Africa Institute of South Africa Bill; Academy of Science of South Africa; %u201CWoordeboek Van Die Afrikaanse Taal%u201D Repeal

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Minutes of Select Committee on Education and Recreation

EDUCATION AND RECREATION SELECT COMMITTEE
24 October 2001
AFRICA INSTITUTE OF SOUTH AFRICA BILL; ACADEMY OF SCIENCE OF SOUTH AFRICA; "WOORDEBOEK VAN DIE AFRIKAANSE TAAL" REPEAL BILL: BRIEFING


Officials:

The following persons were in attendance:
Mr Sonnyboy Bapela, Director: Legal Services, Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology;
Ms Marjorie Pyoss, Chief Director: Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology;
Mrs Thapi Segoati, Deputy Director: Parliamentary Officer: Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology;
Dr A M Beukes: Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology;
Mr Arno Webb, Director: Science and Technology Co-ordination: Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology;
Mr Sipho Buthelezi, Council member: Africa Institute of South Africa;
Mr Emmanuel Masha, Administrative Officer: Department of Finance.

1. Africa Institute of South Africa Bill [B47B - 2001]
Mr Webb explained that this Bill provides for the establishment of a juristic person known as the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA). AISA is an autonomous organisation registered under section 21 of the Companies Act. The aim of the Bill is to establish AISA as an institution with its own institution - specific Act.
This Institute as been in existence before 1994 and its functions included collecting, processing, interpreting and disseminating information as well as findings and analyses on African and Southern African Affairs.
After 1994 when South Africa was no longer isolated, it had more contact with the international community. The Department in conjunction with a lot of institutions reviewed the Africa Institute and realised:
It had built up a strong information base in Africa.
It had the capacity to do research and provide advice on Africa.
It was felt that this valuable resource should not got to waste and should be brought into the family of science and technology institutions regulated by institution-specific acts administered by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. This would enable Government to monitor the functioning of the Institution.

Mr Tolo asked if neighbouring countries have their own bodies or would they rely on the services of the South African Body.

Ms Pyoss explained that AISA does not have the status, which would allow interaction with other countries. By raising the stature of AISA through this Bill it can approach other countries and be approached.

Ms Kgoali asked if AISA will be supported by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology and what would happen if other countries needed research done in South Africa, who would be responsible for the costs incurred?

Ms Pyoss explained that they generally bring in their own researchers. Foreign Affairs have assisted in creating a strong relationship. In many instances countries request for collaborative research and they use their own funds.

Mr Bapela indicated that Clause 15 of the Bill provides mechanisms to deal with this issue.
Members debated at length that this should be under the Department of Foreign Affairs and not the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology.

Ms Ntlabati proposed that the Department take the Committee through the bill clause by clause for an in depth understanding of the bill.
Members supported this suggestion.

The Chairperson added that if members have questions on the different clauses the Department would respond. This would be the manner in which all three Bills would be dealt with.
On clause 6 (j) Mr Masha indicated that the clause should read, "granted with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance".

The Chairperson asked this gentleman to indicate to the Committee who he is and which Department or organisation he represents, as he had not introduced himself to the Committee.

Ms Segoati explained that he is the Parliamentary Officer from the Department of Finance who was here to give input on the Bill.

Ms Pyoss's response to Mr Masha's comment is that there is no need to include this in the Bill as it is in line with all other legislation drafted by the Department.

Ms Kgoali indicated that perhaps this should be reflected in the Bill.

Ms Ntlabati argued that the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) supersedes all legislation and it would be redundant to have it in the Bill.

Ms Pyoss concurred with Ms Ntlabati that the PFMA supersedes all legislation and that there is no reason to insert it in the Bill.

Mr Masha indicated that he felt the Bill is not in line with section 66 of the PFMA.

Ms Pyoss explained that Chapter 15 of the Bill covers all the aspects dealing with financing.

Ms Ntlabati expressed concern on clause 6 (k) that the Council may appoint, fix the remuneration of the officers and this could be open to abuse. She questioned in particular the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Ms Bapela indicated that the Minister in consultation with the Councillors would appoint the CEO and the Councillors as well as the Minister would determine his or her salary.

Ms Kgoali asked on clause 6 (j) (ii) under whose jurisdiction would the "property" fall.

Ms Pyoss explained that it would not be under the Department of Public Works. At present AISA is leasing office space. In the future AISA may look at acquiring property and when they do, these clauses will fall into place.

Mr Masha asked who would be responsible for the appointment of these individuals and will they be civil servants?

