The Members raised several concerns during deliberations on the Geomatics Profession Bill [B4-2013], including the powers and authority of the South African Geomatics Council. Members were concerned that Council could hold meetings without establishing a proper quorum and that the Council had never used its powers to discipline its members. The Chairperson was concerned at the complaint of the South African Geometrics Council President about the lowering of standards in the profession Members sought clarity on how the Council would liase with the South African Qualifications Authority to discuss how it would improve the standards set for the profession. The question of unregistered people working was also raised and whether they would be punished with a fine. A Member queried if the power of the Council would usurp or infringe on the jurisdiction of South African Qualifications Authority and the National Qualifications Framework Act.
The Chairperson Mr Sizani (ANC) welcomed two new Members - Mr K Maalim (DA) and Mr M Swathe (DA). They replaced the two DA members who had left, Mr A Trollip and Mr J van Der Linde.
Geomatics Profession Bill [B4-2013]: deliberations
The Chairperson noted that the Committee was now going to deal with the amendments and finalise them.
Clause 1: definitions
The Chairperson requested Mr Maalim to read.
Clause 2: geomatics profession principles
The Chairperson requested Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) to read.
The Chairperson requested the Members to check the 16 changes.
Clause 3: Establishment of South African Geomatics Council
The Chairperson asked Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) to read.
Clause 4: Composition of Council
Clause 5: Disqualification as member of Council and vacation of office
The Chairperson asked the Members if they agree with sub-Clause 2(d), on page 7.
Mr Maalim stated that it was normal procedure that after absence from three consecutive meetings one was then disqualified.
The Chairperson stated Members should apply their minds and decide if they wanted to keep this Clause or change the reference to three or more meetings.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee needed to rewrite this ‘as it could not be two or more’ and then asked Mr Gideon Hoon, Principal State Law Adviser, for guidance.
Clause 6: Committees of Council
The Chairperson asked Members if they agreed that this Clause was in line and no changes had to be made.
Clause 7: Functions of Council
Mr Maalim then continued to read.
Clause 8: Powers and duties of Council
Clause 9: Meetings of Council
Clause 10: Decisions of Council
Clause 11: Remuneration of members of Council and committees
Clause 12: Funds of Council and keeping and auditing of accounts
The Chairperson noted that there was a concern, when the Committee held hearings, from the President of South African Geomatics Council (SAGC) in which it was alleged that the Council had never disciplined anyone. The Chairperson believed that it was necessary to ensure that the interests of the public were safeguarded. He was concerned about the autonomy of the power of the Council because it was not clear if the Council had jurisdiction over the branches, but only over its members. He also noted that the Council did not have jurisdiction over unregistered people.
Mr Hoon replied that the policy was with the Department and people who were not registered might not do geometric work and could be punished with a fine. A new insertion provided that a company might consist of developers registered under the Act.
[The Committee then digressed to discuss the Bill’s last Clauses]
Clauses 29-39: general
The Chairperson stated that Clauses 29-39 (Chapter 7) said nothing about unregistered people but did not cover the branches.
Mr Siyabonga Mdubeki, Chief Director, Cadastral Spatial Information, DRDLR, said that members who were registered were part of the branches.
Mr Maalim asked for clarity and wanted to know if one was talking about a branch of learning here, which might not be similar to a branch as in a political party.
The Chairperson responded by saying that it was a branch of a profession as in the definition.
The Chairperson asked for clarity as to whether a quorum was needed
Mr Maalim speculated that the intention was to prevent meetings being held without a quorum.
Mr Swathe also wanted clarity on whether the names of those attending the first and second meetings were going to be included.
The Chairperson stated that was not how a meeting was held and one could not make a law like that. The Chairperson said there was need to insert an amendment.
Mr Hoon noted that there was no provision in the Bill for the Minister to fire a member of the Council for not doing his work.
The DRDLR stated that the Bill provided that if the first meeting was adjourned for lack of a quorum within the first hour, than another meeting must be held within 21 days. (See Clause 9(7)).
[The Committee then digressed to discuss Clause 8 (1) (a) (iii)]
Clause 8 (1) (a) (iii)
Mr Maalim stated that he had other queries on Clause 8 (1) (a) (iii) which seemed redundant.
Mr Hoon replied that the quorum mentioned there was for the council and not the committee.
The Chairperson said that it was not a repetition.
Mr Maalim asked if the provisions of Clause 8 (1) (d) (iii) & (vi) were not usurping the qualifications of SAQA.
The Chairperson replied that he should note Clause 8 (d) (ix) (ee) which provided for liaison with the National Qualifications Framework Act (No. 67 of 2008) (NQF Act) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) if applicable. He noted that the Council must deal with SAQA.
The Chairperson noted that most of the institutions had accreditation in order to ensure the quality of the individuals.
Mr Hoon stated that legally Clause 3 placed an obligation to be recognised within 90 days and Council would have to implement this.
The Chairperson stated that one must liaise to set standards.
Mr Maalim asked if the Council had the right to withdraw its recognition from these Institutions.
Mr Mdubeki explained that the process was that the Council would assess the qualifications of these members of the profession and from time to time Council would interact with the Institutions on their findings.
The Chairperson noted that the Member’s point was still valid.
Mr Rajendh Salig, Chief Director: Cadastral Advisory & Research Services agreed that it was a valid point and it must be done in consultation with the Council.
The DRDLR responded that the Department had in mind that the Council had the power to set standards for the profession without usurping the powers of SAQA. He said that from a drafting point of view this issue needed to be cleaned up.
Mr Swathe asked whether in terms of the verification process the Department had tried talking to SAQA to give it a set standard.
The Chairperson noted that answer was with the discussions he had held with the SAGC President on this topic. ‘He also noted that SAGC was a voluntary registered Council taking part.’
Mr Swathe responded that he asked ‘them’ to maintain the standards and level for the geometric profession.
Clause 13: registration of persons
The Chairperson then requested Mr Swathe to read.
Clause 14: cancellation of registration
Clause 15: return of registration certificate
Clause 16: identification of geomatics profession work
The Chairperson asked the Members if they had any comments. He noted that Clauses 13-16 covered the problems with jurisdiction over the branches.
Mr Maalim noted that on page 16, line 7 sub-Clause 5 was missing the word “the”.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee did not have to finish today.
Planned Workshop on the 1913 Land Act
He then requested the Committee Secretary to give a progress report on the Workshop to be held on 07 and 08 June 2013.
The Secretary noted that the programme would be emailed to the Committee members and a hard copy would be placed in their pigeonholes. She informed the Committee that all provinces had confirmed attendance with the exception of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. The Minister and Deputy Minister were not available to attend the workshop.
Committee minutes: adoption
The Committee adopted its minutes of 27 and 29 May with corrections.
The meeting was adjourned.
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