SAHRC finalises list of new commissioners

The South African Human Rights Commission will have a new team to lead it as Parliament’s justice committee finalised the interview process of commissioners yesterday.

Though one of the former commissioners is still on the list it seems that two others, Advocate Lawrence Mushwana and Lindiwe Mokate, have been axed.

The process to find new commissioners started in September and Mushwana and Mokate were two of 18 nominees interviewed two weeks ago.

According to sources close to the process the seven commissioners that will be formally announced next week will include:

  • Professor Bongani Majola
  • Sewpal Jana
  • Professor Firoz Cachalia
  • Angie Makwetla
  • Jonas Sibanyoni
  • Advocate Bokankatla Malatji
  • Chris Nissen
  • Andre Gaum

Last week, the Mail & Guardian reported that staff at the commission were fighting tooth and nail to ensure that Mushwana and Mokate do not return as commissioners.

The staff members submitted a seven-page letter objecting to the reappointment of the two citing tampering of reports, bullying, victimisation and human right violations.

The new chairperson of the commission is likely to be Majola who was a firm favourite during the interviews.

South Africa First which also made submission to the parliamentary committee supported him citing a long list of achievements.

“Professor Majola has academic qualifications including an LLM from Harvard University in 1988. He has practiced as an advocate of the High Court and was the assistant secretary general of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Besides his extensive international experience and esteem in which he is held, he was also the national director for the Legal Resource Center (1996 – 2003) here in SA which is renowned for quality human rights work and advocacy,” reads the submission.

After the list has been tabled before Parliament next week it will await the President’s signature as the SAHRC prepares to fill the vacant seats. 

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