The CGE is a Chapter 9 institution in terms of the Constitution. Its mandate as per section 187 of the Constitution is to promote and respect gender equality by monitoring and evaluating policies and practices in Government, the private sector and other organisations, and to play a central role in investigating inequality. The latest Statistics SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) indicated that black South African women are still the most vulnerable in the labour market. They further have the largest employment shares in low-skilled occupations. Here, the CGE can play a vital role in investigating women’s interests and their access to resources in the informal sector.

In terms of section 181 of the Constitution, the CGE must be independent and is only subject to the Constitution and the law. The CGE is only accountable to the National Assembly and no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the CGE. Therefore, it is essential that the candidates who represent the CGE are adequately skilled, with the proper experience, to ensure that the functioning of this institution is in line with its constitutional mandate.

The CGE must have at least seven but no more than 11 members, and the Chairperson is appointed by the President. It is possible to be appointed as either a full-time or a part-time member, and the maximum term of office is five years. Currently there are four vacancies in the CGE. On 30 November 2016, the Minister of Women invited parties to propose candidates for these four vacancies via the Government Gazette. The process involves an ad hoc committee of the National Assembly (tasked with the filling of vacancies of the CGE) conducting interviews and nominating candidates, who must then be approved by a majority vote in the National Assembly and on recommendation by the same. The President must then appoint such a person. A parliamentary media statement of 25 January 2016 indicated that the ad hoc committee received 46 applications and the curricula vitae (CVs) of these candidates were placed on Parliament’s website. However, 71 applications and CVs of candidates were made available on 6 February 2016.

According to the Government Notice published, the candidate must be a South African citizen, a fit and proper person, and have a record of commitment to the promotion of gender equality.

The ad hoc committee published a shortlist of 21 candidates on 15 February and public interviews are to be held on 13 and 14 March 2017.

The CFCR believes it is important that members of the public are aware of their elected representatives and to this end the CFCR has created short summaries of the CVs of shortlisted candidates, which can be accessed via the CFCR’s website: The full-length CVs can be accessed on Parliament’s website:

Follow the CFCR’s social media platforms for more updates in this regard:

By Christine Botha: Legal Officer, Centre for Constitutional Rights