“The SCA notes the following:
a) Section 193 (5) of the Constitution stipulates that the National Assembly must recommend persons (a) nominated by a committee of the Assembly proportionally composed of members of all parties represented in the Assembly. However, the process of attaining the names of appointees does not appear to be stipulated in any legal document, although the information indicates that a consultative process including a nation-wide announcement of the vacancies is undertaken and that an ad hoc committee to consider nominations received from the public and interviews of candidates is established, which are then submitted in a shortlist to the National Assembly.
b) Section 193 of the Constitution stipulates that civil society may be involved in the recommendation process of members of the Commission but the exact role of civil society is not defined in any legislation.
c) The SAHRC Act S. 5(1)(a)(i) states the minimum criteria for the appointment of SAHRC Commissioners.
While acknowledging that the process reportedly used in recent appointments was clear, transparent and participatory, the SCA notes that the process is not formalized in legislation, regulation, or in a binding administrative guideline.
It is critically important to ensure the formalization of a clear, transparent and participatory selection and appointment process for an NHRI’s decision-making body in relevant legislation, regulations
or binding administrative guidelines, as appropriate. A process that promotes merit-based selection and ensures pluralism is necessary to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.
The SCA encourages the SAHRC to advocate for the formalization of the selection process in relevant legislation, regulations or binding administrative guideline and application of a process that includes:
a) Publicize vacancies broadly;
b) Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and educational qualifications;
c) Promote broad consultation and / or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process;
d) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly-available criteria; and
e) Select members to serve in their individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.”