ATC201125: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration on the Recommended Candidate for Appointment by the President to serve as a Commissioner for the National Public Service Commission, Dated 25 November 2020

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION ON THE RECOMMENDED CANDIDATE FOR APPOINTMENT BY THE PRESIDENT TO SERVE AS A COMMISSIONER FOR THE NATIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, DATED 25 NOVEMBER 2020

 

The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (the Committee) having considered request by the President of South Africa, requesting the National Assembly to recommend fit and proper person in accordance with section 196(8)(a) of the Constitution, to fill vacancy of a Commissioner for the Public Service Commission, reports as follows.

 

  1. BACKGROUND

 

  1. The Public Service Commission is an independent institution established in terms of Chapter 10 of the Constitution, 1996. It derives its mandate from section 196 of the Constitution, which sets out the values and principles governing public administration. The Constitution stipulates that there is a single PSC for the Republic of South Africa, which consist of 14 commissioners. Section 196 (7)(a) of the Constitution stipulates that five commissioners are approved by the National Assembly in accordance with subsection (8)(a). Section 196(10) states that a commissioner is appointed for a term of five years, which is renewable for one additional term only.

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

 

  1. A letter dated 07 July 2020 (see ATC No 89-2020) was received from the President of South Africa, requesting the National Assembly to initiate the process to fill the upcoming vacancy in the Public Service Commission in terms of the Public Service Commission Act, 1997 (Act No 46 of 1997).  The Speaker referred the matter to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration.

 

  1. Section 196 (10) of the Constitution stipulate that “a commissioner is appointed for a term of five years, which is renewable for one additional term only and must be a woman or a man who is (a) South African citizen and (b) a fit and proper person with knowledge of, or experience in, administration, management or the provision of public service. Based on the previous records in relation to the interpretation of the “a fit and proper person”, the Constitutional and Legal Service prepared legal opinion on the matter. The Committee has used the legal interpretation of “a fit and proper person” in designing an advert calling for interested persons to apply.  

 

  1. In terms of the legal interpretation, it is commonly accepted that in order to be a “fit and proper person” a person must show integrity, reliability and honesty as these are the characteristics which could affect the relationship between such a person and the public. The Courts have also interpreted the requirement of “fit and proper person” and have held that the “fit and proper person” standard as a value judgement.

 

  1. Rule 229 of the 09th Edition Rules of the National Assembly, indicates that “a portfolio committee may appoint a subcommittee from among its members to assist the committee. On 02 September 2020, the Portfolio Committee established the subcommittee to shortlist and interview candidates. The subcommittee comprised of the following members:

African National Congress:

James, Mr TH (Chairperson)

Lesoma, Ms RMM

Kibi, Ms MT

Maluleka, Ms BJ  

 

Democratic Alliance:

Schreiber, Dr LA

 

Economic Freedom Fighters:

Komane, Ms RN

 

National Freedom Party:

Sibisi, Mr CHM

 

  1. On 22nd September 2020, the Committee placed an advert in various national newspapers calling on members of the public who are fit and proper persons to apply for the vacancy at the PSC. The advert closed on 04th October 2020.

 

  1. PROCESS UNDERTAKEN

 

  1. The Committee received 151 applications from applicants who responded to the advert to serve as a commissioner of the Public Service Commission. Since the Constitution and the Public Service Commission Act of 1997 does not prescribe the requirements, the subcommittee agreed on the criteria to be considered for purpose of shortlisting candidates. The following criteria were generally applied:
  • Principle of fit and proper person.
  • Demonstrate strong work ethic and integrity.
  • Extensive knowledge and skill of government system.
  • Understanding of and/or previous experience with the Public Service Commission.
  • Appropriate and extensive experience in senior management level in either public or private sector.
  • Understanding of the National Development Plan and the mandate of the Public Service Commission.

 

  1. The subcommittee impartially discharged its duties diligently in screening all applicants’ curriculum vitae. The subcommittee resolved to shortlist 19 candidates for the interview process. However, there were two candidates who withdrew from the process prior to the interview dates.  The following nineteen (19) candidates were shortlisted:

 

  1. Mr Avinash Bhanpersad Maharaj.
  2. Mr Themba Cornelius Dubazana.
  3. Ms Zukiswa Nolubabalo Mqolomba.
  4. Ms Nalini Maharaj.
  5. Dr Hilton Fisher.
  6. Dr Somadoda Fikeni.
  7. Ms Mpho Sonia Mosing.
  8. Mr Bafo Thomas Khanyeza.
  9. Dr Pulane Elsie Molokwane.
  10. Dr Kentse Berryl Sesele.
  11. Dr Fhumulani Rachel Munyai.
  12. Ms Thembikile Phylicia Makhubela.
  13. Ms Zama Phindile Mdletshe.
  14. Dr Samkelo Edwin Mahlobo.
  15. Ms Okuhle Ndedwa Ngumbela.
  16. Ms Stella Ndedwa Ngumbela
  17. Mr Kaelo Maropefela.

Withdrawals from the interview

  1. Mr Patrick Moeketsi Mashibini 
  2. Dr Ngwadi Mzamo
  1. INTERVIEW PROCESS

 

  1. As per the advert requirements, applicants were subjected to security clearance. All candidates’ details were submitted for the security clearance process.

 

  1. All candidates were invited to attend the interview.

 

  1. Parliament Support Staff drafted an outline to guide interview process in terms steps to be followed in assisting the committee to identify the best candidate for the position. Moreover, Parliament staff drafted guidelines and interview questions framework to advise members of the subcommittee when conducting interviews. The subcommittee adopted both the outline and guidelines comprising of structured interview questions for the purpose of ensuring fairness of the process. All candidates were asked similar questions and assessed fairly in relation to individual capabilities, competency and skills relevant to the job requirements.   

 

  1. Interviews were held over two days. On 02nd November 2020, the subcommittee interviewed nine (9) candidates and eight (8) candidate on 03rd November 2020.

 

  1. The Committee received report on security clearance and final verification of qualifications reports to guide the process to ensure that a fit and proper person gets recommended for the appointment.

 

  1. RECOMMENDATIONS

 

  1. The Portfolio Committee resolved to recommend Dr Somadoda Fikeni to the National Assembly in terms of section 196(8)(a) of the Constitution, for the appointment by the President to serve as a commissioner for the Public Service Commission.

 

  1. In terms of the Public Service Commission Act of 1997, once appointed “a commissioner shall not hold office in any political party or political organisation. A commissioner shall not, without the consent of the President, perform or engage himself or herself to perform any remunerative work outside the duties of his or her office”. This provision of the Public Service Commission Act of 1997 ensures that the Commission remains independent from and impartial to any political influence.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

 

  1. The Portfolio Committee is therefore confident that the candidate recommended above has a clear understanding of the mandate of the Public Service Commission and is therefore fit for appointment, with the exception of the Democratic Alliance.

 

Report to be considered.

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