The Sub-Committee on the Appointment of the Parliamentary Budget Office Director met on a virtual platform to deliberate on the candidates that it should recommend for shortlisting.
A list of 13 applicants was presented to the Committee. The minimum requirements for candidates applying for the position is a Master’s Degree in Finance, Economics of Public Finance, Public Finance or any related field and a PhD is preferable. The minimum experience required is ten years as an Analyst or Researcher in a related field and two years at a senior management level.
The Committee heard that 53 applications were received but 17 applicants could not finish their application process online. 39 applicants were able to complete their application process online and only 13 applicants met the minimum requirements. Initially, eight applicants were recommended for shortlisting but the Committee agreed to increase the number to nine. The Committee agreed that nine Candidates will be recommended for interviews and this list will be presented to the Joint Committees. The recommended candidates are: Mr DF Chapfuwa, Dr DJ Jantjies, Dr L Kaywood, Ms B Khumalo, Dr S Mohamed, Dr JW Mostert, Ms N Orlandi and Dr D Plaatjies and Mr IC Stuart.
Members raised questions over the criteria used to choose the nine recommended candidates. Some Members expressed their disappointment at the lack of female candidates in the top nine recommended candidates and were concerned about how long the security vetting and qualifications verification process, which candidates are subject to, would take.
Members also raised concerns over whether all candidates recommended for shortlisting are South African or if they only have South African Identity Documents and whether the requirement for candidates to have research output was indicated in the advertisement for the position. Members emphasised that the interview process should be conducted physically and not virtually and that the process should be as transparent as possible.
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Members and the Committee support staff to the meeting. He made brief opening remarks and absenteeism apologies were announced. He asked that the Committee first consider its outstanding minutes for adoption.
Consideration and adoption of meeting minutes dated 29 October 2019
The Chairperson referred to the minutes of 29 October 2019 and asked for a mover for the adoption of the minutes.
Ms P Abraham (ANC) moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr M Moletsane (EFF, Free State) seconded the adoption of the minutes.
The minutes for 29 October 2019 were adopted as a true reflection of the meeting.
Consideration and adoption of meeting minutes dated 3 December 2019
The Chairperson referred to the minutes of 3 December 2019 and asked for Members to consider them and then move for adoption.
Ms D Peters (ANC) moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr D Joseph (DA) seconded the motion.
The minutes for 3 December 2019 were adopted as a true reflection of the meeting.
The Chairperson asked Adv Mongana Tau, Unit Manager, Parliament of South Africa, to present to Members what was initially agreed upon and how the Committee arrived at the decision to select candidates for the position of Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) Director.
Adv Tau presented to the Committee on the selection process for candidates. The minimum requirements for candidates were a Master’s Degree in Finance, Economics of Public Finance, Public Finance or any related field. A PhD is preferable. The minimum experience required is ten years as an Analyst or Researcher in a related field and two years at a senior management level. Shortlisted candidates will be subject to positive security clearance by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and State Security Agency (SSA) as well as a citizenship and qualification check.
A total of 53 applications were received; 17 applicants could not finish their application process online; 39 applicants were able to complete their application process online and only 13 applicants met the minimum requirements. Eight applicants were recommended for shortlisting. The profile of the eight shortlisted candidates include four African males, one African female, one Indian male, one white male and one white female. Five of the candidates have PhD’s, two candidates have two Master’s Degrees and one candidate has a single Master’s degree.
A list of the 13 applicants and their qualifications and experience was presented to the Committee:
- Mr DF Chapfuwa is a South African male with an MBA from Tshwane University of Technology and an MPhil in Development and Finance from Stellenbosch University. The candidate has 13 years of experience and has produced seven research papers.
- Mr MD Danstile is a South African male with a MCom (Economics) Degree from the University of Cape Town. The Candidate has 12 years of experience as a Tutor and Junior Lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, an Analyst at the National Treasury and a Director of Budget Analysis at the National Treasury. The candidate produced four research papers.
