MPs endorse new Ipid head Jennifer Ntlatseng
The portfolio committee on police has given the National Assembly the green light to appoint Jennifer Dikeledi Ntlatseng as the new executive director for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
This after Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday briefed the committee on the process he had followed to nominate Ntlatseng to occupy the position left vacant by former Ipid head Robert McBride 16 months ago.
This was despite the committee having not overhauled the Ipid Act to include aspects on appointment of the watchdog body's head, as ordered by the court.
And despite the Helen Suzman Foundation asking that the process be put on hold pending their appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal in a matter arising from the non-renewal of McBride's contract.
Briefing the committee, Cele said the process of nominating an Ipid executive director has been tedious and long.
"We have tried to fall within the 12 months as prescribed by law but it could not happen," he said.
The minister also said they have had serious steps to deal with the matter and that the process had started with advertising for the filling of the post.
"We looked at the quality of people that applied. We could not find the candidate to fill this position," he said.
Cele said they had placed another advert, shortlisted and interviewed candidates.
"We could not find a candidate. That was within the period, but towards the end of the period," he said, referring to the prescribed 12-month period to make a nomination for the Ipid head appointment.
He told MPs that after this failed attempt to recruit, he had then written to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, asking for an extension in April.
"Because we also tried twice, we went to the process of headhunting, which is allowed but also has its own processes," said Cele.
He said they then hired consultant company Ultimate Recruit Solutions (URS) to undertake the headhunting.
"That process continued after we had requested an extension from the Office of the Speaker," Cele said.
He said 24 people were approached by URS to be part of the headhunting and shortlisted five candidates.
Cele said a panel consisting of himself, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abarahams, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, Police Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale and Civilian Police Secretariat head Alvin Rapea then shortlisted and interviewed three candidates.
Cele said following interviews, the panel unanimously nominated Ntlatseng as the best candidate.
"We submitted the name to the Speaker to take the process forward," he said, adding that a criminal record and the vetting of Ntlaseng were still outstanding.
The DA and Freedom Front Plus opposed the nomination, while the ANC and other parties such as the IFP, NFP and EFF backed it.
The report will be taken to the National Assembly for approval.