Public Service Commission vacancies: Report back on interviews & final shortlist, adoption of Committee’s report on nomination

Committee: Public Service and Administration, as well as Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Chairperson: Ms M Matsomela (ANC)

Date of Meeting: 14 Nov 2008

Summary

The Committee received feedback from the sub committee, consisting of the Chairperson and other Committee Members, who had been tasked with dealing with the applications for appointment to the three vacancies as National Public Service Commissioners of the Public Service Commission.  This Committee described the criteria adopted in the process, and gave a profile of the applicants. There had been 218 applications, which were narrowed down to a shortlist of ten, and those ten shortlisted candidates were interviewed. Of these, three names were recommended, with two additional names also being given as optional choices in event of any of the first nominees being unable to take up a position.

The report on nominations was uncontested, and adopted after discussion.


Minutes

Public Service Commission (PSC) vacancies: Report back on interviews of candidates
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the report of the sub-committee tasked with dealing with the nominations to fill the vacancies on the Public Service Commission must be finalised by Parliament before the end of this year, since the vacancies had to be filled by the following January.

She reported that a sub-committee consisting of the Chairperson and Members from various parties had been delegated to work through the 218 applications received. Each party had gone through the files and selected names, and had then studied the curricula vitae of their “batch” of nominees. After this, the sub committee had sat and common names had been mentioned, out of which a shortlist of ten names was compiled. These candidates had been interviewed. These interviews had formed the basis of the eventual recommendation of three nominees and two reserves.

During the interviews, the shortlisted candidates were questioned and their answers and characters assessed against such criteria as age, race, skills and experience, all of which were used as guidelines for further selection.

The Chairperson submitted a profile of the three final nominees, and the reason for their selection, to the committee. She did likewise for the two reserve nominees. One of the three nominees was currently a member of the National Assembly, but had indicated a willingness to relinquish that position, if nominated.

She reminded the Committee that the names disclosed to them had to be treated with strict confidentiality, seeing that the appointment process had not yet been concluded.

She noted that applications had also been received from serving commissioners from the provinces. However, these had not been shortlisted, seeing that they could be nominated at the provincial level. This had to be seen as normal procedure, and did not constitute prejudice.

The Chairperson then presented the report on the nominations for adoption.

Discussion
Mr K Minnie (DA) asked if the sub-committee had a multi-party composition, and whether Parliament would be informed of the large number of applications.

The Chairperson replied in the affirmative to both questions.
 
Mr V Gore (ID) expressed approval of affirmative criteria such as gender and race that had been applied. He asked for a breakdown of how this had been put into practice. He noted that the list would have to be defended. He therefore wondered about the issue of disability disclosure on the part of applicants.

Ms P Tshwete (ANC) replied that the shortlist of ten included five women and five men. She said that it was not common practice for applicants to write disability into their CVs. Audits could be obtained, but it was a sensitive and difficult matter.

The Chairperson noted that the trend was to encourage people to disclose disability.

Mr Gore felt that a way had to be found to promote disability disclosure. He pointed out that a commendable feature of the AIDS campaign was that people started taking pride in not harbouring secrets about their condition.

Mr S Simmons (NA) wondered whether the two reserve nominees were mentioned in order of preference. He also wondered if the nominee who was currently a National Assembly member had any idea whether the move would result in a financial gain or loss to that person.

Mr A Nyambi (ANC) congratulated the sub-committee on the task completed, and moved for the adoption of the report.

Mr Gore seconded the motion.

The Chairperson thanked the Committee for the acceptance, and for its general performance. She appreciated the spirit displayed during the nomination procedures, where a willingness to debate was combined with proven commitment to a shared direction.

The final meeting for the year was scheduled for the following Wednesday.

The meeting was adjourned.


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