Parliament gives green light for Somadoda Fikeni to join Public Service Commission

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Somadoda Fikeni.
Somadoda Fikeni.
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  • Parliament has approved political analyst and scholar Somadoda Fikeni's nomination for the post of PSC commissioner.
  • On Wednesday, 239 MPs voted in favour of his appointment, while 12 voted against.
  • The DA voted against - and said Fikeni's appointment is like appointing a chief justice who has no legal experience.

Parliament on Wednesday approved political analyst and scholar Somadoda Fikeni's nomination for the post of commissioner at the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Fikeni is chairperson of the council of the Walter Sisulu University and, from 2004 to 2008, he was COO of the National Heritage Council.

He is an academic, community development activist and a political analyst.

He holds a PhD from Michigan State University, an MA from Queen's University in Canada, and a BA (Hons) from the old University of Transkei.

READ | Investigation into suspended PSC director ongoing, says Senzo Mchunu

On Wednesday, 239 MPs in the National Assembly voted in favour of Fikeni's appointment, and 12 against.

Chairperson of Parliament's Public Service and Administration Committee TyoTyo James said there was a need to standardise the requirements for these posts.

"In addressing the weakness in the recruitment processes for the PSC, we will in 2021 be embarking on a workshop to unpack the interpretation of the term fit and proper persons, in order to ensure capable and ethical persons are appointed at the PSC. We will strengthen the institution," he said.

Not political 

EFF MP Rosina Komane said the position Fikeni will hold is not a political one.

"We will monitor him and hold him to account. We hope that he will deal with the rot and corruption that have rooted in this commission, without fear or favour. We will take him to task on the proposals he made in the interview process," she said.

IFP MP Narend Singh said Fikeni holds much respect with the majority of South Africans.

"We hold a view that the PSC should be impartial, non-political, transparent and accountable. Members need to be driven by an endeavour to assist the public with care, empathy and courtesy. The PSC needs to consider qualifications criteria for the appointment of any individual to the PSC," he said.

READ ALSO | Social grant fraud the most reported complaint - Public Service Commission

DA MP Leon Schreiber said Fikeni's appointment "is like appointing a chief justice who has no legal experience".

"But I'll tell you what he does have: a long record of favourable public comments about the ANC and the EFF. He has praised the EFF leader for his 'immense impact on politics'. And even when the whole world can see how spectacularly President Cyril Ramaphosa is failing to fix our country, Fikeni recently heaped praise on the ANC leader for his supposed 'strength'.

"The ANC and EFF have conspired to appoint someone who will promote them in public, while protecting them during PSC investigations," he said.

Parliament advertised the position in September and received 151 applications from people across South Africa.

The committee shortlisted 19 candidates.

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