Western Cape Children’s Commissioner interviews: Day 1

Social Development (WCPP)

17 February 2020
Chairperson: Mr G Bosman (DA)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to interview candidates for the position of Children’s Commissioner in the Western Cape. Candidates interviewed were: Ms Ingrid Lestrade, Dr Eric Atmore, Ms Carol Bower, Ms Christina Nomdo and Ms Christelle Olivier.
 

Meeting report

After introductions, the Chairperson explained the interview procedure to be followed by the Committee.

Interview 1: Ms Ingrid Lestrade
The Chairperson asked the candidate to explain why she was a good candidate for the role of Children’s Commissioner.

[Refer to audio for candidate’s responses to interview questions]

Ms N BakuBaku-Vos (ANC) asked what the candidate's understanding of the Children’s Commissioner was.

Ms W Philander (DA) asked how the candidate envisaged the role of working with the Western Cape Provincial Government to ensure the rights of children are protected.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked how the candidate would communicate the role of the Children’s Commissioner to the people of the Western Cape and South Africa at large.

Mr G Bosman (DA) asked what value the candidate's previous job experience would add to the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

Mr Bosman asked the candidate which government departments were tasked with delivering constitutional rights to children and how the candidate would engage with these departments to ensure they were delivering.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would find out at a grassroots level which children are most vulnerable and in need of intervention on their behalf.

Ms Philander asked what steps the candidate would take when she found out that a child or an entire community of children were being deprived of their constitutional rights and to ascertain what the different government departments were doing about it.

Mr Mackenzie asked if the candidate was aware of the dire shortage of child care centres for disruptive behaviour in the Western Cape and asked what the candidate would do to make available more childcare centres for the placement of children.

Mr Bosman asked what the candidate knew about child-trafficking in the Western Cape and how the candidate would assist these children once they are arrested and their parents are not.

Mr Bosman asked if the candidate was aware of the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit within the South African Police Service having logistical constraints and resource shortages to follow up reported sexual abuse cases and the challenge of DNA samples going missing. Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would assist the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos stated that there was a lack of state-funded counselling for abused children as ChildLine and Safeline have a three-month waiting list and how the candidate would change this.

Ms Philander asked the candidate how the education system could be made more accessible for children with special needs.

Mr Mackenzie asked the candidate how to bridge the gap between the Children’s Act and its proper implementation on ground level.

Mr Bosman asked what experience the candidate had in setting up a large, newly-established office, budgeting and managing staff.

Mr Bosman stated the Children’s Commissioner would deal with monitoring and reporting and asked how the candidate would go about raising awareness in the departments and the executive and what monitoring tools would be implemented.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would manage a situation where government departments or the executive do not want to cooperate with the Office of the Commissioner.

Ms Philander asked how the candidate would defend the integrity of the Children’s Commissioner and how he would protect the functional independence of the Commissioner.

Mr Mackenzie asked what the candidate would prioritise in ensuring that children’s rights are protected.

Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would engage with NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to encourage more public-private partnerships.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Lestrade for availing herself for the interview and asked if she had any questions for the Committee.

Interview 2: Dr Eric Atmore
The Chairperson thanked the candidate for availing himself for the interview and explained the interview process.

[Refer to audio for candidate’s responses to interview questions]

Ms N BakuBaku-Vos (ANC) asked what the candidate's understanding of the Children’s Commissioner was.

Ms W Philander (DA) asked how the candidate envisaged the role of working with the Western Cape Provincial Government to ensure the rights of children are protected.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked how the candidate would communicate the role of the Children’s Commissioner to the people of the Western Cape and South Africa at large.

Mr G Bosman (DA) asked what value the candidate's previous job experience would add to the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

Mr Bosman asked the candidate which government departments were tasked with delivering constitutional rights to children and how the candidate would engage with these departments to ensure that they were delivering.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would find out at a grassroots level which children are most vulnerable and in need of intervention on their behalf.

Ms Philander asked what steps the candidate would take when he found out that a child or an entire community of children were being deprived of their constitutional rights and to ascertain what the different government departments were doing about it.

Mr Mackenzie asked if the candidate was aware of the dire shortage of child care centres for disruptive behaviour in the Western Cape and asked what the candidate would do to make available more childcare centres for the placement of children.

Mr Bosman asked what the candidate knew about child trafficking in the Western Cape where mothers use children to shoplift and the children are arrested, but parents are not. He asked how the candidate would assist these children once they are arrested.

Mr Bosman asked if the candidate was aware of the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit within the South African Police Service having logistical constraints and resource shortages to follow up reported sexual abuse cases and the challenge of DNA samples going missing. Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would assist the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos stated that there was a lack of state-funded counselling for abused children as ChildLine and Safeline have a three-month waiting list and asked how the candidate would change this.

