Higher Education Amendment Bill: voting

Basic Education

11 November 1999
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Meeting report

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
12 November 1999
HIGHER EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [B 45 - 99]: FORMAL CONSIDERATION

Documents handed out
Proposed amendments by the ANC (Appendix 1)
Proposed amendments by the NNP (Appendix 2)
Proposed amendments by the DP (Appendix 3)

SUMMARY
The amendments suggested by the ANC were primarily of a technical nature. Accordingly, there were no objections from the minority parties; these amendments were simply agreed to and no voting was necessary.

Amendments of a more substantive nature were proposed by the DP and the NNP. These, however, were objected to by the ANC. The result was that both the DP and the NNP were outvoted and their respective proposals were rejected.

The Bill was passed with the amendments proposed by the ANC.

MINUTES
The Chairperson commenced the meeting by reading the motion of desirability. It was supported by the ANC and seconded by the NNP.

At the start of the meeting a member of the NNP indicated that he had at least five other meetings to attend and noted that he supported all the proposals to be made by Advocate Gaum (NNP). He asked the Chairperson if it was possible for him to leave the meeting now, but to have his vote taken into account (in support of the NNP). The Chairperson rejected this request.

Delegates from the Department of Education (DE) were present; the Chairperson however, decided that they would not contribute to the meeting as no motivation of opinions would be allowed.

The long title
The ANC made a proposal which related to replacing the word 'foreign' with the word 'citizen' or 'permanent resident'.
The Chairperson asked if all agreed to this amendment . The IFP asked for a reminder of what the problem with the word 'foreign' was.

The DE replied that the use of the word 'foreign' was criticized as not being sensitive enough. The notion was that the focus should be on citizenship and permanent residence and that people who are not citizens should be excluded. The DE added that although more politically correct language had been used, the effect of the long title was exactly the same as before. Thus, no substantive change had been effected.

This amendment was agreed upon, accordingly, it was not necessary to vote.

Clause 3
The ANC proposed that the words 'and the vice-chairperson' should be inserted after the word 'chairperson'.
This amendment was agreed to by the committee.

The NNP suggested an amendment related to this section. The essence of their suggestion was to make the registrar the secretary to the senate and to the council.

The Chairperson asked the DE to comment on the implications of this amendment. They pointed out that the institution could appoint the registrar to both the senate and the council if it chose to do so but that it was not desirable to legislate that the registrar must perform both these functions as it brought in too much rigidity. They added that this was a job which could be performed by the Dean's of the respective institutions.

The NNP asked the Chairperson for an opportunity to motivate their argument but they were refused on the grounds that their point had already been made. The Chairperson indicated that it was not the nature of a formal consideration to allow motivation; the amendments simply had to be proposed and voted on.

This was not well-received in the NNP camp. A member of the NNP noted that the DE had been given the opportunity to motivate their point of view but that this same opportunity was being refused to the NNP. They described this as being unfair and wrong.

The Chairperson conceded that he should not have allowed the DE to comment but insisted that he would not allow the NNP to motivate. The ANC members agreed with this decision of the Chairperson, noting that this point had already been raised at the informal consideration and that there should be no deviation from the program which had been set for today's meeting.

The DP agreed with the NNP, stating that a short period should be allowed for motivation before the voting took place.

Advocate Gaum argued that time for motivation should be allowed as new points may be raised in relation to issues before the committee. He noted specifically that he had thought of new 'things' since the last meeting and wanted the opportunity to put them forward.

The Chairperson decided that there would be no motivation on any of the points as there was nothing new to be heard on any of the matters.

The NNP's suggestion was voted on as follows:
For - 2
Against - 13
The proposal was rejected.

Clause 4
The ANC proposed an amendment relating to the omission of the word 'foreign' (for consistency with the amendment to the long title).
The committee did not vote on this amendment as it was simply agreed upon.

The DP suggested an amendment to this clause which would allow a distinction to be made between foreign students and students who came from countries who were members of the Southern African Development Communities (SADC).
The notion was that citizens of such countries would be treated on a much more favourable basis.

A vote was taken with the following results:
For - 1
Against - 14

Clause 5
The issues and decisions in respect of clause 4 applied exactly to clause 5.
The ANC proposed a technical amendment related to the omission of the word 'foreign', which was agreed upon by the committee.

The DP suggested an amendment to this section which would also have the effect of treating students from SADC countries favourably.
The results were :
For - 1
Against - 14
The proposal was rejected.

Clause 6
The ANC proposed that, after 'may', the words 'after consultation with the council concerned, and' be inserted.
The amendment was agreed to.

The DP suggested an amendment to this section which would have the effect that an audit (as referred to in this section) would be conducted by a recognised audit firm.
A vote was taken with the following results:
For - 3 (1 DP and 2 NNP)
Against - 13
The proposal was rejected.

The NNP suggested that three separate insertions be made to this section
(see appendix).
These were voted on and the results were the following:
Amendment 1
For - 3 (2 NNP and 1 DP)
Against - 13

Amendment 2
For - 2
Against - 11

Amendment 3
For - 3 (2 NNP and 1 DP)
Against - 14
Accordingly, all their proposals were rejected.

Clause 9
The DP suggested that two separate insertions be made to this clause (see appendix).
The results of the voting was:
Amendment 1
For - 1
Against - 14

Amendment 2
For - 1
Against - 14
Both proposals were rejected.

Other amendments
The ANC suggested the insertion of a new clause, to be called clause 10. This clause would have the effect of repealing the Technikons Amendment Act, 1995 and the Education Policy Act, 1967, in its entirety.
This proposal was not voted on but simply agreed to.

