South Africa: Media Statement - Justice and Correctional Services Committee Nominates Two Candidates for SA Human Rights Commission


The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services today recommended two names for vacancies on the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), including that of a Deputy Chairperson.

The overwhelming majority of members in the meeting nominated and voted in favour of Ms Fatima Chohan for the position of Deputy Chairperson of the SAHRC and Ms Philile Ntuli as a full-time commissioner.

Committee Chairperson Mr Bulelani Magwanishe said the committee had shortlisted 10 candidates, which included some candidates who were already serving as SAHRC commissioners. Mr Magwanishe said the criteria for the positions included that the nominee/applicant must be a South African citizen and a fit and proper person to the hold office of commissioner, as stipulated in section 193(1) of the Constitution. The person must have a record of commitment to promoting and respecting human rights, have applicable knowledge or experience on matters connected with the objects of the Commission, and comply with any other requirements prescribed by national legislation, in particular the SAHRC Act, 2013.

The Sub-committee on Correctional Services, which is made up of members serving on the Portfolio Committee on Justice, met afterwards to receive a briefing from the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services (JICS) regarding the investigation concerning an Independent Correctional Centre Visitor (ICCV), Mr TG Nkwanyana, found smuggling cigarettes into a correctional centre during lockdown alert level 3.

The committee heard that a senior manager at the Krugersdorp Correctional Centre was informed by an inmate that an ICCV was smuggling contraband cigarettes into the correctional centre. The manager wanted to conduct a search at Mr Nkwanyana's office, but before the search could be conducted, Mr Nkwanyana disclosed six packets of cigarettes. At the time of the incident (August 2020) the country was under national lockdown alert level 3, in line with the Disaster Management Act, 2002. As a result of these actions, Mr Nkwanyana was charged with three counts of misconduct.

During the disciplinary hearing, Mr Nkwanyana pleaded guilty to all the charges levelled against him and he tendered his resignation at the beginning of the disciplinary hearing.

The Chairperson of the enquiry explained that the resignation and disciplinary hearing are two separate processes and that he, as the Chairperson, does not have any jurisdiction over the resignation process; therefore, the disciplinary hearing should proceed. The Chairperson took cognisance of the remorse shown by Mr Nkwanyana and recommended that although he is dismissed, he should be allowed to continue to serve the remainder of his employment contract (13 working days) at the NMR. The above recommendation and sanction were accepted by the delegated authority and his services were terminated with effect from 20 November 2020.

The committee commended the JICS for the speedy resolution and conclusion to the matter.

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