- Dr DJ Jantjies is a South African male who is an internal candidate. Dr Jantjies has a PhD in Public Finance from the University of Birmingham and an MPhil (LLM) in Trade, Business and Investment with 11 years of experience as a Deputy Finance Director at PBO and a Finance Analyst. The candidate produced five research papers.
- Dr L Kaywood is a South African female with a PhD in Law and Development in MPA with 16 years of experience as a Senior Researcher, Programme Manager and Municipal Budget Analyst at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). The candidate has published a book and five research papers.
- MS B Khumalo is a South African male with a MSc in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe and has 19 years of experience as a Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, a Research Coordinator at FFC, a Programme Manager and Chief Executive Officer. The candidate produced eight research papers and played a role in the establishment of PBO while still Chairperson of FFC.
- Mr M Maphangwa is a South African male with an MPA from MANCOSA and a BCom Hons from UNISA along with 10 years of experience as an Acting Service Standard Head, a Governance and Reporting Specialist at the City of Johannesburg, the Deputy Director of Budget at the Gauteng Treasury and a Trainee and Sector Analysis Specialist at the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The candidate has not produced any research papers.
- Mr FL Mbanjwa is a South African male with a MCom Degree from the University of Cape Town, with 12 years of experience as a Director of Financial Administration at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), a Director of Financial Services at the Umsekeli Municipal Entity, and an Auditor at Grant Thornton and Unilever SA. The candidate has not produced any research papers.
- Dr S Mohamed is an Indian South African male who is an internal candidate. The candidate has a PhD in Economics from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in Economics from Williams College in Massachusetts. He has 26 years of experience as a Deputy Director at PBO, an Associate Professor at UWC and a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), an Advisor to the Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and was a Member of the Board of Directors at DBSA. The candidate was also a Member of the Board of Directors of the SA Journal of Labour Bulletin, a Member of the Economic Advisory Council, a Project Manager at DTI and a Researcher at the Minerals and Energy Centre and WITS. The candidate has produced 12 research papers that were published.
- Dr JW Mostert is a South African male with a PhD in Economics and a MCom in Economics from the University of the Free State, with 12 years of experience. The candidate has worked as a Director of Macroeconomic Analysis at the Limpopo Treasury, Director at the Department of Economic Development in the Northern Cape, Regional Academic Manager in the Free State Region of Technikon SA and a Lecturer at Technikon SA. The candidate has produced 32 published research papers.
- Mr V Ngobeni is a South African male with an MPhil in Taxation from the University of Pretoria along with 11 years of experience as a Director: Water and Sanitation (DWS) and COGTA, a Senior Analyst at the National Treasury, an Advisor at SALGA and a Senior Economist.
- Ms N Orlandi is a white South African female with an MPhil in Economic Policy and an MBA and is an internal candidate. The candidate has 14 years of experience as a Budget Office Economist at the PBO, a Fiscal Policy Revenue Economist, a Public Finance Expenditure Analyst, a Senior State Accountant and a Fiscal Services Senior Financial Administration Officer at the Western Cape Treasury. The Presentation did not include whether the candidate published any research papers.
- Dr D Plaatjies is a South African male with a PhD in Management Administration and Policy from Witwatersrand University and an MPhil Management Administration and Policy from University of Western Cape, along with 19 years of work experience. The candidate has produced and published research papers in journals. The candidate has experience as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Public Enterprises, an Executive Director at the HSRC, A Special Advisor to the Minister of Public Service and Administration, a Director-General in FS and the Premiers Office and a Deputy Director of Policy and Planning at the Gauteng Department of Health. The number of journal papers the candidate produced has not been indicated.
- Mr IC Stuart is a white South African male with a MCom Degree in Economics from Stellenbosch University, with 13 years of experience. The candidate has experience as an Acting Deputy Director-General: Budget Office, Chief Director: Fiscal Policy Unit of the Budget Office, Deputy Director: Fiscal Analysis at the Budget Office, a Policy Analyst: Public Finance and Senior Analyst: Public Finance at the National Treasury.
The Chairperson said that the eight shortlisted candidates have been recommended by the selection team who will present to the Committee on why the candidates were shortlisted.
