Natural Scientific Professions Bill: Deliberations; Minister of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology: briefing; Department of Sci
Arts and Culture
11 March 2003
A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
11 March 2003
NATURAL SCIENTIFIC PROFESSIONS BILL: DELIBERATIONS; MINISTER OF ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: BRIEFING; DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY : BUDGET DISCUSSION
Chairperson: Ms M Njobe (ANC)
Documents handed out
Portfolio Committee Amendments To Natural Scientific Professions Bill [B56-2002] (Appendix 1)
Democratic Alliance Amendments to Natural Scientific Professions Bill [B56-2002] (Appendix 2)
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Department of Science and Technology Budget Briefing
Amendments to the National Scientific Professions Bill were discussed. Members raised concerns with Clause 3, 16 and 40.
The Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology presented the committee with a synopsis of the 2002 budget as well as the projected spending and investment for 2003. The Committee was briefed on the Department's Mission; Corporate Goals; Measurable Objectives, Programmes, National Science &Technology Investment The Department's activities abroad were discussed.
The Natural Scientific Professions Bill [B56-2002] Amendments
Please refer to Appendix
Clauses agreed upon:
Clauses 1 - 2
Clauses 4 - 8
Clauses 12 - 13
Clause 14 (with objections of the DP to be noted)
Clauses 18 - 27
Clauses 29 - 34
Clauses 43 - 44
Clauses agreed upon with amendments
Clauses 28, 35, 36, 37,42, 45.
Mr VC Gore (DP) motivated for the use of the word "broadly" as opposed to the words "collectively" and "demographics" as a precautionary measure.
Mr SL Dithebe (ANC) suggested that the word "broadly " be used in place of "collectively" and retain the use of the word "demographics"
Clause 3 was adopted as amended by the Democratic Party (DP) and compromised by the ANC.
Mrs Van Wyk (NNP) felt the committee should not have to vote on the clause. No agreement could be reached on the clause. Clause 16 as proposed by the Democratic Party was voted on. The new amendment was rejected. Clause 16 was agreed upon as amended it appears on " Portfolio Committee Amendments To Natural Scientific Professions Bill [B56-2002]" document.
Mr Gore (DP) requested that the DP's objection be noted.
The State advisor suggested that the power should not be delegated but the minister should "issue notices" rather than " to make regulations". The suggestion was accepted and the clause was adopted.
No new amendments were made to the schedules of the bill.
The chairperson Ms Njobe, signed off the report of the bill with amendments and said that the report would be sent to parliament.
Dr Rob Adams (Director General: Science and Technology) highlighted that in view of the broader process for dividing up the vote their new mission specifically applied to the department of Science and Technology. In the past the Science Vote had been dominated by the research strategy of development. With the new direction to science and technology, the Science Vote broadly covered not just science institutions but also institutions that fell under other ministries.
Please refer to attached Budget Briefing 2003/2004 Powerpoint Presentation.
Dr Adams pointed out that GDP growth was faster than the growth of the Science Vote. He added that South Africa as a whole spent 0.7% of GDP on the Scientific Vote. He stated that 5.5 million rands would go towards new corporate establishment , for example IT.
International co-operation and resources had become increasingly important over the last number of years. In general the program had a low budget compared to others but then this year it would pay at least ten fold in terms of the resources it would give back. Department of Science and Technology was also dealing with other countries such as Russia and India as knowledge pools especially in information technology.
Transfer payments showed that it did not take a lot of money to run what they did. He also mentioned that the potential of science and technology in South Africa lay in focusing on the youth and programs to get them enthusiastic about science relevant to South Africa. Major transfer of payments portion was to the NRF mainly to university and technikon sectors.
The department's technology missions were being addressed by biotech strategy in the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and Gauteng provinces. The intention was to provide new technology to reduce risks of for example, food security.
Technology for development would be a means of spreading technology. Dr Adams said that it was important for developing countries to develop their own technology.
Department of Science & Technology Activities Abroad
Much international experience was gained by the Department in 2002. This included discussions with the European Union (EU) and the Association of Caribbean and Pacific nations (ACP). These discussions were in line with the development policy as set out in the Kyoto Protocol.
These discussions led to the determining of funds that had not been spent in the previous years. These funds totalled 10 million Euros (greater than R100 million) and had been earmarked for the development of science and technology in the member countries of the ACP (at regional and country level). This has led to a working relationship at ministerial level between the African Union, the EU and the ACP. The primary focuses being the funding of science and technology (S&T) development.
