Interviews with candidates

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report



26 August 1998



The purpose of meeting was to short-list 10 nominations, from a total of 80 valid nominations: (2 full time; 1 part-time). They were successful in achieving this. The final shortlist is as follows:

Seroke, Ntutela, Wessels, Lyster, Majodina, Bayi, Bosset, Moletsane, Mkgato, Monthata


Ms Rantho (Chairperson) began by outlining the aim of the meeting, i.e. to agree on a short list of 10 names. The issue of late nominations was briefly addressed. Five "late entries" were discussed; two of these were allowed since they were already ‘in the pipeline’, whereas the other three were deemed to be too late for consideration.

She then suggested that the meeting should be dealt with in stages:


Firstly, they should establish which names are common to all the parties' shortlists. The parties were each asked to list 10 names that they most wish to be considered (Note: Not every party took the opportunity to put forward the maximum of 10 names). The lists are as follows:

Name: Candidate no: Gender:


J Seroke 69 F

L Ntutela (Dr) 54 F

R Basson 65 F

R Omar 71 M

Mkgato 79 M

S Cooper 48 M

Roddy 62 M?

Mbere (Dr) 25 M?

L Wessels 45 M


R Lyster 15 M

T Montata 24 M

L Ntutela (Dr) 54 F

Nyoka 33 M

G Bayi (Dr) 50 M

J Seroke 69 F

Y Mkholo 53 M?

Majodina 66 M?


R Lyster 15 M

R Sizani 41 M

L Wessels 45 M

S Cooper 48 M

J Wilson 49 F

L Ntutela (Dr) 54 F

J Seroke 69 F

M Bosset Unknown F

(+ Mkholo

+ Basson... "if it assists the process")


M Moletsane 27 M?

R Sizani 41 M

L Wessels 45 M

S Cooper 48 M

J Wilson 49 F

L Ntutela (Dr) 54 F

J Seroke 69 F

M Bosset Unknown F

R Basson 65 F

(+ Van Rijn...addition that appeared later)

Table of shortlist nominations:


Joyce Seroke 1 1 1 1 4

Lindela Ntutela 1 1 1 1 4

Leon Wessels 1 1 1 3

Rachel Basson 1 1 1 3

S Cooper 1 1 1 3

Richard Lyster 1 1 2

M Moletsane 1 1 2

R Sizani 1 1 2

Mkholo 1 1 2

M Bosset 1 1 2

J Wilson 1 1 2

Mkgato 1 1

Mbere 1 1

Roddy 1 1

Omar 1 1

Majodina 1 1

Montata 1 1

Nyoka 1 1

Bayi 1 1

Van Rijn 1 1

Analysis of table:

- Only two nominations were common to all parties (Seroke and Ntutela).

- Three nominations were common to IFP, NP and DP only (Wessels, Basson and Cooper).

- Six nominations were shared by two parties only;

-ANC and DP agreed on nominees Lyster and Mkholo.

-ANC and NP agreed on nominee Moletsane.

-NP and DP agreed on nominees Sizani, Bosset and Wilson.

- All other nominees were supported by one party only.

Conclusion to Stage 1: Ms van der Merwe (ANC) suggested that "all those with 4 votes we take on without discussion". There were no objections therefore to Seroke and Ntutela as the first nominees to be shortlisted.


Ms Rantho (Chair) directed the committee to discuss the remaining nominations in turn. Before doing so, she asked them to note that there are already six lawyers present on the SAHRC and suggested that perhaps there is no need for any more. In addition, she suggested that the committee should look at other expertise from the nominations that might be more needed.

a) Lyster

Mr Kekana (ANC) supported this candidate since his professional experience is valuable. Ms Smuts (DP) agreed.

Ms Vos (IFP) objected that this candidate is not suitable since he has made some very contentious and prejudicial remarks, notably with reference to the IFP, in letters that he has written in recent months. She said that he has lost the confidence of the majority of the people in his area. She emphasised that the committee should not allow itself to be motivated by a scoring of political points approach because that is not going to help the SAHRC fulfil its purpose.