The eight recommended candidates are: Mr DF Chapfuwa, Dr DJ Jantjies, Dr L Kaywood, Ms B Khumalo, Dr S Mohamed, Dr JW Mostert, Ms N Orlandi and Dr D Plaatjies.
The Chairperson asked if Members had any comments.
Mr Joseph said that the Committee was presented with the criteria of the 13 candidates that were suitable for the position. He said that he is sure that their suitability is in line with the advertisement. Now that the Committee has received a recommendation with eight names; he would like to know what makes the five remaining candidates unsuitable and why they were not recommended.
Ms P Abraham (ANC) said that she shared Mr Joseph’s sentiments. The Sub-Committee needs to be informed as to why the remaining five candidates were left out, as this work was done on the Committee’s behalf and Members will have to take full responsibility for what has happened. The state has been exposed for taking people who are not South Africans in senior positions, but have a South African ID. There needs to be certainty on the prospective candidates. Can a summary of the spread of candidates be presented? For example, can the amount of males and females that have been shortlisted and who have been taken out of the race be presented?
Ms Peters agreed with Mr Joseph and asked for more details on the 13 candidates and the eight shortlisted ones. She had realised that with the eight shortlisted candidates there will be one that does not have one research paper listed. Maybe this has been omitted. There is a bit of inconsistency, such as a reference that one recommended candidate, Ms B Khumalo, participated in the establishment of the PBO and this does not reveal much, because there are different roles that people play. It is important that the Sub-Committee has full details of this. There are very few females and she was unsure if the advertisements are restrictive for women to apply. She always finds it odd that a limited number of women apply and are shortlisted and she would recommend the two women identified to be on the shortlist, not as a token, but the mere fact that they managed to get to that stage. She proposed that the Sub-Committee recommend upfront that the HR team present needs to do the reference checks on all candidates and get the support of the Speaker to do security clearance. This is important so that when interviews are conducted, these particular issues would already have been attended to. She also suggested that the shortlisted candidates’ names be published for scrutiny and comment.
Adv Tau said that Ms Khumalo’s research output was left out of the presentation, but research output was one of the requirements. He highlighted that not all candidates in the top eight have research output and those that do not have any are at a disadvantage. Security clearance will be done for all candidates as this is what the advertisement states.
Mr Moletsane asked what criteria were used to select the eight recommended candidates as all 13 candidates did meet the minimum requirements.
A participant identified as Mr Jordaan said that he agreed with other Members and that he was impressed with the high quality of applications received. These are excellent South Africans and it will already take the Committee a full day to interview the applicants ‘so it will not take that much more time to keep the shortlisted candidates at 13. This would also work to ensure the Committee does not exclude a candidate who is genuinely excellent.
The Chairperson thanked the support team for its hard work. There are 24 candidates who were disqualified and did not meet the minimum requirements. Broadly speaking, what caused those candidates to be disqualified? It should be indicated why the eight shortlisted candidates were the best of the 13. The Committee interviewed six candidates in another process and it took the entire day, which is quite strenuous; so the best candidates need to be chosen. How many of the 37 candidates that applied were female? This is important as it might indicate something about the government environment and why females are not there. It is a big issue that government must deal with as the majority of citizens in South Africa are female. A point has to be made about this. The process should be transparent and the South African public should be able to comment on this and the candidates’ suitability for the position.
Adv Tau said that when candidates’ CVs were considered, the first thing that was considered was whether they met the minimum requirements. If a candidate did not meet this standard they would automatically be disqualified. If a candidate met the minimum requirement but did not have the minimum required experience, they would also be disqualified. There is a document detailing this information and it will be shared with the Committee. The five candidates did not make the cut for the eight recommended candidates because they do not have any research output. This process is being scrutinised and members of the public do have access to this meeting. All qualifying females were shortlisted and they are the stronger candidates, because one has a PhD and the other has two Master’s degrees. Even though the latter does not have the research output, she does have the required experience. Having research output was not mentioned in the advertisement, but this is used to measure who is the stronger candidate.
