iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill [B10B-2018]; Committee Legacy Report & Annual Report

NCOP Communications and Public Enterprise

13 March 2019
Chairperson: Ms Ellen Prins (ANC; Western Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to adopt the iKamva Digitial Skills Institute Bill. The Department informed the Committee that there were no public comments on the Bill after it was published for comment by the Committee. It was further indicated the Bill went through due process at the Department and Portfolio Committee. Added to the above, the Bill is quite straightforward and uncontroversial, as evidenced in the lack of public interest in it. The Committee adopted the Bill and its Report on the Bill. Members of the Committee however were concerned with the process in which the adoption took place in view of the fact that when the Department presented the Bill to the Committee last week, it was thought the Committee would further deliberate on the Bill. Emphasis was placed on ensuring legislation is thoroughly reviewed and not merely rubberstamped. It was suggested the Committee reconsiders its decision and arrange further deliberations on the content of the Bill. It was resolved that the Department would be invited to clarify the matters of concern of Members in the next Committee meeting.

The Committee also adopted its Annual Report, Legacy Report of the Fifth Parliament and various sets of minutes.

 

Meeting report

iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill [B10B-2018]

Mr Omega Shelembe, Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) DDG: Oversight, said the Department had noted there were no public comments on the Bill. He further indicated the Bill had gone through the due process at the Department and in the Portfolio Committee. Added to the above, the Bill is quite straightforward and uncontroversial, as evidenced in the lack of public interest in it. That notwithstanding, he emphasised the Department’s readiness to clarify any matters of concern the Committee had with the Bill.

Mr Walter T Claassen, National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa) Board Chairperson, restated there were no problematic matters in the Bill. He added the matter of great concern to him was the contribution the ongoing activities of the organisation was making in people’s lives.

Fatimah Ebrahim, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, indicated that some matters of concern regarding the Bill had been reported to the Portfolio Committee and all of those concerns were redressed in the current version of the Bill.  

Discussion

The Chairperson further restated the point that the Bill was not controversial. As such, after careful consideration of the iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill, the Committee agreed to the Bill without any proposed amendments.

She added the Bill was referred to the Committee on 4 December 2018 and after the briefing on 6 March 2019 from the Department, the Committee advertised the Bill and invited all stakeholders to make written submissions and further indicate whether they wanted to make oral submissions to the Committee. In this regard, the invitation was advertised for a period of three weeks from 15 February 2019 until 8 March in both national and regional newspapers in all regions and in all languages. The Committee, however, did not receive any submissions from the public. Based on this, she requested a proposal from the Committee for the Bill to be adopted.

Mr A Singh (ANC; KZN) moved for adoption of the Bill and the Committee Report on the Bill. The motion was seconded by Mr O Sefako (ANC; North West).

Fifth Parliament Legacy Report of the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises 2014 - 2019

The Chairperson indicated the Legacy Report was discussed in the Committee’s previous meeting but the Committee did not have a quorum then to adopt the Report. She requested a proposal for the Report to now be adopted.

Mr E Mlambo (ANC; Gauteng) moved for adoption of the Fifth Parliament Legacy Report of the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises 2014 – 2019. The motion was seconded by Mr Sefako.

Annual Report of the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises

The Chairperson requested a proposal for adoption of the Report.

Mr Sefako moved for adoption of the Annual Report of the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises. The motion was seconded by Mr Singh.

Consideration and adoption of Committee Minutes

Committee Minutes of the following meetings were considered and adopted by the Committee:

  • 14 November 2018
  • 20 November 2018
  • 30 January 2019
  • 13 February 2019
  • 20 February 2019
  • 27 February 2019
  • 6 March 2019

Further discussion

Mr A Nyambi (ANC; Mpumalanga), raised some concerns on the adoption of the iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill. He stated there was an issue regarding the process followed in adopting the Committee Report. He attributed his concern to the fact that the Department only presented the Bill to the Committee last week. After the presentation, the Committee raised a number of questions. In view of this, he expected the Committee would have set aside a day for deliberations on the Bill in order to be certain if the Bill reflected the preference of the Committee.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee followed due processes in adopting the Bill.

Mr J Parkies (ANC; Free State) also expressed concerns in line with what Mr Nyambi raised. He further stated there should have been an opportunity for the Committee to make an input on the Bill and give directions to the Department rather than merely engaging the Department on the basis of questions and answers. He added that the incident must be a lesson to the Committee, and subsequent Committees, so they do not accept Bills without thoroughly reviewing it. He admonished the Committee to desist from being a ‘rubberstamp’.  

The Chairperson indicated the opportunity was given for questions to be asked by Members of the Committee as well as receive input from the legal advisor. However, there were no questions or matters raised by the Committee Members present hence adoption of the Bill.  

Mr Nyambi suggested the Committee reconsiders its decision and proposed the Committee request for a legal person to evaluate the contents of the Bill. He further indicated the Bill could be forwarded to the next Parliament.

Based on this, Mr Mlambo suggested the Chairperson consults with the Parliamentary Legal Team.

The Committee Secretary stated that she had previously consulted with the legal advisor. From these discussions, the legal adviser indicated there was no problem with the Committee Report on the Bill.

Mr Nyambi cited the minutes of the previous Committee meeting to indicate that the Committee agreed to further deliberations since the Committee was not very clear about the contents of the Bill.

The Chairperson concluded that the Department would be invited to clarify the matters of concern of Members in the next Committee meeting. She however emphasised that she gave Members of the Committee the opportunity to deliberate on the Bill before it was adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.                   

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