Ms Philander asked the candidate how the education system could be made more accessible for children with special needs.

Mr Mackenzie asked the candidate how to bridge the gap between the Children’s Act and its proper implementation on ground level.

Mr Bosman asked what experience the candidate had in setting up a large, newly-established office, budgeting and managing staff.

Mr Bosman stated the Children’s Commissioner would deal with monitoring and reporting and asked how the candidate would go about raising awareness in departments and the executive and what monitoring tools would be implemented.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would manage a situation where government departments or the executive do not want to cooperate with the Office of the Commissioner.

Ms Philander asked how the candidate would defend the integrity of the Children’s Commissioner and how he would protect the functional independence of the Commissioner.

Mr Mackenzie asked what the candidate would prioritise ensuring that children’s rights are protected.

Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would engage with NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to encourage more public-private partnerships.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Atmore for availing himself for the interview and asked if he had any questions for the Committee.

Interview 3: Ms Carol Bower
The Chairperson thanked the candidate for availing herself for the interview and explained the interview process. 

[Refer to audio for candidate’s responses to interview questions]

Ms N BakuBaku-Vos (ANC) asked what the candidate's understanding of the Children’s Commissioner was.

Ms W Philander (DA) asked how the candidate envisaged the role of working with the Western Cape Provincial Government to ensure the rights of children are protected.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked how the candidate would communicate the role of the Children’s Commissioner to the people of the Western Cape and South Africa at large.

Ms N Makamba-Botya (EFF) asked what value the candidate's previous job experience would add to the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

Mr G Bosman (DA) asked the candidate which government departments were tasked with delivering constitutional rights to children and how the candidate would engage with these departments to ensure that they were delivering.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would find out at a grassroots level which children are most vulnerable and in need of intervention on their behalf.

Ms Philander asked what steps the candidate would take when she found out that a child or an entire community of children were being deprived of their constitutional rights and to ascertain what the different government departments were doing about it.

Mr Mackenzie asked if the candidate was aware of the dire shortage of child care centres for disruptive behaviour in the Western Cape and asked what the candidate would do to make available more childcare centres for the placement of children.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what the candidate knew about child trafficking in the Western Cape where mothers use children to shoplift and the children are arrested, but parents are not. She asked how the candidate would assist these children once they are arrested.

Mr Bosman asked if the candidate was aware of the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit within the South African Police Service having logistical constraints and resource shortages to follow up reported sexual abuse cases and the challenge of DNA samples going missing. Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would assist the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos stated that there was a lack of state-funded counselling for abused children as ChildLine and Safeline have a three-month waiting list and asked how the candidate would change this.

Ms Philander asked the candidate how the education system could be made more accessible for children with special needs.

Mr Mackenzie asked the candidate how to bridge the gap between the Children’s Act and its proper implementation on ground level.

Ms N Makamba-Botya asked what experience the candidate had in setting up a large, newly-established office, budgeting and managing staff.

Mr Bosman stated the Children’s Commissioner would deal with monitoring and reporting aspects and asked how the candidate would go about raising awareness in departments and the executive and what monitoring tools would be implemented.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would manage a situation where government departments or the executive do not want to cooperate with the Office of the Commissioner.

Ms Philander asked how the candidate would defend the integrity of the Children’s Commissioner and how he would protect the functional independence of the Commissioner.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what the candidate would prioritise ensuring that children’s rights are protected.

Mr Mackenzie asked how the candidate would engage with NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to encourage more public-private partnerships.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Bower for availing herself for the interview and asked if she had any questions for the Committee.

Interview 4: Ms Christina Nomdo
The Chairperson thanked the candidate for availing herself for the interview and explained the interview process. 

[Refer to audio for candidate’s responses to interview questions]

Ms N BakuBaku-Vos (ANC) asked what the candidate's understanding of the Children’s Commissioner was.

Ms W Philander (DA) asked how the candidate envisaged the role of working with the Western Cape Provincial Government to ensure the rights of children are protected.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked how the candidate would communicate the role of the Children’s Commissioner to the people of the Western Cape and South Africa at large.

Ms N Makamba-Botya (EFF) asked what value the candidate's previous job experience would add to the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

Mr G Bosman (DA) asked the candidate which government departments were tasked with delivering constitutional rights to children and how the candidate would engage with these departments to ensure that they were delivering.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would find out at a grassroots level which children are most vulnerable and in need of intervention on their behalf.

Ms Philander asked what steps the candidate would take when she found out that a child or an entire community of children were being deprived of their constitutional rights and to ascertain what the different government departments were doing about it.