The other five candidates who did not make the list of recommended candidates are:
- Mr MD Danstile, who is a South African male with an MCom (Economics) from the University of Cape Town (UCT). The candidate has 12 years of experience as a Tutor at UWC, a Junior Lecturer at UWC, an Economist, Senior Budget Analyst and a Director of Budget Analysis at the National Treasury. The candidate produced four articles. Adv. Tau said he agreed with Members that this candidate may qualify to be a part of the top eight candidates.
- Mr IC Stuart is a white South African male with an MCom in Economics from Stellenbosch University with 13 years of experience as an Acting Deputy Director General: Budget Office; a Chief Director: Financial Policy Unit; Director: Fiscal Planning at Budget Office, Director: Fiscal Analysis at Budget office and a Senior Policy Analyst: Public Finance at the National Treasury. The candidate’s research output has not been included in the presentation. Mr IC Stuart did not make it into the top eight because of the number of years of experience required. Members can reconsider this.
- Mr FL Mbanjwa is a South African male with a MCom from UCT and 12 years of experience as a Director of Financial Administration at COGTA, Director: Financial Services at Umsekeli Municipal Entity, an Auditor at Grant Thornton Auditors and an Accountant at Unilever SA. The candidate’s research output was not included. Mr Mbanjwa did not make the top eight due to insufficient years of experience.
- Mr V Ngobeni is a South African male with an MPhil in Taxation from the University of Pretoria and has 11 years of experience as a Director: Water and Sanitation at DWS and COGTA, a Public Finance Division Water Sector Analyst, and a Senior Economist at the National Treasury. The candidate was also an Assistant Statistical Officer at Stats SA. His research output was not included. Mr Ngobeni did not make the top eight because of his years of experience.
- Mr M Mphangwa is a South African male with an MPA qualification from MANCOSA and a BCom Honours from UNISA, along with 10 years of experience as an Acting Service Standard Head and a Governance and Reporting Specialist at the City of Johannesburg; a Deputy Director of Budget Analysis at the National Treasury; an Economist and the Gauteng Treasury, and a Trainee and Sector Analysis Specialist at SARS. The candidate’s research output was not included. The candidate was excluded from the top eight because he only has 10 years of experience.
The Chairperson thanked Adv Tau and asked Members if they had any follow-up questions.
Mr Joseph said that he understood the minimum amount of experience required is 10 years but suggested that it be 12 years. If one considers the candidates experience, one must take into consideration that candidates are very close on their other competencies. Candidates can be competent but they cannot all be interviewed. He suggested that candidates with 12 years of experience be added to the top eight shortlisted candidates.
The Chairperson said that the meeting minutes of previous meetings indicate that the Committee agreed on 10 years of experience. This is a leadership position and operates on a high level to advise Parliament on a number of things. Do Members agree that the maximum number of candidates that we can interview should be eight? If so, Members should suggest which candidates will be included for interviews and which will be excluded.
Mr Jordaan said that he was not committed to the idea of interviewing eight candidates as it was just as arbitrary as interviewing five or ten candidates. We should choose the number based on how many excellent candidates we have. If Members think there are extra candidates that deserve to be interviewed, that should be done.
Ms Abraham questioned whether the research output was clearly indicated as a requirement when the position was advertised. Four or five candidates can be interviewed in a day. The Committee should consider who to include and exclude. The Committee has to exclude people and be bold enough to do this although it does not really have to do this. When people apply for the position, they attach their pictures. Are we at this stage or is this for the interviews? It is always advantageous to have a picture of the person being shortlisted. Sometimes the Sub-Committee can shortlist a person who is wanted by the police. The Committee needs to be able to confidently decide on a particular route. She was hoping that the Committee will be able to have a physical interviewing session as a lot goes on in a physical interview that cannot be noted during virtual interview. The Committee needs to make a decision on this.
Mr Moletsane said that he understands that interviewing eight people might be strenuous but those who really qualify for it should not be denied the opportunity to present themselves. He said that he was not rejecting the idea to reduce the number to five or six. The Committee should try to be fair. It is disappointing to see that only two females made it into the top eight. More females should make it. The number of candidates to be interviewed who receive a positive security clearance may be reduced after this process is complete, so this process should be accelerated.