The chairperson noted that the same could be said about the IFP’s nomination of Wessels. The chairperson continued by saying that, from the point of view of the ANC, Lyster was needed.

Ms Smuts intervened by suggesting that the committee should at least consider him for an interview.

Mr Bakker (NP) strongly supported Ms Vos’ argument for minimising any political slant that might influence the process and agreed that Lyster should not be shortlisted.

Mr Kekana (ANC) addressed the IFP’s objection by recognising that people make mistakes (refers to spirit of TRC) but added that the candidate is nevertheless a man of integrity. (To which Ms Vos disagreed vehemently). He said that one must not ignore that the man has experience.

The chairperson avoided a situation of stalemate by demanding that the parties make a compromise and by dictating on what terms they should agree. She said that, even though both the IFP and NP representatives had expressed opposing views, Lyster’s name could be put on the shortlist and when the interviews are carried out then the opposing parties may seek to substantiate their objections.

Lyster was then shortlisted.

b) Moletsane

Ms Smuts (DP) was quick to point out that this nomination is a lawyer but added that she would not object to his being shortlisted.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) stressed that they should not discriminate against lawyers just because there are already six on the SAHRC. She praised his other attributes and achievements, including writings on social issues. Mr Kekana (ANC) also emphasised that the candidate’s experience could not be ignored. Mr Bakker (NP) agreed that he had an impressive CV.

Moletsane’s name was flagged for later consideration.

c) Cooper

All agreed that this individual is known very much by his reputation. Ms Vos (IFP) commended his wide range of experience and extensive involvement in social issues.

Mr Kekana (ANC) observed however that, in his point of view, if one was to weigh up Cooper with Moletsane, Moletsane would be his first choice. A disagreement ensued regarding a concern that Moletsane was being chosen above Cooper due to his allegiance to the ANC. The chairperson said that it was wrong to assume that where there was a disagreement between two candidates, the ANC supporter would be favoured. Ms Vos (IFP) expressed her disagreement with the chairperson statement. Mr Bakker and Mr Fourie (NP) were unable to express any opinion on the candidate.

Cooper’s name was flagged also for later deliberation.

d) Sizani

Received opposition from ANC and IFP representatives. Ms Vos (IFP) observed that the candidate has a tendency to jump from job to job. She argued that the committee must remember that it is not an employment agency.

Mr Fourie (NP) responded to these attacks by suggesting that they should not be motivated in their decision by a candidate’s employment situation, past or current, but by whether or not he would be suited to the job in question.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) asked whether or not they were considering him for the part-time or full-time position. Ms Smuts replied that they should only be considering candidates for the full-time position.

The chairperson intervened once again to reiterate the candidate’s history of employment for short periods of time. Mr Kekana and Ms van der Merwe (ANC) also recommended that he not be shortlisted.

Sizani was not shortlisted.

e) Mkholo

Ms Smuts (DP) reminded everyone that she did not have strong feelings about this candidate. Mr Kekana (ANC) expressed doubt about the candidate. Ms Vos (IFP) offered no support. Ms Smuts withdrew the nomination.

Mkholo was not shortlisted.

f) Bosset

Ms Smuts (DP) again implied that she did not feel strongly about the candidate but that her CV showed the candidate to have been involved in some very interesting affairs. She seemed a solid candidate but perhaps too young? Ms Vos (IFP) added in her favour that she had done some impressive work and was a victim of torture.

Bosset’s nomination was flagged for later consideration

(Chairperson took the opportunity to remind the committee that the vacancies resulted from the departure of three women and so this factor ought to be considered when discussing the candidates.)

Ms Vos (IFP) also wished to remind everyone that they had been mandated to consider the race component also.

g) Wilson

Ms van der Merwe (ANC) observed that the candidate appeared to have only arrived in South Africa in 1989. Mr Bakker (NP) supported their choice by highlighting the impressive CV but Ms van der Merwe insisted that the candidate had not spent enough time in the country.

Wilson was not shortlisted.

h) Mkgato

Ms Vos (IFP) observed that he was blind. Mr Kekana (ANC) corrected her by saying that the politically-correct term was not "blind" but "visually impaired". Ms Vos continued that there is little done for disabled people these days. Ms Smuts made reference to a trend of appointing disabled people. The chairperson supported the nomination with the view that he could be an asset to the SAHRC in that regard and that, for the purpose of shortlisting, the committee should be as inclusive as possible.

