I'm not for sale, SAHRC candidate tells MPs

2016-10-13 17:24

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Cape Town – The daughter of a former ANC MP and a Presbyterian minister were among the candidates vying for SAHRC posts interviewed at Parliament on Thursday.

Candidate Asha Ramgobin, the daughter of former a former ANC MP, told MPs she was a passionate, no-nonsense worker who was "not for sale".

The founder of the Human Rights Development Initiative was asked about the ongoing fees protests on campuses across the country.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach asked her what she thought of the challenges of the Fees Must Fall movement and the "vacuum of leadership in the country".

A confident Ramgobin said the ANC was in turmoil.

"Institutions of democracy are currently being tested and challenged in substantial ways and you just have to watch the state of the national address to appreciate that," she said.

She said there might be a leadership vacuum in some sectors, but not in all. She mentioned the clergy taking in students fleeing police during protests.

80 nominations received

Committee chairperson, the ANC’s Mathole Motshekga, said leadership was not about one political party. He questioned if the "so-called leadership vacuum" was linked to the loss of a moral compass in the country. There were many leaders in different sectors in the country and leadership was not limited to the ANC, he said.

The committee has to nominate and recommend seven suitable candidates for appointment as commissioners to the South African Human Rights Commission. It was using the same "blueprint" used during the process to shortlist, interview and nominate a new Public Protector.

The committee received 80 nominations and applications for the position, which it whittled down to 18. By lunchtime on Thursday, the committee had interviewed four candidates.

Former ANC MP, Ben Sibanyoni, who once served on the justice committee, was asked about how Parliament had handled the Public Protector’s Nkandla report.

He said he had not been part of the Nkandla ad hoc committee long enough to deal with the merits of the report. He said the Public Protector’s remedial actions were binding. If anyone had a problem with them, they should approach the courts and not resort to any "other methods".

Too tired for interview

Asked about protests to demand free tertiary education, he told the committee that while people had a right to demonstrate, this had to be balanced against the rights of others.

Former ANC anti-apartheid activist and Presbyterian minister Chris Nissen was asked about his history with big business and how it would affect his work.

While the ANC tag was always with him, he was not actively involved in politics and, as a minister, he understood that people belonged to different organisations, he said.

One candidate told the committee that she was too tired to do her interview on Thursday, as she had just arrived from India.

The remaining candidates included former Public Protector, advocate Lawrence Mushwana, who will be interviewed later on Thursday.

The interviews will continue until Friday. 

 

Read more on:    sahrc  |  anc  |  parliament

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