Ms Peters proposed that the Committee accept to interview eight candidates. She reckoned that she may be too cautious of this process, but she felt that the five candidates who were excluded were sufficiently considered. Everyone who has 12 years of experience must be on the list of shortlisted candidates. Qualification checks are an issue. There have been questions on internationally acquired PhD’s and Master’s degrees. Reference and qualifications checks and security clearances will also help the Committee to reach a conclusion on the number of candidates to be interviewed. Many lessons were learned from these processes. Sometimes candidates withdraw after an interview process. These people applied last year and based on the time lag and a possibility that there may have been some unknown developments. There was a candidate who passed away in one particular case when the Committee had contacted the candidate for an interview. She recommended that the Members accept to interview eight candidates and allow public scrutiny. She also supports that the interviews should be a physical interaction.
The Chairperson said that the seventh agenda item would address whether the interviews would be physical or not. The catchphrase is that the suitable candidate must be a fit and proper person to do this job. It has to be a competent person who is the best amongst the best of all who applied. The Sub-Committee has to take tough decisions and it will be tough decisions based on the candidates that Members have to choose from. He emphasised that there was nothing sacrosanct about shortlisting eight candidates for interviews. It is not a question of including or excluding anyone. He asked if Members felt that there was any candidate who made the top eight but should not be there.
All Members agreed to the Chairperson proposal and expressed that they were happy with the shortlisted candidates.
Ms Peters asked how comparable the Director level or position for PBO and the Director level in government and local government are. The level of where the candidate will be operating must be commensurate to where the candidate is at present.
Adv Tau said that the remuneration is at a senior government level and this can be the Director-General (DG) or Head of Department. The advertisement indicated that it is a senior position. In local government, the municipal manager position or Chief Financial Officer also qualifies a candidate.
The Chairperson said that there would still be a Chief Director above a Director. There is also a DG and a DDG. Chief Directors support Directors and being a Director is very far from what we are trying to do here.
Mr Joseph said that there was no issue with the eight suggested shortlisted candidates. Should the Committee recommend how many candidates should be shortlisted? When considering for example, Mr Stuart, it seems that the candidates were selected based on research and output, but the research in itself is not consistent with the other candidates, because they have other qualifications and experience. This is not a consistent motivation to exclude other candidates. The key performance areas only indicate research analysis and policy-making and so on. He was still of the opinion that the other candidates equally qualify for an interview.
The Chairperson said that this was not a natural science and was subjective. There is a certain criterion that was used to get to the eight recommended candidates for shortlisting. Is there any Member feel strongly about adding to the eight?
Mr Jordaan said that various positions have worked with Mr Ian Stuart over the years and that he had always been impressed by his insights and expertise on the Budget during Committee meetings. He said that he would be very keen to interview him as well.
The Chairperson reiterated that there was nothing sacrosanct about shortlisting eight candidates.
Mr Joseph said 12 years should be the minimum required experience and asked for feedback on this.
The Chairperson said if Mr Stuart was included in the shortlisted candidates it would mean that nine candidates will be interviewed. Did the Committee agree with this?
Mr Moletsane said the excluded five candidates qualify, but considering interview procedures, some technicality must be used to reduce the number for the interviews. Members should agree to remain with the eight candidates. Sometimes Members have a personal interest with a candidate, but now they need to be neutral in dealing with these people. Members should stick to shortlisting eight candidates.
Ms Abraham said she sensed that somehow the Committee could not confidently stand its ground on the eight recommended candidates. She proposed that the Committee review the details of the candidates individually to satisfy themselves and if Members are satisfied, it should remain at eight candidates.
Ms Peters said that there should still be public scrutiny and reference checks. She suggested the inclusion of Mr Stuart, thus allowing nine candidates to be interviewed.
Ms Abraham said that she wanted to withdraw her suggestions.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was still considering the interview process, but acknowledged Members’ suggestions and asked that nine candidates be interviewed.
