Independent Electoral Commission
Tel: +27 12 428 5700
Brigalia Bam, chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, has a long history of political activism; her career spans the business, human rights, education and women’s development sectors. During the 1950s and 1960s, she worked in the education, health and welfare sectors in South Africa. She then moved to Switzerland where she worked for the World Council of Churches.
Since her return to South Africa in 1988, she has served on the boards of the SABC, Murray & Roberts Engineering, Global Dialogue and Absa. She has been a commissioner on the Human Rights Commission, chairperson of the Open Society Foundation and the chancellor of the University of Port Elizabeth. She was the founder and president of the Women’s Development Foundation. She has served on the Independent Electoral Commission since the 1999 election when she was deputy chief electoral officer.
Chairperson: Commission on Gender Equality
Tel: + 27 11 403 7182
Nomboniso Gasa was appointed as chairperson of the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) in February 2008. A presidential appointment, Gasa is to head the 12-person commission for the next five years. Her appointment is considered to have come at a critical time for the CGE, just as the organisation was embarking on a comprehensive organisational transformation. Renowned for her commitment to gender and human rights, Gasa began her activism at an early age — the first of many political detentions occurred when she was just 14 in the former Transkei. She has a keen interest in feminism in Africa and women’s roles in history and has been widely published on these and related issues. Gasa has also done work on political transition in Nigeria and edited Democracy in Nigeria: Continuing Dialogues for Nation-Building. Her current focus is on The Making of a Man in Xhosa Society, a historic and feminist critique of cultural practice and its continued and changing meanings. She also practises as an independent researcher in gender and democratisation issues.
Human Sciences Research Council
Tel: + 27 21 466 7902
Olive Shisana was appointed the first woman and the first black president and CEO of the South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in 2005. Before accepting the position as CEO, she served as executive director of the social aspects of HIV/Aids and health at the HSRC. She has also served as professor and head of department of health systems management and policy at the Medical University of Southern Africa. Shisana has served as executive director of the World Health Organisation’s family and community health unit. At national level, Shisana served as director general of the South African department of health, the first woman to head the national health services. She has previously served as a specialist scientist at the South African Medical Research Council. She obtained her doctor of science degree in behavioural sciences at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health, in Baltimore, United States. She is a founding member of the South African Academy of Sciences.
Constitutional Court of South Africa
Tel: +27 11 359 7459
As a director at the Constitutional Court, Vuyelwa Masangwana works on various projects, including transformation in the judiciary, judicial education and the secretariat of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). She has recently launched and implemented the aspirant women judges programme and is working on launching a JSC website. Before taking up her current post, Masangwana was a programme manager at the national treasury, where her responsibilities included the management of the International Development Corporation portfolio of projects, assisting in the refinement of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) guidelines and policy framework document and engaging with donors in South Africa to ensure adherence to the ODA framework. Masangwana holds an LLB from the University of Durban-Westville, a post-graduate diploma in project management from Cranefield College and a post-graduate diploma in business management from Wits Business School. She is currently completing her master’s in commerce (programme management).
South African Human Rights Commission
Tel: +27 11 484 8300
As deputy chairperson at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Zonke Majodina deals with the right to equality, as well as the rights of non-nationals. Majodina began her career as a clinical psychologist at the University of Ghana Medical School, where she worked for 16 years.Before returning to South Africa, she took up a visiting fellowship at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. Upon her return to South Africa, she worked as a senior lecturer at the Wits University Graduate School for Humanities and Social Sciences, where she was involved in setting up a new master’s degree programme in forced migration. During this time she also served as a part-time commissioner for the SAHRC, focusing on refugees, asylum seekers and migration policy.In 2002 she was appointed as a full-time commissioner and elected to her current position. Majodina has published and presented many papers on aspects of applied psychology, forced displacement, migration and human rights in general.