iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill & Repeal of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill: finalisation

NCOP Communications and Public Enterprise

20 March 2019
Chairperson: Ms E Prins (ANC; Western Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee finalised and adopted the Ikamva Digital Skills Institute Bill as well as the Repeal of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill.

Members of the Committee were impressed with the framework and the model of the Ikamva Digital Skill Institute presented by the chairperson of the board of National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa. The Digital Skill Framework covered various sectors including, e-literacy, sector user digital skills, e-leadership skills and ICT practitioner skills.The e-leadership skill was the central aspect of digital skills.The model of implementation of the initiative would be the development of CoLabs. The initiative would be decentralized for universities to be the points of delivery.In addition, there would be centres established around the country, with each centre having built-in networks.

The Department of Public Enterprises had made satisfactory progress in addressing the two critical issues that the Committeehad expressed concern about in its previous engagement with the Department: the 30% black empowerment shareholding and the Employee Share Ownership Scheme at the Forever Resorts. The Department had discovered that the clause pertaining to the Employee Share Ownership Scheme had not been included in the contract when Aventura Resorts was sold to Forever Resorts. However, the Department was determined to ensure that the shareholders agreed to a 30% B-BBEE shareholding.

The members of the Committee noted the need for theSixth Parliament to keenly follow progress on the issues discussed.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The  Chairperson welcomed Members and noted apologies. She indicated that she would begin immediately with theiKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill and asked the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) to go through the Bill, but just too give Members a summary.

Ms Madlanga asked whether she needed to go through the Bill or whether she should just answer the outstanding questions.

The Chairperson asked what would suit Members.

Mr E Mlambo(ANC; Gauteng) requested that outstanding questions from previous engagements be addressed by the Department of Telecommunications & Postal Services (DTPS).

Mr O Sefako (ANC; North West) agreed with Mr Mlambo and added that since the Committee had already engaged the Department in a detailed manner, it was only necessary that clarification be given by the Department on any further issues the Committeehad.

iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill – Framework and Model

Ms Nosisi Madlanga, Chief Director , DTPS, stated that the outstanding questions related tothe framework and model in which the Institute would be rolled out as that had not been covered in the Department’s previous engagement with the Committee.The Department had agreed that the chairperson of the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) board would brief the Committee on the issue.

Prof Walter Claassen, Board Chairperson, NEMISA, began his presentation by indicating that what constituted digital skillswas unclear to many people. He stated,with reference to a diagram in the presentation, that the Digital Skill Framework covered various sectors including, e-literacy, sector user digital skills, e-leadership skills and ICT practitioner skills. The e-literacy skills referred to the ability of people to use computers and the internet in their working lives. The ICT practitioners on the other hand were those who built the systems and constituted a unique group in their own right. He indicated another category of digital skills known as the sector skills which was applicable in situations where digital literatesutilisedtheir skills in the various sectors or industries such as commerce, mining or health. It was within that framework that digital skillswere conceptualised.

The e-leadership skill was the central aspect of digital skills. That had to do with the implementation of leadership using digital skills in a variety of settings. That category was a broad and open one. Nevertheless, NEMISA trained people inthat area. Prof Claassenstated that the Fourth Industrial Revolution was based on convergence or the ability to bring things together. E-leadership would be a very important component in achieving that.

The model of implementation of the initiative would be the development of CoLabs. He added that the digital skill programme could be done in two ways. It could be centralized in the capital city around government without considering the local needs, or it could be decentralized. The initiative would bedecentralized for universities to be the points of delivery. That was because the implementation required leadership and knowledge. Also, the universities would be the best point of delivery due tothe preference of people for obtainingqualifications for their studies. Added to that, accreditation wasavailable either in the SETA context or through the Council for Higher Educationwhich mandated universities to administer programs and accredited those programmes. It would only be possible for people to obtain a qualification througha university mandated course. Universities were built on trust and were keen to maintain a good name.That was why the program would be rolled out at the universities.