Members accepted the Chairperson’s proposal.
Nine Candidates will be recommended for interviews and the list will be presented to the Joint Committee. The recommended candidates are: Mr DF Chapfuwa, Dr DJ Jantjies, Dr L Kaywood, Ms B Khumalo, Dr S Mohamed, Dr JW Mostert, Ms N Orlandi, Dr D Plaatjies and Mr IC Stuart.
Mr Moletsane said that this would be correct to report to the Joint Committee’s on the progress made.
All Members agreed.
Mr Joseph asked for clarity on checking the records of candidates and said a letter should be sent to the other Committees to inform them what the Sub-Committee has decided. Will the investigation into the record of the candidates run concurrently with the interviews or will these reports be made available to the Committee by the time the candidates are set to be interviewed?
The Chairperson said the list needed to be presented to the Joint Committee and the nine candidates should be screened. Is there anything stopping us from having this done?
Members agreed the screening process should proceed.
Mr Joseph pointed out that it could take three months to get security clearance on certain candidates and the process should not be prolonged. He asked the support staff to clarify this.
The Chairperson asked if any Member was against the process of verification and clearance of candidates being put into motion now.
Members were all in agreement to begin the process.
A representative from the Human Resource Unit at PBO said that the candidates could be contacted and sent consent forms for the process to begin. There is communication between Parliament and the Minister to prioritise the vetting process.
Mr Jordaan asked why the candidates needed to go through a vetting process as they did not have access to any classified information. They just need to go through a verification process to check their qualifications and ID.
Adv Frank Jenkins, Senior Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said that there are issues with how long security vetting takes, but this needs to be done because there is a requirement in terms of the Regulations Oversight Act which states that all persons working for government need to be security cleared. He also challenged that, because he did not have access to confidential government information. The Sub-Committee can only make recommendations so it should report to the four committees that have established it on who it recommends for shortlisting and why.
The Chairperson said that if the Joint Committee adds or excludes candidates from the list, it would not have an effect on security vetting; so the process should be started.
Mr Joseph said that when security vetting is done candidates need to give consent. Another challenge will be presented when the Committee and a candidate needs to be informed that he or she has been removed from the list. This will pose a legal challenge.
Ms Peters said the report that will be taken to the Joint Committees will detail what the Sub-Committee has decided. All other matters will follow. Certain processes will run concurrently. We know we are only making recommendations.
The Chairperson said that nothing should happen until the joint sitting of the Committees. He asked Members if they had a counter proposal.
Ms Abraham asked when the larger Committee would meet since a lot of work has already been done. What are the timeframes for this?
The Chairperson said a draft document detailing the dates and timeframe was sent.
Committee Secretary, Mr Lubabalo Nodada, indicated that the document was not sent to all Members but this will be done. He said that Committee’s would meet on Friday, 11 September 2020, to present the names of the shortlisted candidates and other processes.
The Sub-Committee will meet on 14 September for deliberations and identification of its top three candidates, but this is subject to change. Qualification verification could begin from 18 September to 09 October.
The Chairperson made brief closing remarks and said the process should be finalised as soon as possible. He asked for a seconder of this motion.
Mr Joseph asked for clarity on security clearance and if this will only be done for the last three candidates.
Ms Abraham asked whether the meeting will be on Microsoft Teams or if Members will meet physically. Will the Committee need two days to conduct the interviews since sometimes candidates need to make presentations and this can be time consuming?
The Chairperson said that he was under the impression physical interviews would be done.
Mr Jordaan said that he supported physical interviews.
The Chairperson said that interviews would be public and it would give some candidates an unfair advantage as they would have listened to what the candidates who were interviewed before they were. This is why these interviews need to be conducted and concluded in one day and the candidates are simply accommodated in a comfortable space while waiting to be interviewed.
The Chairperson proposed that the Committee meet on Friday, 11 September 2020. The Chairperson made brief closing remarks and stressed that the process should be kept as transparent as possible.
The Members unanimously agreed to this.
The meeting was adjourned.
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