Final selection of candidates

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


2 September 1998



The ANC presented a list of 5 names, while the minority parties (DP, NP and PAC) presented their list of 5 names. There was agreement on three candidates, namely Ms Seroke, Mr Jack and Reverend Everson. The minority party’s disagreement on the last two candidates on the ANC list, Ms Tlake and Ms van Wyk, resulted in the committee having to resort to a vote. The ANC list was accepted as the final list.


Members of Parliament:

Chairperson: Ms Routledge (ANC)

Ms Fester (ANC)

Ms Smuts (DP)

Ms de Lille (PAC)

Ms Malan (NP)

Two alternate ANC members attending for the purposes of achieving a quorum

Members of the public

Mr Faried Esack (Commissioner on the Gender Commission)

Detailed minutes

The Chairperson mentioned that the skills audit of the Gender Commission, provided by Mr Esack, had guided the committee during the selection process and that the committee had reached a relatively loose agreement on 5 names to recommend to the National Assembly. She suggested that each member of the committee should state what their choices are and provide a brief motivation for their choice.

Ms de Lille (PAC) suggested that they break for 10 minutes to allow members to decide on their lists.

Ms Fester (ANC) said that there was a clear need for Commissioners in the North West, Free State and Northern Province. She said she was particularly impressed with Kubushi but had not included her in the ANC list. She was also impressed with Basson, but due to her inability to relocate from Gauteng, she had not been added to the list. Professor Basson had said in her interview that she would not be prepared to relocate if appointed because she has very small children. Mr Jack was included because it was necessary to have a man on the list. Seroke has indicated that she will return to the Eastern Cape. Ms van Wyk lives in the Northern Cape and represents grassroots and rural women. It is important not to have an overweight of academics on the Commission. Tlake is from the Free State and demonstrated a sound knowledge of human rights issues in her interview.

The ANC list is thus:

Reverend Everson, Ms van Wyk, Ms Seroke, Mr Jack and Ms Tlake.

The Chairperson said that there were reservations regarding Ms van Wyk’s independence. She comes from Namaqualand, Pofadder – which is actually some distance from Kimberley. There is enough of an ethic in the Commission to integrate someone who has a bit of a parochial approach. There is also a code of conduct which commissioners will have to adhere to.

The PAC, DP and NP had a discussion in the corridors and returned with a minority party list: Everson, Jack, Seroke, Basson and Marima.

The chairperson noted that Marima and Basson live in Gauteng. The minority party list does not have a Free State representative and has two Gauteng candidates. She said that the ANC would prefer it if the committee were able to reach consensus. She asked Ms Fester (ANC) to respond to the minority parties list and said that the committee must then take a decision.

Ms de Lille (PAC) said that the minority parties did consider geographics, but that they feel that if one has to weigh up geographics versus skills, they would go for skills.

Ms Fester (ANC) said that Basson is from Gauteng and has indicated that she will not relocate. That is a problem. Race is an issue which also has to be taken into account, despite her impressive work. Although the Act does not require geographical representation, they have been guided by the Commissioners themselves who are finding their work particularly difficult due to distance. She said that if the minority list was accepted, the Commission would be heavily weighted with academics. It is important to have grassroots representation, for example, Ms van Wyk. There is a need to understand the needs of grassroots women. She would be a good balance to a rather academic Commission.

Ms de Lille (PAC) pointed out that Ms van Wyk was from the Northern Cape and as a result, the ANC list has two people from the Northern Cape.

The Chairperson (ANC) motivated for Tlake. She is a good combination of someone who has worked in nursing and in policy. In the particular confines of the nursing profession, she has been very creative. She speaks about 4 or 5 languages and is prepared to be a full-time commissioner.

The Chairperson (prompted by a note from Mr Esack) mentioned that Reverend Everson lives in the North West and not in the Northern Cape.

Ms Smuts (DP) commented that because she lives close to the border, she is in the perfect position to service both areas.

The Chairperson said that she sat on the previous appointment committee and they were critised for not selecting enough rural people. The committee can’t make the same mistake again by loading the Commission with people from urban areas.

Ms Malan (NP) said that the committee should note that many competent rural women leave the rural areas and move to urban areas because there are more opportunities in urban areas.

Ms Mabuza (ANC) objected, saying that she comes from the deep rural areas in the Northern Province and would like to know how Ms Malan would classify her.

Ms Malan (NP) said that she had been misunderstood. She didn’t mean to convey that rural women are not competent, but just that the committee should not discriminate against rural women who have moved to the urban areas.

