ATC131106: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the appointment of a commissioner to the South African Human Rights Commission, dated 06 November 2013
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the appointment of a commissioner to the South African Human Rights Commission, dated 06 November 2013
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the nominations of candidates submitted to be appointed as a commissioner to the South African Human Rights Commission, reports as follows:
1.1. At present, the South African Human Rights Commission has four (4) full-time and two (2) part-time commissioners. Commissioner Gladstone Sandi Baai, who was appointed from 1 December 2010 in a full-time capacity, passed away last year, leaving a vacancy.
1.2. In a letter to the National Assembly, dated 13 February 2013, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development requested that the Assembly:
‘(a) Recommend a candidate for appointment as a full-time commissioner to the SA Human Rights Commission, in terms of section 193(5) of the Constitution, following the death of Dr Gladstone Baai on 15 August 2012; and
(b) Consider appointing an additional full-time commissioner, pending the introduction of relevant legislation, to enable the Commission to fulfil its constitutional mandate’.
1.3. The letter was referred to the Committee for consideration and report. The Committee, however, is of the view that it would be premature to appoint an additional commissioner until legislation to bring the South African Human Rights Commission’s enabling legislation in line with the Constitution is passed. This legislation, among other things, will clarify the number of commissioners to be appointed to the South African Human Rights Commission. In addition, legislation, which will address the remuneration of members of constitutional institutions, has only just been introduced.
1.4. The public was asked to nominate candidates for appointment as a commissioner to the South African Human Rights Commission by means of advertisements in the print media.
1.5. The advertisement, calling for nominations, asked that candidates must:
· be South African citizens who are fit and proper to serve on the SAHRC;
· comply with any other requirements prescribed by national legislation, in particular the Human Rights Commission Act, 1994;
· possess suitable qualifications, expertise and experience in the area of human rights;
· promote respect for, and a culture of, human rights;
· promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights;
· monitor and assess the observance of human rights including rights to information and equality;
· act impartially and independently, without fear, favour or prejudice, in the conduct of their duties;
· actively promote public awareness and education on human rights and assist members of the public in accessing their rights;
· be involved in the investigation of alleged human rights abuses or violations and recommend measures for redress, and
· contribute to the research and reporting functions of the SAHRC.
1.6. The Committee received 66 nominations. From these, it ‘short-listed’ the following candidates to be interviewed on 5 September 2013 at Parliament:
· Adv M Ameermia
· Adv MJ Ralefatane
· Ms NP Thejane
· Dr W Gumede
· Prof. V Jaichand
· Ms SN Khutsoane
1.7. Having interviewed the candidates, the Committee resolves that the House recommends to the President that Adv M Ameermia be appointed as a Commissioner to the South African Human Rights Commission.
Report to be considered.
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