With the 2019 elections less than a year away, we still have three IEC Commissioners that need to be appointed. While we await the National Assembly to formally recommend the three candidates to the President for appointment, we’ll take a look back at the process so far and who the Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs recommended.
How we got here
This long appointment process began with the Office of the Chief Justice opening up the call for public nominations, to gruelling two day panel interviews and then followed by a somewhat heated Parliamentary process.
The panel (Chief Justice, a representative from the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Gender Equality and the Public Protector) received 119 nominations from the public and dwindled it down to 26 candidates that faced tough questions ranging from the voters’ roll, cyber security and attracting more youth voters.
The 26 became eight and these were sent to the Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs for them to recommend their three best picks.
The three (almost) Commissioners
Judge Dhanyanithie Pillay, Dr. Nomsa Praisy Masuku and Mr. Mosotho Simon Moepya made it through this lengthy process and are set to head the most important institution right now. Once approved by the National Assembly, their names will be sent to the President and then begin the tough task of preparing for the 2019 national elections.
Moepya who received nomination from the ANC and IFP in the Home Affairs Committee, was the point of contention amongst MPs with opposition parties questioning his nomination since he was under investigation on corruption charges by the Public Protector. His name has not yet been cleared.
Moepya worked for the IEC for more than 18 years. He spent five years as its Chief Electoral Officer where he managed both the 2014 national and provincial elections and the 2016 municipal elections. In 2013 the former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela released her report and recommended that the IEC considers disciplinary action against Moepya due to allegations of corruption during the illegal procurement of office rentals. The former Public Protector found that the R320 million rentals of the Riverside Office Park “violated procurement rules”.
Judge Pillay received four votes from the ANC, EFF, DA and IFP. She was the only judge shortlisted. She is one of South Africa’s leading labour law experts with more than 15 years experience as a judge, 10 of which were spent at the Labour Court of SA. She currently holds the position of Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria.
Dr. Masuku received two votes from DA and ANC and she is currently the IEC’s Deputy Chief Electoral Officer responsible for Outreach. She previously headed Standard Bank’s corporate social investment unit. Before she joined Standard Bank‚ she worked for the IEC for eight years in various roles. Masuku has a PhD in English from the University of Birmingham in the UK.
Current IEC Commissioner and the only one who was up for re-appointment, Reverend Bongani Finca received three party nominations in the Committee but unfortunately did not make the cut.
Since the National Assembly is the final step before the President appoints them, we strongly urge the Speaker to not delay this process so that the new Commissioners have sufficient time to learn the ropes and deliver a national election that is free and fair.
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