African National Congress chief whip Mathole Motshekga addresses the National Assembly debate on Monday on the recent deaths of initiates in Mpumalanga.  Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Mathole Motshekga. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

PARLIAMENT’s justice and correctional services portfolio committee is under the whip to fill seven vacancies at the South African Human Rights Commission in October.

The committee was expected on Thursday to release a list of 80 potential candidates for the seven seats. But civil society organisations have expressed concern that the short time allowed for public comment, before short-listing and interviews, would rob the public of playing a significant role in selecting the ideal candidates.

The parliamentary committee’s chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, told the committee when it met on Thursday that it would work under a very tight schedule and could not sacrifice public participation.

He said the local government elections meant the committee had received its mandate on the matter only in August, as Parliament was in recess because of the elections.

Motshekga said public comment would be allowed between September 22 and 30.

The list of applicants would be released for public comment on Thursday and would be published on Parliament’s website so all interested parties could access it, he said.

Interviews would start on October 13, "once public comments have been considered", he said. "On October 19 we will deliberate on the outcomes of those interviews. On October 25 we will hold deliberations to finalise our recommendations to Parliament."

The committee eventually agreed to a shortlist of between 15 and 21 candidates.

Committee members agreed that the interviews would take place over the course of two days, with 45 minutes allowed for each candidate’s interview.

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