The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has tried to bulletproof the appointment directors of state-owned enterprises against political interference, recommending a statutory body be established to vet prospective candidates for suitable qualifications and integrity.
Much of the looting in the state capture saga took place in state-owned enterprises. The appointment of crony boards and top executives to state-owned companies by "shareholder ministers" made large-scale corruption easily possible.
The commission says it wants to establish "a truly independent and transparent process free from political manipulations so that the ultimate appointment made by a minister is genuinely the result of a merit-based selection process".
It recommends a Standing Appointment and Oversight Committee be established to ensure, through public hearings, that anyone nominated for a board position as CEO, chief financial officer, or chief procurement officer of a state-owned enterprise meets "the professional, reputational and eligibility requirements for such a position".
The committee would comprise: a retired judge; the minister of finance or their nominee; a senior legal practitioner appointed by the Legal Practice Council; a senior representative of the business community and of the trade union community, both appointed by Nedlac; a registered auditor appointed by the chairperson of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors; and an industry expert appointed the State-owned Enterprise Council, as well as a senior representative of an anti-corruption non-profit organisation.
The commission also sets out details of the procedure to be followed, which places severe constraints on the ability of the minister concerned to make unsuitable choices.
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