The Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and the Select Committee on Health and Social Services met to consider the programme for the National Youth Development Agency board appointment. This was after the Committee had decided to restart the process from scratch.
The Committee agreed to bring the suggested programme forward by one week so it concludes the process by 20 May to enable both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to approve the recommendations by the time Parliament rises mid-June. The President could them make the appointments by July. The amended programme was adopted.
The Chairperson noted that in the 9 February meeting the Committee agreed that it would focus on drafting a programme for the NYDA board appointments. Without a board, the NYDA has been unable to fulfil its mandate or function efficiently. It is expected that this process would be completed by May 2021. The vacancies would be advertised and interested individuals or those nominated are invited to apply. The Speaker has delegated the House Chairperson to work with the Committee to fast-track the process.
In the previous attempt to appoint individuals to NYDA board, the Committee experienced challenges with the screening process. Screening of short-listed candidates took longer than expected. To prevent this reoccurring, the Speaker had instructed the Acting Secretary of Parliament to ensure that the Parliament's Human Resource department verifies the qualifications of all shortlisted candidates. The Committee had an enormous task ahead. She expressed hope that the Committee would complete the process on time.
The Committee Secretary, Ms Nomvula Ngiba, outlined the draft programme:
• 15 to 27 February: Committee prepare the advert, translations and obtain approvals.
• 28 February to 19 March: Advertise the call for nominations or applications for the NYDA board.
• 22 to 31 March: Submitted CVs uploaded to Parliament website for public comment.
• 6 to 24 April: CVs will be summarised by researchers - if agreed to, during a closed meeting.
• 4 May: Committee will consider the criteria for shortlisting of candidates.
• 7 May: Candidates would be shortlisted for interviews.
• 10 to 24 May: HR and state security screening processes.
• 11 May: Committee discuss interview structure and selection process.
• 18 to 20 May: Interviews.
• 25 May: Deliberations.
• 28 May: Committee consider and adopt the NYDA board member recommendations.
The Chairperson proposed that the Committee adopt the programme.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) asked when the Committee would discuss the advert to ensure the requirements are clear to the applicants.
The Chairperson said the Committee would have to convene another meeting the advert would be structured during the period between 15 and 27 February.
Both Chairpersons agreed that Committee not only look at the advert but also ensure that the selection subcommittee programme did not clash with meetings of the Portfolio and Select Committees.
The Secretary suggested that the Committee discuss the advert between 15 and 27 February and asked if the Committee would prefer to have one closed meeting.
The Chairperson asked if the summary of the CVs could be concluded in two weeks instead of three.
The Secretary replied that it could be possible to conclude this in two weeks; however, this would depend on the volume of CVs the Committee receives. With the heightened interested in the NYDA, the Committee should anticipate a significant number of applicants. Summarising all the information on each CV would make it easier for Members to analyse candidates. As this is an important process, she asked that the Committee keep the same timeline
The Chairperson asked if the Committee would be able to finalise the whole process by the end of May.
The Secretary replied that the programme already suggests that the finall date is 28 May.
The Chairperson suggested that the programme should be revised to include the adoption by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces before the June constituency period.
The Secretary replied that this would mean the Committee would have to consider the proposal that there be one closed meeting where all matters relating to criteria and shortlisting would be dealt with – instead of having separate meetings. In addition, the Committee would have to finalise the process earlier than 28 May to allow for both Houses to adopt the recommendations report before the June constituency period.
The Chairperson suggested that the Members adjust the programme by one week, to ensure that by June, a list of the recommended candidates is adopted by the House and provided to the President to make the appointments. The Committee anticipated that the NYDA would then have a full board by July.
Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC, Limpopo) said that the Members would need to establish the rules of engagement to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) suggested that the process of vetting applicants should only be one week, instead of two. This would ensure that the Committee is able to complete its work before the June constituency period. She proposed that the Committee adopt the programme, with the adjustments.
The Chairperson asked Members to consider meeting physically in Parliament, particularly during the interview process.
Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) suggested that the Committee should establish that it will work both in the beginning of the process and at the end.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) asked for clarity on the terms of reference for the programme.
The Chairperson said that in a previous meeting, it was decided that the Committee would re-do the whole process of appointing board members. The advert itself does not require terms of reference, as it is aligned to the NYDA Act and the Constitution. Further, the Speaker would provide guidance on the terms of reference, which would be noted in a following meeting.
Ms Maluleke asked for the Legal Services to clarify for how long the vacancies should be advertised.
Dr Herman Tembe, Legal Officer: Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, replied that although there is not an established rule on this, practice dictates that any advert released by Parliament should not be out for less than two weeks, to ensure that applicants have sufficient time to apply.
Ms P Sonti (EFF) remarked that the three weeks provided for the summaries is suitable. She was concerned that by rushing, the Committee would falter once more in this process. She agreed that some of the meetings should take place in Parliament rather than virtually.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should move to adopt the programme. The process should begin on 10 February and conclude on 20 May. She suggested that the two closed meetings could become one closed meeting. Instead of having a closed meeting on 12 May, that day could be used for interviews.
In November 2020, some Members were involved in the interview process for the appointment of the Central Drug Authority board. Those interviews were conducted in person at Parliament. In addition, all closed meetings should be conducted in Parliament.
In the previous NYDA board appointment process, the meetings clashed with those of other Committees and this caused issues. Currently, some Select Committee members are attending to Section 100 interventions. There should be no clashes. She also asked that all Members respect punctuality.
All House rules would be finalised in the first meeting. If a Member is absent, they must ensure that they catch up on what they had missed in the previous sitting. All Members should ensure that they attend to this matter seriously. The Committee should work together to ensure that the NYDA has a board appointed.
She proposed a mover for the adoption of the programme, which will be adjusted and then sent to Members.
Ms Maluleke moved that the Committee adopt the programme with the amendments. Ms Sonti seconded.
The meeting was adjourned.
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