Within the same period, the Commonwealth of Nations' Science Council (27 member States) met at a conference in the Limpopo/ Northern Province. The transfer of Indigenous knowledge to innovation was widely debated. In 2002 the department had its first opportunity to host an international meeting. This was held in Dubai and emphasised science and technology implementation which resulted in the sourcing of 50 million Euros for actual growth in African, Asian and Pacific countries.
The NEPAD Forum was hosted by the minister; in which a coherent plan and declaration of development (Science Policy) at a ministerial level was agreed upon. South Africa was seen internationally as the intellectual leader in Africa and other developing areas.
The Chairperson reiterated that South Africa chaired the International Advisory Board and actively worked towards the developing of science and technology for Africa in an economic framework that was sustainable. Further, that there was a need to make consumers more aware of their purchases by increasing the flow of relevant information.
Mrs A Van Wyk (NNP) apologised for not being present for the Director-General's presentation due to the impossible scheduling of committee meetings. More time and resources were needed in order to fully discuss the implications of Science and Technology. The question of technology transfer and development impacting on SMME's and the consumer needed to be addressed.
The Department replied that transfer of technology was limited by availability of funds and lack of infrastructure. However, a strategy development policy had been drafted and would be forwarded to the committee at a later stage. This included the creation of a separate Director-General to oversee the implementation.
Mrs T J Tshivase (ANC) drew the Department's attention to the plight of uneducated entrepreneurs who needed various types of aid in order to grow. What mechanisms had been put in place?
The Department replied that these were the type of people that were targeted by the S&T institutions as well as the new strategy to be implemented. This was demonstrated by a University of Pretoria study that indicated a link between knowledge and business in informal sectors. However, this shift was initiated by a passion for a particular discipline.
Mr N Ngcobo (ANC) commented that problems facing persons at grassroots level were at the local level and questioned sustainable energy development, specifically the Pebble Bed Molecular Reactor (PBMR). This type of reactor was created in Germany but abandoned due to problems with the usage of the graphite fuel.
Although conceding that there were problems with the PBMR in its development stage, new technology was being investigated and would require a long term research. Results would be reported to the committee as soon as it was completed.
Mr Ngcobo contended that the Department had misled the committee in 2000/1 by announcing a timeline of 2 years for the research to be completed.
The Chairperson asked the Department to furnish the committee with the relevant information regarding the research being carried out.
Prof I J Mohamed (ANC) stated that a problem within the committee set up was the lack of information. It is of utmost important for the Department to provide the committee with information pertaining to actual input and output. Included should be a method of gauging success and development.
The Department conceded that governance was the 'buzz word' and that the input and output information was essential. A scientific model had been used in the past as well as the University of Howard's 'Balance Scorecard'. There remained the hazard of applying commercial criteria to a scientific field. In the context of funding, success and performance should be displayed but was this the only type of criteria to be used. Presently, the Annual Reports as set out by the various institutions displayed the most accurate information and emphasised usage of funds as intended. Difficulty lay with micro-management of creativity.
Prof Mohamed enquired as to the availability of information regarding reviews of the Science councils.
The Department held that reviews of the councils would be staggered for practical concerns. The Medical Research Council report had been completed and was being prepared for distribution. The Geoscience's council review was in a state of near completion. All reviews would be completed and distributed by 2004.
Ms van Wyk was interested in the role of the CSIR and its administration move from the Department of Trade and Industry to the Department; also the progress of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
The Department held that the CSIR was mandated to harmonize S&T research and development and that the department had recently met with the Department of Trade and Industry so as to finalize the move. Unfortunately, the Department of Trade and Industry was not adequately represented and was held over until the next meeting. With regard to the ARC, a study of global ARCs identified interesting results. Globally, the SA ARC was clearly more profitable than any other. In collaboration with the National Department of Agriculture, the Department had secured R60 million for long term research and implementation. There were problems including loss of key staff and capacity. It is important to note that the CSIR was a holistic institution and mirrored the Department interacting with all departments at all levels. It was also important to note that the funds for Multi Purpose Centres were available from the Lottery Agency and would increase capacity.
The Chairperson noted that sub-committees were there to take up the challenge made by members who would create more work and results. But it was important that the Department made available the information. Information flow needed to increase and was not limited to the physical type, rather usage of technology to disseminate.
Meeting was adjourned.
PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS TO NATURAL SCIENTIFIC PROFESSIONS BILL
(As agreed to by the Portfolio Committee on Arts, Culture, Science and Technology)
AMENDMENTS AGREED TO
NATURAL SCIENTIFIC PROFESSIONS BILL
1. On page 2, in line 18, to omit "a rule made by the Council" and to substitute "regulation"
2. On page 2, after line 27, to insert the following definition:
"regulation" means any regulation made under this Act;
3. On 2, in line 28, to omit the definition of "rule".
4. On page 2, in line 29, to omit "notice or rule issued or" and to substitute "regulation"
1. On page 3, in line 13, after "(iii)" to insert "fairly"
2. On page 3, after line 20, to add the following subsection:
(2) The Council must be constituted in a manner that broadly represents the demographics of the country"
1. On page 3, in line 23, to omit "Council" and to substitute "Minister".
2. On page 3, in line 23, to omit "registered persons,".
3. On page 3, in line 24, after "nominate", to omit the comma.
4. On page 3, in line 25, to omit "60" and to substitute "30".
5. On page 3, in line 26, to omit "Council" and to substitute "Minister".
6. On page 3, in line 28, to omit "60" and to substitute "30".
7. On page 3, from line 30, to omit subsection (3) and to substitute:
(3) (a) The nominations received in terms of subsections (1) and (2) must be presented to a panel appointed by the Minister in the prescribed manner.
(b) The panel must, within 30 days from the presentation of the nominations, make recommendations to the Minister.".
8. On page 3, in line 32, to omit "60" and to substitute "30"
9. On page 3, in line 34, to omit "Council" and to substitute "Minister".
10. On page 3, in line 36, to omit "Council" and to substitute "Panel".
11. On page 3, in line 35, to omit "notice" and to substitute "invitation"
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".
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 the person concerned is not fit and proper to hold office.
1. On page 4, in line 52, to omit "allowances" and to insert "a honorarium".
On page 5, in 27, after Council, to omit "may" and to substitute "shall"
On page 5, in line 37, after Council, to omit "may" and to substitute "shall"
1. On page 6, in line 20, before "conduct", to insert "through a recognised agency having the competency to do so,"
1. On page 6, from line 54, to omit paragraph (b).
2. On page 6, in line 59, to omit "(b)" and to substitute "(a)".
3. On page 7, in line 1, after "officials", to insert "only".
4. On page 7, in line 6, after "persons" to insert:
in compliance with the national developmental imperatives
5. On page 7 in line 27, to omit "care and diligence" and to substitute "care, diligence and full transparence".
1. On page 7, in line 31, to omit "Director-General with a" and to substitute "Minister with an annual".
2. On page 7, in line 32, after "year" to insert "for tabling in Parliament".
1. On page 11, in line 2, to omit "with the concurrence of" and to substitute "after consultation with "
1. On page 14, in line 2, after "associations" to insert "and registered persons".
1. On page 14, in line 7, to omit "Appeal" and to substitute "Objections".
2. On page 14, in line 15, to omit "president of the Council against that decision" and to substitute "Council for a formal review of its decision".
1. Clause rejected.
1. That the following be a new clause to follow clause 36.
Regulations and rules
37. (1) The Minister may, after consultation with the Council, make regulations regarding-
(a) any matter that is required or permitted to be prescribed in terms of this Act; and
(b) generally, any matter which it is necessary or expedient to prescribe in order to achieve the objects of this Act.
(2) The Council may, with the concurrence of the Minister, by notice in the Gazette make rules regarding-
(a) procedures at any meeting of the Council or any committee thereof;
(b) registers to be kept by the Council;
(c) conduct on the part of a registered person which constitutes improper conduct;
(d) generally any matter which it is necessary or expedient to prescribe in order to perform its functions properly.
1. On page 14, in line 42, after "Council" to insert "or to make regulations and to issue notices".
1. On page 15, from line 29, to omit "South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions referred to in subsection (2)" and to substitute "Minister".
2. On page 15, in line 32, to omit "3" and to substitute "4".
1. On page 16, in line 10 to omit "2002" and to substitute "2003".
DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE AMENDMENTS TO NATURAL SCIENTIFIC PROFESSIONS
CLAUSE 31. On Page 3, after line 20, to add the following subsection:
"(2) The Council must be constituted in a manner that is broadly representative of the country
The use of the word "broadly" as opposed the words "collectively" and "demographics" has precedence in the Constitution, and would therefore be advisable to keep with this wording.
2. On Page 7, on line 35, after "The Council must," insert:
"with due regard to the right to privacy of the registered person,
rationale: Without this safeguard the potential does exist for the registered person to be prejudiced by the forcing the Council to divulge
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