The Chairperson said that the committee now had the chance to achieve a more even spread on the Commission by adding people from the Free State, North West and Northern Cape.

Ms Smuts (DP) noted that both van Wyk and Tlake were ANC office bearers and said that it was not good to place party political office bearers on independent commissions. She was particularly opposed to van Wyk and expressed the view that Tlake was the better candidate of the two.

In answer, the Chairperson said that the Act requires party office bearers to resign upon appointment to the Commission. One can’t disadvantage people simply because they hold a high position in the ANC. The committee needs to come to a decision.

Ms Smuts (DP) said that they should discuss Basson.

Ms de Lille (PAC) asked how the committee should balance the requirements of the Act versus the needs of the present Commission. The committee should consider the need to revise the Act as a solution, but in the interim and for this process there was a problem: The choice was being made based on the needs for the Commission and the committee has not stuck to the requirements of the Act.

As far as Basson was concerned, Ms de Lille (PAC) pointed out that the committee was about to discriminate against a woman on the basis that she has children.

The Chairperson said that Basson was not chosen because she is from Gauteng and said that she will not be able to relocate. Her inability to relocate is the problem, not that she has small children.

Ms Fester (ANC) said that as it was she who had used the words at the beginning of the meeting, she would like to clarify. She was actually quoting words used by Basson. As a feminist and a family women she did not want to be misinterpreted on this point.

Ms Smuts (DP) added that it should be noted that Basson had expressed willingness to fly around.

Ms de Lille re-iterated what she had said earlier. The committee was acting outside of the Act. The requirement of provincial representation is not in the Act. The relocation requirement is also not in the Act. She said that she was sensitive to the needs of the Commission, but that if they used criteria which are not in the Act, the committee should have done it with all the applicants.

The Chairperson said that she wanted to correct Ms de Lille: The committee had been guided from the start by the needs of the Commission and all applicants were judged accordingly.

The Chairperson expressed reservations about personal information about candidates and the reasons for rejecting them being discussed in public. Ms Smuts (DP) said that in appointment committees, they normally close the meeting when they have frank discussions.

The Chairperson stated again for the record, that the committee was not going outside of what the Act requires.

Ms Malan (NP) said that she had been guided by the criteria in the Act. Provincial and gender considerations cannot guide the committee because they are not provided for in the Act.

Ms Smuts (DP) said that the committee could face a challenge to the process if they do not stick to the Act.

Ms Fester objected (ANC), saying that the committee members who had been present at the interviews would have seen what questions she asked and that these questions were aimed at finding out whether the candidates fitted the requirements of the Act. When she motivated the ANC list at the beginning of the meeting, she thought it unnecessary to spell out why the chosen candidate fitted the requirements of the Act. That is why she motivated with information regarding their geographical and rural location.

Ms Smuts (DP) mentioned that only one requirement in the Act relates to the need for grassroots contact. There is a string of requirements for legal expertise. She also mentioned that the white commissioner in Gauteng may not be there for very long and this should be taken into consideration.

The Chairperson said that the possibility of a commissioner resigning should only be taken into account when it happens.

Ms Malan (NP), motivating for Basson, said that she has a lot of experience in making her work have practical effect. Ms Malan (NP) suggested that the committee look at what they all agree on.

The Chairperson agreed, saying that she did not want to resort to a vote.

ANC list Minority party list

Seroke Seroke

Jack Jack

Everson Everson

Van Wyk Basson

Tlake Marima

The minority parties indicated that if they had to choose between Tlake and Van Wyk, they would choose Tlake.

Ms Malan (NP) said that even without the last two names, the list was already weighted in favour of the ANC. Ms Smuts (DP) agreed, saying that Seroke and Jack were both ANC members.

The Chairperson disagreed, stating that Jack had been nominated by business, Everson by the religious community and Seroke was not aligned to the ANC.

A brief corridor caucus followed.

Ms Fester (ANC) stated that the minority party list came without an ANC candidate and said that the ANC was sticking to its original list which included Tlake and Van Wyk.

The committee resorted to a vote. All agreed on Seroke, Jack and Everson. The DP and PAC voted against Tlake and Van Wyk, while the NP voted for Tlake, but against Van Wyk.

The final list of five to be submitted to the National Assembly to fill the four vacancies on the Commission is thus:

Ms Seroke

Mr Jack

Rev. Everson

Ms Tlake

Ms Van Wyk


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