Mkgato was flagged for later consideration.

i) Mbere

The Chairperson commented that the Public Service Commission has raised doubts about this candidate's performance. She added (in direct contradiction to what Mr Fourie (NP) had suggested earlier) that the committee should be conscious of past performance levels in employment. Ms Vos accepted the objections and withdrew her nomination.

Mbere was not shortlisted.

j) Roddy

No support. No discussion. Not shortlisted.

k) Omar

Ms Vos (IFP) noted that this candidate is very impressive; has done a large amount of gender work (in Muslim community in particular). ANC members agreed that the candidate stood out. NP members offered no support.

Ms Vos again dropped her nomination but reminded those present to remember how accomodating she had been when it came to reconsidering those nominations that had been flagged.

Omar was not shortlisted.

(Mr Kekana (ANC) took the opportunity to find out how many women they still had in the running)

l) Majodina

Mr Bakker (NP) pointed out that this candidate also has a very impressive CV. ANC members agreed.

Ms Vos (IFP) objected to how little time the candidate had appeared to have been resident in the country. Discussion ensued as to how long she had worked in South Africa and as to her citizenship. Mr Kekana (ANC) asked why Ms Vos was discriminating against people on the grounds that they had been out of the country. In reply, she said that in the past five years there have been problems with immigrants who take up employment in place of those who not only have not had such opportunities in the past (and therefore are more worthy of the employment) but also have had greater exposure to and experience of the changing face of South Africa. Mr Kekana then observed that Majodina may well have been absent from the country as a political exile, not through her own volition.

Both the chairperson and Mr Kekana drew upon the candidate’s experience of dealing with child abuse and neglect cases and stressed that, within the SAHRC, one has to confront these issues regularly with wisdom and sensitivity.

Majodina’s name is shortlisted. It was decided that Ms Vos’ fears of her lack of citizenship can be attended to later.

m) Mantata

Mr Kekana (ANC) expressed strong feelings about this candidate by virtue of his experience. Noted that he is a strong Christian and educationalist; showed admirable qualities and a very accommodating conduct in his involvement with affairs of the TRC.

Ms Vos instigated another discussion about the ethics of considering candidates that are so strongly associated with political parties. Ms van der Merwe (ANC) reiterated that Mantata was a very strong church person. Ms Vos responded that that factor does not hold any weight with the community.

Mr Kekana continued his support by saying that Mantata has a very impressive listening skill. The chairperson added that the SAHRC had made a request that the committee should take into account the maturity of the candidates. Of course, she added, that they should not then discriminate against young applicants but, in terms of experience and maturity, there were certain kinds of people that they should be focusing on. This was a direct contribution to the support of the candidate.

Mantata’s name was flagged also.

n) Nyoka

Ms Chalmers (ANC) said that he was also an extremely capable advocate and attorney. He is quite young but has lots of experience with human rights and she thought would do well in the SAHRC.

Ms van der Merwe (ANC) continued in support before Ms Vos interrupted with the observation that he is an ANC member and that other candidates weigh up to be more serious.

Nyoka was not shortlisted.

o) Bayi

Ms van der Merwe (ANC) noted that the candidate’s CV was very impressive; has a PhD in Ethics. Mr Kekana stressed in addition that the most important thing is work experience not academic achievements. No objections from either NP or IFP.

Bayi was shortlisted.

p) Van Rijn

Mr Bakker (NP) withdrew the nomination.


Having already shortlisted six nominations, the committee referred back to those that were flagged and hastily chose four to fill in the ten nominations required with little substantive comment. The final shortlist is as follows:




R Lyster







Representatives present: Rantho, M M (Chair, ANC)

Chalmers, J (ANC)

Kekana, N N (ANC)

Van der Merwe (ANC)

Bakker, D M (NP)

Fourie, W L (NP)

Smuts, M (DP)

Vos, S C (IFP)

[Others: Shelley Maposele (representative from SAHRC)]


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