Department of Justice on Certain Matters Pertaining to Commissioners: briefing

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Meeting report

Meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Nomination of Persons to fill Vacancies on the Commission on Gender Equality

14 March 2006

Acting Chairperson: Ms R Morutoa

Documents handed out:
Presentation to the committee

These minutes were provided by Committee Secretary, Mr Ben Kali

Advocate Sewpaul and her team took the Committee through some background information:

The Commission on Gender Equality gots its mandate from section 187 of the Constitution, with the enabling legislation being the Commission on Gender Equality Act No 39 of 1996. Sections 3 and 4 of the Act deal with the process of appointment of Commissioners.

The present Commissioners were appointed in 2001. The resignation of Mr SM Meintjies and Ms STN de Bruyn, whose term would expire on 18 April 2006, gave rise to two vacancies. The further resignation of Ms BT Ngcobo and Ms MF Tlake gave rise to two more vacancies, resulting in a total of four, for which nominations have been called.

The Speaker of the National Assembly had requested the Minister to call for nominations on 10 December 2004 for the first two vacancies, and again in July 2005 for the other two. The validity of the first two resignations was called into question and this caused some delay in the process while legal opinion was sought. A meeting was arranged with the CGE to discuss the matter, after which a directive was issued to proceed to call for nominations. The Minister subsequently submitted proposals to the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Nominations have been called for in order to fill all four posts, and the Department is expected to submit names to the Speaker in due course.

The Committee’s concern was having to go through a two-phased process of interviewing nominees, instead of interviewing for all four vacancies, thereby cutting down on time and costs.

The Department indicated that all nominations, which were called for on 24 February 2006, should be in by 24 March 2006. After this the Minister would send the names to the Speaker so that the Committee may deal with all four vacancies at once. The Committee was alerted to the fact that Cabinet had requested a review of all Chapter 9 institutions [led by the Department of Public Service and Administration] because of disparities and other issues.

The Committee was further advised to check if its mandate is wide enough to cover any issues which may be consequential to any considerations or adjustments that may have to be made during this process. If the mandate was not wide enough, the Committee might consider seeking resolution from the House before addressing such issues to the required extent.

The Committee resolved to meet again on Wednesday 22 March 2006 at 12:30, wherein the Department is once again invited to assist when further discussions ensue.

Election of Acting Chairperson

The election of Acting Chairperson for the duration of Ms Tshwete’s absence was postponed since there was no quorum. Ms Morutoa was, in the interim, elected to chair the day’s meeting.

Meeting adjourned.

Morutoa, Ms M R           -ANC
Semple, Ms J                -DA
Rajbally, Ms S               -MF

Tshwete, Ms P  -ANC
Nzimande, Mr L P M      -ANC

The following officials also attended:
Ms S Taitai        -           PLO; DoJ
Mr S Mahlangu  -           Department of Justice
Adv OM Sewpaul           -           Department of Justice
Ms Suraya Williams       -           CGE
Mr Nceba Sihlali            -           CGE


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