The Committee adopted its minutes dated 17, 18 and 19 February 2020 without any amendments.
It also adopted its report on the Appointment of the Western Cape Commissioner for Children without any amendments. The Chairperson raised concern that Molo Songololo were making statements in the media that the Committee prohibited children from participating in its meetings when this is not the case. The Committee is trying to balance the interests of the children on the one hand and their right to participation on the other. Permission slips from parents and principals for children to be absent during school hours to attend Committee meetings is required.
The Chairperson opened the meeting. An apology from Ms N Bakubaku-Vos (ANC) was noted as she was stuck in traffic. The use of the name of the Committee’s recommended candidate for the position of the Western Cape Commissioner for Children is proscribed until the entire recruitment process is concluded. The Committee will be adopting the draft report on the appointment of this position. It will then be sent to the Speaker of the WCPP for consideration by the House after which it will be sent to the Premier. All Members have received a copy of the written responses to objections concerning shortlisted candidates.
Ms D Baartman (DA) said she knew one of the two shortlisted candidates and will abstain from participation.
Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes
The Chairperson asked Members to look at the Committee minutes dated 17 February 2020. The Committee takes strong exception to children being a part of its proceedings during school hours. Molo Songololo has brought children to Committee proceedings on more than one occasion. He asked the Western Cape Department of Education to obtain confirmation from the relevant schools that the children had received permission to be absent from school. The response from Ms D Schäfer (DA), MEC for Education in the Western Cape, was that school principals were under the impression that children were attending an inauguration. There have been several media queries, as well as a statement by Molo Songololo, alleging that the Committee is attempting to prohibit the participation of children in its proceedings.
The Chairperson said the Committee is not trying to prohibit anyone from participation. It is trying to balance the interests of the children on the one hand and their right to participation on the other. The Committee is happy to schedule meetings after hours to accommodate the participation of school children. It is sad when children display boredom in the meetings. The meeting that was attended was four hours long and the children could make no meaningful input because most of them did not understand what was happening. The Committee should write to Molo Songololo to request permission slips that it had obtained from the parents and principals for the children being absent in school.
The Chairperson said it needs to be interrogated what the parents and principals gave permission for. It is unfair for a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to use children for political point-scoring and then release statements alleging the Committee is prohibiting the participation of children. All Members received communication from Molo Songololo with a petition concerning participation. A meeting should be scheduled for Members to consider how the Committee should engage with children.
Ms Baartman said she also knew the Director of Molo Songololo and would not participate in any steps the Committee took against them. If statutory regulations have been breached by the NGO then the Committee ought to take the relevant steps.
Adoption of Committee Minutes
The Chairperson asked Members to adopt the Committee minutes dated 17 February 2020.
Mr R Mackenzie (DA) moved to adopt the minutes.
Ms N Makamba-Botya (EFF) seconded the motion.
Committee minutes dated 17 February 2020 were adopted without amendment.
The Chairperson asked Members to look at the Committee minutes dated 18 February 2020.
Ms Makamba-Botya moved to adopt the minutes.
Mr Mackenzie seconded the motion.
Committee minutes dated 18 February 2020 were adopted without amendment.
The Chairperson asked Members to look at the Committee minutes dated 19 February 2020.
Mr Mackenzie moved to adopt the minutes.
Ms Makamba-Botya seconded the motion.
Committee minutes dated 19 February 2020 were adopted without amendment.
Adoption of Committee Report on the appointment of the Western Cape Commissioner for Children
The Chairperson said the adoption of the Committee Report is the final step of the Committee’s contribution to the appointment process. Those who participated in the interviews and workshops are thanked for their time. The Committee had mass public participation during the nomination and objection periods. The public is thanked for their input. The Committee received 59 nominations. The next step is to write to the Speaker of the House to table the Report and request the Speaker to keep the name of the candidate proscribed until the entire process is finalised. The Premier needs the opportunity to engage with the candidate and find out whether they are still interested in the position.
There were no amendments to the report.
The Chairperson asked for Members to adopt the report.
Mr Mackenzie moved to adopt the report.
Ms Makamba-Botya seconded the motion.
The Chairperson said the report was adopted.
Ms Makamba-Botya asked whether Committee Members are at liberty to respond to media requests on the recruitment process.
The Chairperson said there is no problem for Members to do this as long as the name of the recommended candidate is not disclosed.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.
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