Mr Bapela indicated that they would be appointed from a public service pool. They will be appointed in terms of the legislation, but will not be regarded as public servants. The Minister will handle the remuneration. Mr Bapela added that clause 14 of the bill covers the conditions of service.

On clause 7 (1) Mr Tolo asked does this include any person out of South Africa?

Ms Pyoss stated that support would be rendered to any South African citizen in any part of the world.

On clause 13, Ms Ntlabati asked will there be a financial manager?

Ms Pyoss explained that the CEO would be regarded as the accounting officer. If for some reason, the CEO can appoint an accounting officer to perform a duty. This person will be called the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Clause 13 2 (b) deals with this.

On clause 16, Mr Tolo indicated that no time frames are given for the auditing of financial and annual reports.

Ms Pyoss explained that the PFMA deals with this and it is not necessary to repeat this.
On clause 19, Ms Pyoss explained that when this Bill becomes law, AISA would have to be deregistered. AISA has been operating and is registered under section 21 of the Companies Act. In order for it to operate as a private organisation it has to be deregistered.
Clause 20 deals with the regulations. Ms Ntlabati requested the Department to consult and explain to the Committee if on page 9 in clause 20 (3) "or" could be changed to "and".
2. Academy of Science of South Africa Bill [B67B - 2001]
Mr Webb indicated that it was important to establish an Academy that represented all the scientific disciplines:
Natural Science
Social Science
Humanities
Economic Science
Engineering
Health Science
Agricultural Science
Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF) has now been established and it represents a wide variety of scientists. It functions as a voluntary association under its own constitution.
This Bill will formalise the formation of a recognised Body, and an Act of Parliament would sanction it. This would enable the Body to sign agreements with other countries and be accepted and enjoy credibility.

ASSAF will be the only Body recognised by the South African Government. The repeal of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns Act dissolves the Council of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.
ASSAF differs from other bodies that exist as it serves all language and cultural groups in all disciplines of science.
Mr Webb added that there are no financial implications for the state.

On clause 11 (4) Ms Pyoss explained that the Academy could invest any money that has not been used or spent with the Corporation for Public Deposits.

Mr Bapela indicated that clause 17 repeals the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns Act.
Clause 18 dissolves the Council of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.
Clause 19 is the transitional provisions that are necessary to dissolve the Council. This is in line with the requirements for legislation.
Mr Bapela added that cognisance needed to be taken of assets and employees.

Ms Nkuna expressed disappointment that the Department did not provide details on the clauses.

Ms Ntlabati stated that this was the way the Committee decided to proceed with the Bills and that it is just a briefing session by the Department.

Mr Masha felt that the Bill does not provide proper time frames for reporting by the members of the Academy, be it financial or otherwise.

Ms Pyoss explained this Body would act in an advisory capacity. Also, this Bill has no financial implications for the state.

3."Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal" Act Repeal Bill [B30B - 2001]
Dr Beukes outlined that this Bill repeals the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal Act. Dr Beukes explained that this legislation was important to level the playing field and that by repealing the Act Government would sponsor dictionaries for all eleven languages.
The implementing agency is the Pan South African Language Board, who must establish national lexicography units to operate as companies under section 21 of the Companies Act.
Ms Kgoali sought clarification if these units have to be established under Section 21 of the Companies Act?

Mr Bapela explained that the legislation is specific and that these units must be established under section 21.
Mr Bapela indicated that clause 3 leads to the dissolution of the Board and all assets and liabilities are then vested in the company.

Ms Kgoali indicated that in Parliament there is a lack of dictionaries for the African languages. How can this problem be addressed?

Dr Beukes explained there are a number of reasons for this:
Government does not sponsor dictionaries for African languages.
Dictionaries if they exist are inadequate.
Publishers are of the view that they will not make money if they publish dictionaries in African languages.
She added that this would soon be addressed once this Bill becomes law.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for their informative briefing and indicated that these three Bills would be finalised on 31 October 2001.

Present:

Eastern Cape
Mr T H Sogoni (alternate member)
Mr R Z Nogumla
Gauteng
Ms J L Kgoali
Northern Cape
Mr D M Kgware (Chairperson)
North - West
Mr J O Tlhagale
Mpumalanga
Mr Tolo (Visiting member)
Western Cape
Mrs J Witbooi
Free State
Ms S N Ntlabati
Northern Province
Ms C Nkuna
An apology was received from Ms Q D Mahlangu.

__________________________
Chairperson: Mr D M Kgware
Select Committee on Education and Recreation
Minutes Compiled by Ms Jillian Pillay
Committee Secretary: Select Committee on Education and Recreation
mailto:
jpillay@parliament.gov.za

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