Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill: consideration

Science and Technology

06 March 2019
Chairperson: Ms L Maseko (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was taken through the amendments of the Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill. Members were overall pleased with the amendments. Members asked for the term of the Chief Executive Officer to be amended in line with what they had previously discussed. The Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance reserved support for the adoption of the Bill. Members of the African National Congress moved for an adoption of the Bill and seconded its adoption.

Meeting report

Ms Sueanne Isaacs, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, took members through the list of amendments.

Clause 1

The first amendment is found in clause 1, page 3 and in line 6, after “;” to insert “and” in order to correct the grammer. Similarly, in line 12, to omit the second “;” and to substitute “.” in order to correct the grammer. The first substantive amendment is from line 13, to omit paragraphs (c), (d) and (e).

Members agreed.

Clause 2

Clause 2 is rejected and the amendment will no longer be effected.

Clause 3

On page 3 and from line 36, to omit subsection (3) and to substitute it with the following: “the Board shall designate a member of the committee as chairperson thereof.”.

Members agreed.

Clause 4

On page 3 and in line 47, after “;” to insert “and”. In line 48, to omit paragraph (b). In line 51, to omit “(c)” and to substitute “(b)”. In line 53, to omit “in consultation with the Minister” and to substitute it with “after consultation with the Minister”.

Members agreed.

Clause 16

Ms Isaacs said this is an amendment to the Academy of Science of South Africa Act. On page 7 and in line 9, to omit paragraph (a). In line 13, to omit “(b)” and to substitute “(a)”. Also in line 13, to omit “(c)” and to substitute “(b)”.

Members agreed.

Clause 17

On page 7 and from line 27, to insert “and” at the end of the sentence to correct a grammatical error. The second line of the clause is rejected.

Members agreed.

Clause 18

On page 8 and in line 5, after “Minister” to insert “as determined by the National Treasury”. In line 17, after “term” to insert “by the Council in consultation with the Minister”.

Mr N Koornhof (ANC) said this was supposed to be amended to allow the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to serve two terms and another third term if eligible for re-appointment and decided in consultation with the Minister.

Ms Isaacs replied that this will be amended further and the rest of the section will be aligned with this.

Ms Renee Osborne-Mullins, Committee Content Advisor, said that when the Committee discussed this matter in reference to the National Research Foundation Act, it was decided that the CEO is limited to a 5-year term but they can be re-appointed. In this Bill, members are looking at the number of terms and not the length of terms.

Mr Lihle Hlophe, Senior Legal Officer: Department of Science and Technology, said the CEO can be re-appointed as long as the Minister agrees and they will no longer be limited to 2 terms.

Ms Isaacs continued with the amendments and said from line 18, to omit subsection (6). In line 19, to omit “(7)” and to substitute “(6)”. In line 22, to omit “(8)” and to substitute “(7)”. On page 8 and in line 25, to omit “(9)” and to substitute “(8)”. In line 29, after “may” to insert “after consultation with the Minister”.

Members agreed.

Clause 22

Ms Isaacs said the next amendment deals with the Human Science Research Council Act. On page 9 and from line 32, to omit paragraphs (a) and (b). In line 39, to omit “(c)” and to substitute “(a)”. In line 44, to omit “(d)” and to substitute “(b)” in order to re-number the remaining clauses. After line 48 to insert the following: “(h) the member as a result of improper conduct is removed from a position of trust”. From line 49, to omit paragraph (e).

Members agreed.

Clause 25

On page 10 and in line 25, to omit “chairperson of the”.

Members agreed.

Clause 26

Clause 26 is wholly rejected.

Members agreed.

Clause 27

On page 10 and in line 45 to omit, “in consultation with the Minister” and to substitute “in after consultation with the Minister”. In line 4 after “;” to insert “and”. On page 11 and in line 2, to omit “;” and to substitute “.”. From line 3, to omit paragraph (d) and to substitute it with the following: “(d) by the deletion of subsection (9).”.

Ms A Lotriet (DA) asked if the omission of paragraph (d) shouldn’t be in line with what the Committee just decided in clause 18.

Ms Isaacs noted this and said it will be corrected.

Clause 36

Clause 36 is wholly rejected.

Members agreed.

Clause 37

On page 12 and in line 31 to omit “and”. In line 34, to omit “the full stop” and to substitute “; and”. After line 34 to insert the following: “(e) removed as a result of improper conduct from a position of trust”.

Clause 41

Clause 41 is wholly rejected.

Clause 42

On page 13 and after line 38, to insert the following: “(5) The Chief Executive Officer holds office for a period not exceeding five years and is eligible for reappointment on expiry of his or her term by the Board in consultation with the Minister.”In line 39 to omit “(b)” and substitute “(c)”. In line 41 to omit “with concurrence of the Minister” and to substitute it with “after consultation with the Minister”. In line 45, to omit “and” and to substitute “.”. From line 46, to omit paragraph (c).

Members agreed.

Clause 44

On page 14 and in line 21, to omit “chairperson of the”.

Members agreed.

Clause 49

On page 15 and after line 12, to insert the following: “(f) has, as a result of improper conduct, been removed from a position of trust”. From line 13, to omit paragraph (a). In line 19, after “;” to insert “and”. In line 22, to omit “and” and to substitute “.”. From line 23, to omit paragraph (e).

Members agreed.

Clause 53

On page 16 and in line 19, to omit “chairperson of the”.

Clause 54

Clause 54 is wholly rejected.

Members agreed.

Clause 55

In line 34, after “;” to insert “and”. In line 37, to omit “with the concurrence of the Minister” and to substitute it with “after consultation with the Minister”. In line 41, to omit “; and” and to substitute “.”. From line 42, to omit paragraph (c).

The Chairperson said this brings us to the end and asked members to raise questions.

Discussion

Ms Lotriet asked whether the issue about liquidation has been resolved yet.

Ms Isaacs replied that different legislation governs how entities are to be liquidated. There are state-owned companies which will be registered in terms of the Companies Act but there are entities which don’t fall under this Act and therefore Acts of Parliament must create a mechanism for how they will be wound up. For oversight purposes, when Parliament creates entities it must also play a role in its winding up.

Ms Lotriet asked if this is the case with the entities members are dealing with. Is it applicable for them to be wound up by an Act of Parliament?

Mr Hlophe replied they are created by an Act of Parliament and therefore an Act is required for them to be liquidated.

Ms A Mfulo (ANC) asked whether it is a matter of interpretation.

Mr Hlophe replied that it is a question of interpretation.

Ms Mfulo said if it is created by an Act of Parliament we shouldn’t leave it up to interpretation.

Mr Hlophe said it will not be a matter of interpretation because it is being put into the Act.

The Chairperson asked for a mover and a seconder of the Bill.

Ms Lotriet reserved support of the Bill.

Ms S Thembekwayo (EFF) reserved support of the Bill.

Mr Koornhof moved for adoption.

Ms Mfulo moved for adoption and Ms N Ndongeni (ANC) seconded the adoption.

The Chairperson thanked members for their time and adjourned the meeting.

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