen thanked Ms Nzimande for her introduction and response to the questions and said that she wanted to get straight to the point where Ms Nzimande had ended off in terms of the vulnerable, most marginalised and disadvantaged groups and communities. Even though there was the CGE, good policies and good legislation, Ms Newhoudt-Druchen said that there had been an increase in violence towards and killing of people from vulnerable groups, such as disabled people, people with albinism, and people in the LGBTQIA+ community. She asked Ms Nzimande what her perspective and view was as to what she could do to reduce the increasing number of violent incidents against vulnerable groups, if she were to continue as a Commissioner. How could the violence be decreased and what more could be done by the CGE moving forward?
Ms Stander said that Ms Nzimande had been serving part-time since June 2014. She asked Ms Nzimande, if she looked back on her last five years, what she would say her takeaway was from her five years and what she could say she was responsible for. She acknowledged that Ms Nzimande would have been working in a team with other Commissioners but asked her what stand-out project or contribution she had made or how she had led the organisation. Then, looking towards the next five years, she asked what Ms Nzimande planned to make her personal impact and particular focus.
Dr Thembekwayo said that according to the motivation received from COSATU in connection with Ms Nzimande’s nomination to be a Commissioner at the CGE, she had started serving as a part-time Commissioner in CGE in 2016. Further, it stated that Ms Nzimande had written several articles on gender for publication in the mainstream media, that she had been on radio and television raising issues of gender equality and women’s rights and that she had also participated in media conferences of CGE and in the transformation hearings of the CGE. Dr Thembekwayo asked Ms Nzimande what her take was on the media approach to gender-related issues. She also asked if Ms Nzimande was able to, in her articles, articulate some of the selective ordering and presenting of media towards gender-related issues. If she had not, Dr Thembekwayo asked if Ms Nzimande could tell her why, because problems were experienced when it came to the reporting of gender-related inequalities.
Ms Khawula asked her question in isiZulu. No interpretation was provided.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Nzimande for coming and hoped that she would represent the CGE properly in New York at the US Embassy, as one of the delegates of the CGE. She said that, unfortunately, Members could not go because of financial constraints but that Ms Nzimande was fortunate to be going. She wished Ms Nzimande good luck and invited her for supper. She added that, unfortunately, accommodation had not been arranged for Ms Nzimande. The Chairperson said that Ms Nzimande would hear from the Committee on the outcome of the interviews in due course, after Members had deliberated on the interviews. She said that Ms Nzimande would see the Committee on television and hoped that she flew safe.
The meeting was adjourned.
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- Interviews; Committee Progress Report on CGE filling of vacancies 11
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