In addition, there would be centres established around the country, with each centre having built-in networks. Currently, NEMISA hadnineCoLabs linked tohost universities. The organization had a contract with the universities and interacted directly with the Vice-Chancellors who were responsible for theCo-Labs. Each university had its network and partnersthrough which it interacted with the community.Also, Prof Claassen said that provincial governments, municipalities, community centres and businesses were institutions trustedby communities. As such, they could be empowered to do the digital training in the various communities.

Prof Claassenexplained that the Co-Labs had different expertise in different areas. The Co-Labs in Limpopo, for instance, specialised in health and those of theEastern Cape in rural development. The Co-Labs inMpumalangafocused on digital integration and climate security and the one in theFree State would focus on robotics.That notwithstanding, all Co-Labs would train at all levels, although each Co-Lab had its area of speciality. He concluded that the work of the organisation was geared towards the benefit of the community and the country. In view of that, one of the Co-Labs had developed a system that supported businesses, but which aided in the minimisation of data usage. He presented a document to the Committee in that regard.

Discussion

Dr H Mateme (ANC; Limpopo) requested that the process be taken forward since it seemed impossible for the Committee to be hundred percent accurate within a single day.However, since a solid foundation had been laid, she urged that the Committeeproceed with the adoption,after which the Sixth Parliament could developthe details of the work that had been done by the Fifth Parliament.

The Chairperson apologised for the fact that not all the Members were in attendance. She stated that she needed another Member to establish a quorum. Mr A Nyambi (ANC) refused to attend as he had said that people had to be on time. She statedthat a quorum was required before the process could be taken any further.The meeting had been postponed the previous week because some Members felt that not all procedures had been followed, but they had. However, she had not wanted to proceed while there were outstanding questions and issues.

The Chairperson explained to Dr Mateme that the Committee was not attempting to deal with the matter in a single meeting. The Committee had had several meetings on the matter and had interrogated the matter in depth.The Chairperson re-emphasised the fact that the Committee had gone through the due processes in the past week,but the meeting had been postponed because interaction between the Committee and the Department was necessary and it wasto avoid procedural flaws that the meeting had had to be reconvened.

Mr A Singh (ANC; Kwazulu-Natal)stated that the Chair of Chairs had been late the previous week and the Department had already left by the time he had arrived. Mr Singhindicated that there was always a degree of time given to allow Members who were either traveling or returning from other meetings to catch up with the Committee session. Having said that, he requested that if the Chair wished, the Billcould be passed.

The Chairperson repeated that she needed a quorum.

 

Dr Mateme stated that the Department had done its part. In view of that, she suggested that thein-house challenges be sorted out later, after the Department was through with its task. She proposed that the Chair acknowledged that the Department had done its part, so that the officials couldbe permitted to leave. The Committeewould later determine how best it could comply with the requirements of Parliament.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for their attendance and the hard work.

Dr Mateme expressed her pleasure at the presentation by Prof Claassen which would result in the creation of many jobs.

The Chairperson welcomed the Chief Whip of the NCOP, Seiso Mohai, as an additional Member of the Committee to make up a quorum. She informed the meeting that there was a quorum and that the Bill could be adopted.

Adoption

Mr Sefako proposed the adoption of the iKamva Digital Skills Institute Bill. His proposal was seconded by Mr Singh. There were no objections.

Committee Report on Bill

The Committee approved the proposal for the adoption of the Bill by the National Council of Provinces.

Repeal of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill

Adv Melanchton Makobe, Acting Deputy Director-General: State-Owned Companies Performance, Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), said that,after the previous meeting with the Committee, theDepartment had made two commitments, one of which was to meet with the community forum, after which the Department would give feedback to the Committeeon issues presented to them. The Department had also committed to check with other state-owned companies as to how to deal with the issue of employee share ownership schemes.

In relation to the employee share ownership schemes, Mr Makobe stated that the Department’s relationship with the OvervaalResort was contractualand was regulated by the sale and purchase agreement. As a result of that, the Department had its hands tied on a lot of issues as it no longer owned Aventura. However, the Department would make proposalsto Forever Resorts on how two of the critical issuescould be resolved.

