Call for full transparency in failed IEC process

2015-09-25 11:39

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been asked to release the names and CVs of all the applicants who failed to make the shortlist to fill a vacancy in the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) made the request weeks ago, before this week’s announcement by President Jacob Zuma that the process should be restarted from scratch.

Zuma accepted the request from Parliament to re-initiate the selection process for a commissioner because the eight names on the final shortlist submitted by a panel chaired by Mogoeng were too black and too male. Of the eight names submitted, six were African males, one African female and one white female. Twelve candidates, all of whom were named, were initially interviewed by the panel.

The four current IEC commissioners are all black men.

In terms of the constitution, the composition of the electoral commission should “reflect broadly the race and gender composition of South Africa”.

Casac’s Lawson Naidoo said that in light of the decision to reject the shortlist and not make a recommendation, it was of significant public importance to have full transparency for a chapter 9 institution that oversaw the country’s elections.

Yet the chief justice’s office had informed him that it could only release the list after getting permission from the applicants.

“Why is this necessary? This is a public office, a public process, and applicants know this when they apply,” he said.

Naidoo also expressed concern about the delays, saying there appeared to be “no sense of urgency” ahead of the local elections next year.

The office of the chief justice confirmed yesterday that the shortlist process should hopefully be concluded by the end of November – which is when Parliament closes for the end-of-year recess. If the recommendation process is not concluded in Parliament before then, the new commissioner will only be finalised when Parliament reopens in February – a few months before local elections.

“The panel, chaired by the chief justice, is aware of the urgency of filling this vacancy,” said communications acting director Lusanda Ntuli from the office of the chief justice .

She said the Casac request had been considered and a response would be given in the next few days.

The vacancy arose after the resignation of Raenette Taljaard in February, shortly before Vuma Mashinini was appointed as a commissioner amid controversy due to his perceived close relationship with Zuma.

Mashinini filled the vacancy after IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula resigned last year.

The position of chairperson has not yet been finalised.

Read more on:    iec  |  mogoeng mogoeng

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