Mr Mackenzie asked if the candidate was aware of the dire shortage of child care centres for disruptive behaviour in the Western Cape and asked what the candidate would do to make available more childcare centres for the placement of children.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what the candidate knew about child trafficking in the Western Cape where mothers use children to shoplift and the children are arrested, but parents are not. He asked how the candidate would assist these children once they are arrested.

Mr Bosman asked if the candidate was aware of the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit within the South African Police Service having logistical constraints and resource shortages to follow up reported sexual abuse cases and the challenge of DNA samples going missing. Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would assist the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos stated that there was a lack of state-funded counselling for abused children as ChildLine and Safeline have a three-month waiting list and asked how the candidate would change this.

Ms Philander asked the candidate how the education system could be made more accessible for children with special needs.

Mr Mackenzie asked the candidate how to bridge the gap between the Children’s Act and its proper implementation on ground level.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what experience the candidate had in setting up a large, newly-established office, budgeting and managing staff.

Mr Bosman stated the Children’s Commissioner would deal with monitoring and reporting aspects and asked how the candidate would go about raising awareness in departments and the executive and what monitoring tools would be implemented.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would manage a situation where government departments or the executive do not want to cooperate with the Office of the Commissioner.

Ms Philander asked how the candidate would defend the integrity of the Children’s Commissioner and how he would protect the functional independence of the Commissioner.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what the candidate would prioritise ensuring that children’s rights are protected.

Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would engage with NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to encourage more public-private partnerships.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Nomdo for availing herself for the interview and asked if she had any questions for the Committee.

Interview 5: Ms Christelle Olivier
The Chairperson thanked the candidate for availing herself for the interview and explained the interview process. 

[Refer to audio for candidate’s responses to interview questions]

Ms N BakuBaku-Vos (ANC) asked what the candidate's understanding of the Children’s Commissioner was.

Ms W Philander (DA) asked how the candidate envisaged the role of working with the Western Cape Provincial Government to ensure the rights of children are protected.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked how the candidate would communicate the role of the Children’s Commissioner to the people of the Western Cape and South Africa at large.

Ms N Makamba-Botya (EFF) asked what value the candidate's previous job experience would add to the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

Mr G Bosman (DA) asked the candidate which government departments were tasked with delivering constitutional rights to children and how the candidate would engage with these departments to ensure that they were delivering.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would find out at a grassroots level which children are most vulnerable and in need of intervention on their behalf.

Ms Philander asked what steps the candidate would take when she found out that a child or an entire community of children were being deprived of their constitutional rights and to ascertain what the different government departments were doing about it.

Mr Mackenzie asked if the candidate was aware of the dire shortage of child care centres for disruptive behaviour in the Western Cape and asked what the candidate would do to make available more childcare centres for the placement of children.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what the candidate knew about child trafficking in the Western Cape where mothers use children to shoplift and the children are arrested, but parents are not. He asked how the candidate would assist these children once they are arrested.

Mr Bosman asked if the candidate was aware of the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit within the South African Police Service having logistical constraints and resource shortages to follow up reported sexual abuse cases and the challenge of DNA samples going missing. Mr Bosman asked how the candidate would assist the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos stated that there was a lack of state-funded counselling for abused children as ChildLine and Safeline have a three-month waiting list and asked how the candidate would change this.

Ms Philander asked the candidate how the education system could be made more accessible for children with special needs.

Mr Mackenzie asked the candidate how to bridge the gap between the Children’s Act and its proper implementation on ground level.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what experience the candidate had in setting up a large, newly-established office, budgeting and managing staff.

Mr Bosman stated the Children’s Commissioner would deal with monitoring and reporting aspects and asked how the candidate would go about raising awareness in departments and the executive and what monitoring tools would be implemented.

Ms BakuBaku-Vos asked how the candidate would manage a situation where government departments or the executive do not want to cooperate with the Office of the Commissioner.

Ms Philander asked how the candidate would defend the integrity of the Children’s Commissioner and how he would protect the functional independence of the Commissioner.

Ms Makamba-Botya asked what the candidate would prioritise ensuring that children’s rights are protected.

Mr  Mackenzie asked how the candidate would engage with NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to encourage more public-private partnerships.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Olivier for availing herself for the interview and asked if she had any questions for the Committee.

The Committee raised concerns about scholars being present to observe the Children’s Commissioner interviews and as a result were missing a day of school. The Committee requested proof that parents had given permission for their children to be present at the interviews and asked the children rights organisation Molo Songololo for their indemnity forms.

The Committee agreed to Day 2 interviews starting at 9am on 18 February and deliberations on 19 February.

Meeting adjourned.

 

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