Department of Science and Technology& DHET Budget: Committee Reports

Higher Education, Science and Technology

05 July 2019
Chairperson: Mr M Mapulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met for consideration and adoption of its draft Report on the budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

Members expressed views on the Recommendations section of the report. On accommodation facilities in universities and TVET colleges, there should be coordination between local and provincial governments to bring about an integrated transport system that could alleviate the pressures for transport allowance and other support services for those institutions. On the infrastructure and capacity within disadvantaged institutions and TVET colleges, they emphasised the need for the training of TVET lecturers and the auditing for skill profiles. Further, on the fourth industrial revolution, there should be plans in place besides those around science and technology innovation. There should also be other plans to assist people that are still struggling with the first, second and third industrial revolution, particularly those living in rural areas. A DA Member wanted comments she made about moving NSFAS from the Higher Education portfolio to the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) as a form of social welfare intervention to be inserted in the report. She had also suggested Community Education and Training be moved to Basic Education. However, these proposals were rejected by the Committee majority.

The Committee Report on the budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).was adopted with amendments.

The DA reserved its right on the report.

Meeting report

Deliberations on the draft Report on the budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Vote 30 and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Vote 15

The Chairperson welcomed everyone and pointed out that there were no apologies received apart from Dr W Boshoff. The purpose of the meeting was to deliberate the draft report which was to be put up for adoption following the deliberations. He tabled the draft report for consideration, and took the Committee through the document page-by-page.

Discussion

Observations and Recommendations 

A grammatical error which had to be corrected was noted on page 6 of the report.

Prof B Bozzoli (DA) suggested that the Observations section include points raised by Members. This section should have captured the comment she made that NSFAS should be moved from the Higher Education portfolio to the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) as a form of social welfare intervention. She also mentioned that she had suggested Community Education and Training be moved to Basic Education.

The Chairperson sought clarity from Prof Bozzoli on where her comments should be captured.

Prof Bozzoli replied that they should be captured on the Comments section of the report.

The Chairperson pointed out that there was no Comments section in the report.

Prof Bozzoli mentioned that she was actually referring to the Observations section of the report.

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) commented on the point raised by Prof Bozzoli. She felt moving NSFAS to SASSA would bring contradictions. She suggested there be a separate discussion on this matter.

Mr B Yabo (ANC) commented on the aforesaid proposal to move NSFAS to SASSA and said it was a fallacy. He based his concerns on the notion of equity, restoration of human dignity and social justice. It was impossible to address equity separately from the developmental spectrum within the Department of Higher Education. He disagreed with the idea that NSFAS be moved from Higher Education to SASSA.

Ms J Mananiso (ANC) echoed Mr Yabo’s sentiments and added that the majority as a collective resisted the observation that would see NSFAS being moved to SASSA. It was fair that the observation was not captured as it was rejected.

Mr W Letsie (ANC) agreed with Mr Yabo and said it was imperative to raise concerns whilst the Chairperson was summarising the observations, and if the observation is not captured it would be regarded as rejected. The observations captured on the report represented the acquiescence by the Committee majority.

Prof Bozzoli sought clarity on whether the implication of Mr Letsie proposal would be that in an event comments made by Members were rejected, they would not be captured in the minutes. She pointed out that the mandate of the Committee was to represent different point of views from different political parties.

Ms N Mkhatshwa (ANC) asked Committee Staff to clarify that the Committee was dealing with the report, not minutes of previous meetings. She believed the rest of the issues were captured in the minutes. The Observations section of the report captures the acquiescence by the Committee majority and not individual views. She added that NSFAS should be viewed as an intervention seeking to increase access to higher education and a means to ensure that young people play an important role in the country’s economy, not as a social welfare burden. It was not necessary for young black people entering higher education and training to constantly prove their poverty. She further suggested that NSFAS should preferably be moved to Social Development to be covered as a welfare issue. However, there should be a separate discussion on this. She also recommended that there be conversations on how to alleviate the pressure of accommodation facilities in both universities and TVET colleges. Also, there should be conversations on the granting of NSFAS funds to courses that play no role in the country’s economic development.

The Chairperson echoed Ms Mkhatshwa’s sentiments and pointed out that there were minutes with detailed information about Members’ comments regardless of the Committee’s objections. However the observations in the report reflected that which was agreed upon by the Committee majority. All parties represented in the Committee have the right to give their views in an open and democratic space.

Mr B Nodada (DA) reflected on four points that should find expression in the Recommendations section. On accommodation facilities in universities and TVET colleges, as raised by Ms Mkhatshwa, he suggested that there be coordination between local and provincial governments to bring about an integrated transport system that could alleviate the pressures for transport allowance and other support services for those institutions. On the infrastructure and capacity within disadvantaged institutions and TVET colleges, he emphasised the need for the training of TVET lecturers and the auditing for skill profiles. Further, on the fourth industrial revolution, there should be plans in place besides those around science and technology innovation. There should be other plans to assist people that are still struggling with the first, second and third industrial revolution, particularly those living in rural areas.

The Chairperson requested that Mr Nodada help with the formulation of the recommendation so that it is inserted in the report.

Mr Nodada agreed.

Mr S Ngcobo (IFP) agreed with Ms Mkhatshwa on the need to capture the issue of accommodation systems in both universities and TVETs on the Recommendations section of the report.

The Chairperson noted the point raised by Mr Ngcobo.

Prof Bozzoli insisted that Community Education and Training should be moved back to Basic Education. She pointed out that the Minister had disagreed, but the fact was that it is not working in Higher Education. She requested that this be considered.

The Chairperson mentioned that the points raised by Prof Bozzoli were debatable.

Prof Bozzoli (DA) insisted that her point be captured in the report.

The Chairperson agreed.

Ms J Mananiso (ANC) said interests of young people with disabilities should also be captured, as they were normally not included.

Adoption of Report

The Chairperson said the points raised by all Members would be captured. Members’ recommendations were noted and Mr Nodada would assist in the formulation of the report. Prof Bozzoli’s views were also noted but had been rejected.

Prof Bozzoli sought clarity about who had rejected her points as they were not put up to a vote.

The Chairperson explained that he was summarising the views as expressed by Members. He put the report up for adoption.

The Committee Report was adopted with amendments.

Prof Bozzoli reserve her right on behalf of the DA stating that the party would first have to formulate its views on the report.  

The Chairperson, in closing, said the Committee’s Content Advisor would be asked to structure the Recommendations section of the report.

The meeting was adjourned.

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