Mr Denzel Matjila, Director, DPE, indicated that at the meeting with the forum, the two critical issues discussed were theissues of the 30%black empowerment shareholding and ESOS(Employee Share Ownership Scheme). With regard to the 30% issue, he said that theDepartment had written a letter to the Resort and its response was that it had given Siyonwaba LeisureConsortium 30% and it was not under any obligation to give the 30% to another B-BBEEcompany because of the terms of the shareholder agreement. Thecontent of the letter was shared with the forum. The Departmentresponded to the letter since there seemed to be some contradictions in the letter.The Department was keen not to leave the issue of the 30% there.

Mr Matjila indicated that the Department would do its best and if all alternatives failed, would seek a legal opinion on the matter. A key aspect of the transitional document in the 2000/01when Aventura was sold, was that the sale was intended to empower communities. The Department had written another letter.In view of that, Forever Resorts was expected to have indicated how it would empower the community. It was in view of that that the Department wouldseek legal advice, if all other means failed.

Adv Makobe emphasised that theDepartmentwas prepared to go to court, if necessary, and would request a legal assessment of the prospects of the successfor the Department in court, should it pursue that alternative.

Mr Matjila indicated that,on the issue of ESOS, the forum had complained that there was no ESOS in Aventura. After checking through all the transitional documents, the Department realized there was no such provision in that particular case.He said that even Minister Radebe, who was the responsible Minister when Aventura was sold, could not explain why that clause was not there when in the contracts with all other organizations, the provision had been made. The Department proposed a resolution. If the Department could get the 30% allocated to another B-BBEE company, then some shares from that 30% would be allocated to employees and the issue would be resolved.

The Chairperson recalled that the concern of the Committee was the 30% black empowerment share and also the ESOS. The concern had been that if the Bill was approved, there would be no responsibility on the part of the Department towards the shareholders. She asked Members to raise questions and concerns.

Ms Z Ncitha(ANC; Eastern Cape) expressed appreciation for the progress report,especially on the issue of the 30%. Similarly, she expressed her satisfaction on the referral of some issues discussed in previous meetings to the Zondo Commission. She added that the issue must be stated in the Committee’s closing report,and should includeareas that the Sixth Parliament could work on.

The Chairperson stated that she still had some unanswered questions but was cognisant of the fact that the Department was doing its best. It was impossible for the Committee to make laws which wouldbe imposed on businesses and the Committee’s concern was that after the Committeehad approved the Bill, the Department would not have a responsibility to look after the people’s interest. She emphasised that, as the representatives of the people, Members had the responsibility to look after the interests of the public.Added to the above, she said that one of the recommendations at the last meeting had been about obtaining legal advice as each legal advisor would give different advice. Shewas concerned that something was not right that the government had spent so much money and people could only become cleaners. Based on that, she expressed her hope that the issue would be taken further by the Department and added thatthe matter would be monitored by the next Parliament.She requested a proposal for adoption.

Adoption

Ms Ncitha proposed the adoption of the Repeal of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill. Her proposal was seconded by Mr Sefako. There were no objections and the Committee approved the proposal for the adoption of the Bill.

Committee Report on Bill

The Committee approved its report on the bill.

The Chairperson thanked the Chief Whip of the NCOP, Seiso Mohai, for attending the meeting.

Closing remarks

Ms Ncitha expressed appreciation to the Department for being patient with the Committee. She also expressed her thanks to all the Departments that the Committeehad worked with for the high level of professionalism in their presentations, and for accepting the criticism of Members of the Committee. She added that the criticisms were all geared towards ensuring that things were done in the correct way. She thanked the members of the Committee for their hard work throughout the period despite their own challenges.

The Chairperson also expressed her gratitude to the officials from the Departments for the honest answers given as well as the respect, commitment and theirhard work during the period of the Fifth Parliament. She expressed her thanks toMembers of the Committee, the support staff as well as stakeholders.

The meeting was adjourned.

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