Natural Scientific Professions Bill: deliberations

Arts and Culture

07 March 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

7 March 2003

Chairperson: Ms M Njobe (ANC); Acting Chairperson: Mr S Dithebe (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Natural Scientific Professions Bill [B56-2002]


Proposed Amendments to the Natural Scientific Amendment Bill (Appendix)

The Committee commenced deliberations on the Natural Scientific Professions Bill. Members expressed concerns about the absence of people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in the natural scientific professions. This was, however, not reflected in the proposed amendments.

Clause 4
Mr V Gore (DP) stated that although the insertion of the word "fairly" in Clause 4 is important, there could be a conflict between in the wording in the legislation and the wording in the Constitution.

Mr Dithebe (ANC) noted that the Constitution provides that government provides for needs on a progressive basis.

Mr Cassiem (ANC) proposed that the wording of the Department for Clause 4 be accepted. The Committee accepted this proposal.

Prof Mohammed (ANC) was concerned that Mr Gore's suggestion to include electronic mail was excluded in the amendments.

Mr Ngcobo (ANC) noted Mr Gore's earlier point that there were many other electronic forms of communication and that one needed to be careful not to exclude these in specifying that only electronic mail will be used as another method of promoting new legislation.

Mr Gore said that e-mail should be included as a means to promote legislation.

Ms Van Wyk (NNP) referred to Clause 4 (3)(a) and asked for the inclusion of the requirements that the panel be appointed "in the prescribed manner".

Mr Gore agreed that the panel should be instituted to ensure transparency but stated that the Clause is vague as who appoints the panel.

Ms Payoos (Department) indicated that the Minister constitutes the panel; the Department felt that the manner in which the Minister constituted the panel should be included in the legislation.

Mr Gore suggested that guidelines be included to avoid abuse in appointing the panel.

Mr Cassiem stated that Mr Gore's concerns are covered by the insertion of "in the prescribed manner".

Mr Dithebe was of the opinion that it is untenable for the Committee to reflect on the personalities of Ministers. The Committee's duty was to lay down legislation based on the principles in the Constitution and refrain from referring to the personalities of Ministers.

Ms Van Wyk stated that it is Parliament's duty to oversee the activities of government. Therefore it is essential to ensure that the Committee stands on that principle.

Clause 6
A new subsection 3 would be inserted stipulating that the Council may remove a member from office if there is reason to believe that the person is no fit and proper to hold office.

Ms Van Wyk asked whether the Council should not recommend to the Minister to do the removing, given the fact that the Minister appoints the council.

Clause 10
The legal advisor pointed out that the "shall" will only replace "may" in Clauses 11 and 12 and not 10 as indicated on the amendments. Therefore the word 'may' remains in Clause 10.

Ms Van Wyk suggested that the panel receive a honorarium instead of an allowance as an allowance indicates some sense of permanency.

Clause 11
The word 'may' would be replaced with 'shall'.

Ms Van Wyk asked whether the 'register' referred to in Clause 11(c) is open to public scrutiny.

The Department's legal advisor made it clear that all information in possession of the Council would be made available to the public and that there was no need for the insertion.

Clause 12
Mr Gore suggested that criteria be set for registration of people to the Council.
Ms Payoos stated that the insertion of 'in a prescribed manner' covers the above concern.

Clause 13
Mr Dithebe proposed that Prof Mohammed's concerns regarding the examinations be addressed.

Ms Payoos stated that the Council can recognise and introduce an examination to ensure that the Council maintains the standards recognized internationally. Therefore the Council is bound to work closely with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and South African Qualifications Authority.

Ms Van Wyk suggested that 'may' be retained in Clause 13.

Prof Mohammed acknowledged that the Council 'may' conduct an examination but the Council may not have sufficient staff to set these examinations.

The Chair said it was not the Council that sets the examinations but it appoints a relevant committee to set up the exam.

Ms Payoos explained that Clause 17 allows the Council to set up committees.

Mr Ngcobo asked how the Council can assess a qualification already obtained. He questioned the value of the Council's reassessment examinations if a person has completed his degree, worked under a professional and obtained a professional certificate.

Prof Mohammed stated that the people on the Council may not be qualified to set the examinations.

Mr Cassiem said that there is a direct link between Clause 13 and 20.

Ms Van Wyk agreed with Prof Mohammed that the Council may not be in a position to set the examination due to its many discretionary powers.

Mr Cassiem proposed the removal of Clause 13(f).

Other Members felt that if Clause 13(f) is excluded, there would be nothing to cover an exceptional person not covered by the other mechanisms. Therefore 13(f) should be read in conjunction with the purposes of Clause 20 and remain as is.

Mr Dithebe pointed out that Parliament assumes overall responsibility when legislation is adopted.

Mr Cassiem suggested that Clause 13(f) be rephrased.

Mr Ngcobo and Ms Van Wyk agreed that 13(f) is too broad.

The Department explained that the purpose of Clause 13 is to lay down the powers and functions of the Council and that the Council therefore needs to engage with CHE and SAQA in determining the competence required. The Department accepted the rewording of 13(f) proposed by Mr Cassiem. The Department pointed out that the 'person' referred to in 13(d) is a juristic person.

The Department's legal advisor stated that 'final resort' is in conflict with Clause 25.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1:


(As agreed to by the Portfolio Committee on Arts, Culture, Science and Technology)
(National Assembly)






1 On page 3, in line 12, after "(iii)" to insert "fairly"

2 On page 3, in line 23, to omit "Council" and to substitute "Minister"

3 On page 3, in line 23, to omit "registered persons,"

4 On page 3, in line 24, after nominate to omit the "coma"

5 On page 3, in line 25, to omit "60" and to substitute "30"

6 On page 3, in line 26, to omit Council and to substitute "Minister"

7 On page 3, in line 28, after "of" to omit "60" and to substitute "30"

8 On page 3, after line 29, to insert the following subclauses "3(a)", the nominations received in terms of subclauses 4(1) and (2) must be presented to a panel appointed by the Minister, which must make recommendations to the Minister

9 To substitute clause 3 and to insert "the panel must within 30 days from the submission of the nomination make recommendations to the Minister"

10 On page 3, in line 32, to omit "60 days" and to substitute "30 days"

11 On page 3, in line 35, to omit "notice" and to substitute "invitation"



1 On page 4, after line 28, to insert the following subsection: 3, "The Council may, by notice in writing remove a member from office if the Council has sufficient reason to believe that he person concerned is not fit and proper to hold office"




1 On page 5, in line 37, after Council, to omit "may" and to substitute "shall"

1 On page 5, in 27, after Council, to omit "may" and to substitute "shall"

1 On page 5, in line 13, after Council, to omit "may" and to substitute "shall"

1 On page 3, in line 53, to omit "all the members" to substitute "any member"

2 On page 3, in line 55, to omit "all the members" and to substitute "any member"


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