National Peace and Reconciliation Commission [NPRC]
[11th November 2020]
Parliament Calls for Public Nominations of Persons
to Serve on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission [NPRC]
Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has published the self-explanatory advertisement set out below notifying vacancies on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission [NPRC] and calling on members of the public to nominate persons to be considered for appointment as members of the Commission. This Commission is one of the five constitutional commissions supporting democracy established by Chapter 12 of the Constitution.
There are eight vacancies to be filled. One vacancy arose in February this year, when a member resigned; the other seven vacancies will arise in February 2021 when the current commissioners’ 5-year terms of office expire in February 2021.
The current commissioners, having served only one term, are eligible for re-appointment for a further term, and may also be nominated. It should be noted that the current exercise does not include the NPRC chairperson, Justice Sello Nare, who is less than 3 years into his term of office as chairperson.
The advertisement explains in detail the qualifications required of candidates, the functions of the Commission as set out in the Constitution and how nominations should be submitted. Important points are that:
- there is a deadline – nominations must be received at Parliament before 4.30 pm on Friday 4th December 2020;
- an official nomination form must be used – this may be obtained from Parliament [details in the advertisement] or can be downloaded from the Veritas website [link] – and a separate nomination form must be used for each nominee.
- Nominations may be submitted by email [an email address is provided] as well as more old-fashioned methods.
Other Relevant Points for Would-be Candidates and their Nominators
Ineligible persons [Constitution, section 320(3)]
The following persons are not eligible for appointment: members of Parliament, members of provincial or metropolitan councils, members of local authorities [city and town councillors, local board members, rural district councillors] and members of government-controlled entities [board members of parastatals and government-controlled companies].
Commission members to be non-political [Constitution, section 236]
Commissioners must not, in the exercise of their functions, act in a partisan manner, further the interests of any political party or cause, prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause, or violate the fundamental rights or freedoms of any person.
A member of a political party or organisation may be appointed to the Commission, but must without delay and in any event within thirty days of appointment relinquish the membership – failure to relinquish within 30 days means automatic and immediate forfeiture of the appointment. If a Commission member becomes a member of a political party or organisation, he or she immediately ceases to be a Commission member.
Term of office and remuneration [Constitution, section 320]
The term of office is five years, renewable only once. Remuneration is fixed by Parliament and the general rule is that all members of the Commission are appointed on a full-time basis [NPRC Act, First Schedule, paragraphs 2 and 9].
What Happens after Parliament Receives Nominations?
Section 237(1) of the Constitution spells out what must happen after the CSRO receives nominations.
Once nominations have been received from the public, the CSRO will have to conduct public interviews of prospective candidates [the venue and date will be advertised to enable public attendance], prepare a list of nominees for appointment, and then submit the list to the President.
The list must contain at least TWELVE nominees [section 237(1)(b)] and the President must make his appointments from the list.
Finally, before entering office, the appointees must take oaths of loyalty and office before the President or a person authorised by the President.
Parliament's advert included in the downloadable document below