The NNP suggested an amendment to the Higher Education Act, 1967 by instituting the words 'institutional rules' after the words 'institutional statute'.
The voting results were:
For - 2
Against - 13

The Bill was passed with the amendments proposed by the ANC and the meeting was adjourned.
[Note: The Chairperson indicated at the start of the meeting that he had a flight to catch at 12:00am and that he wished adjourn the meeting by 11:00am. At one point during the meeting, a member of the NNP (referring to the haste with which the meeting was being conducted) jokingly commented that the Chairperson must be a cricket fan as the cricket was starting at ten.]

Appendix 1:
AMENDMENTS TO BE CONSIDERED
HIGHER EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL
[B 45-99]

CLAUSE 3
1. On page 4, in line 11, after "chairperson" to insert "and the vice-chairperson".

CLAUSE 4
1. On page 4, in line 17, to omit "foreign" and after "not" to insert "citizens or".

CLAUSE 5
1. On page 4, in line 23, to omit "foreign".
2. On page 4, in line 24, after "not" to insert "citizen or".

CLAUSE 6
1. On page 4, in line 36, after "may", to insert "after consultation with the council of the public higher education institution concerned, if practicable, and".

CLAUSE 9
1. On page 6, in line 13, to omit "or any of those delegated to him or her in terms of subsection (2),".

2. On page 6, from line 14 to omit "or any of those assigned to him or her in terms of subsection (2),".

3. On page 6, in line 18, to omit "or any of those delegated to him or her in terms of subsection (1),".

4. On page 6, from line 19, to omit" or any of those assigned to it in terms of subsection (1),".

NEW CLAUSE
1.That the following be a new Clause to follow Clause 9:
Amendment of section 76 of Act 101 of 1997
10. Section 76 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the addition of the following subsections:
(5) The Technikons Amendment Act. 1995 (Act No.27 of 1995). is hereby repealed in its entirety.
(6) The Education Policy Act. 1967 (Act No. 39 of 1967). is hereby repealed in its entirety.

LONG TITLE
1. On page 2, in the fifth line, after "chairperson" to insert "and the vice-chairperson".

2. On page 2, in the seventh line, to omit "foreign" and after "not" to insert citizens or".

Appendix 2:
Democratic Party amendments to the Higher Education
Amendment Bill, 1999
By and large, the DP supports this amendment bill, with a few minor changes. We do, however, have reservations about section 6, which provides for the appointment of an administrator.

This document outlines our proposed amendments:

Clause 4 & 5
Clause 4 to be amended by the substitution of clause 4 for the following clause:
The policy referred to in subsection (1) may discriminate in a fair manner between foreign/international students who are not permanent residents of the Republic, foreign/international students who are not residents of the republic but who are residents of member states of the Southern African Development Community, and students who are citizens of the Republic when the amount payable is determined.

Clause 5 to be amended by the substitution for clause 5 of the following clause:

(g) money payable by students for higher education programmes provided by the institution, but the council may discriminate in a fair manner between foreign/international students who are not permanent residents of the Republic, foreign/international students who are not residents of the republic but who are residents of member states of the Southern African Development Community, and students who are citizens of the Republic when the amount payable is determined.

Objective: The amendment bill allows universities to discriminate between foreign students and South Africans in settling study and accommodation fees. Our proposed amendment allows for universities to take into account South Africa's relationship with SADC countries and treat these students on a more favourable basis.

Clause 6
According to the report of the National Commission on Higher Education, institutional autonomy refers to the degree of self-regulation and administrative independence from the state that an institution enjoys in making decisions on its goals, programmes and priorities, and on the means and procedures by which the latter will be pursued.
Institutional autonomy is inevitably limited by demands of accountability, but in seeking to address the problem of accountability we are concerned that the present bill goes too far, in that section 6 potentially undermines the balance between institutional autonomy and accountability. We support the intention of this section, because existing legisIation does not adequately provide for situations where a university's administration has broken down. But we believe that the circumstances under which an administrator can be appointed have been too loosely defined.

The proposed amendments are unclear and lack specificity in certain areas, creating uncertainty:
· s41 (1) refers to an audit, but does not specify what audit or by whom. Is it the audited statements submitted by the council of the institution to the minister in terms of s41 (2) of the Higher Education act or does the amendment envisage a separate, different, independent or other audit presumably as instigated by the minister. If the latter, on what information and from where does the minister rely in coming to the conclusion that such an audit is required.
· (b) "...financial or other maladministration of a serious nature". It is not clear what these words intend to convey. What kinds of administrative actions are being referred to and what level of seriousness is contemplated? In addition, what is the role and place of the council in this process, i.e. identifying financial or other acts of maladministration of a serious nature, or taking appropriate action such as, for example, launching its own independent investigation to remedy the problem.

We propose to amend the section as follows:
If an audit of the financial records of a public higher education institution, conducted by a recognised audit firm, or an investigation...

But further consultation is needed on exactly the nature and extent of maladministration justifying intervention by an administrator.

Clause 9
In lines 12 and 18, after the words "or" to insert the words "if expressly so agreed by the delegating body,"

In line 14 and 19, after the word "or" to insert the words "if expressly so agreed by the assigning body,"

Appendix 3:
HIGHER EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL PROPOSED
AMENDMENTS: NNP

Section 36 of the Higher Education Act. '1997
Insert the words "or institutional rules" after the words "institutional statute".

Clause 3
1. On page 4, in line 10, after "council" to insert "and the senate".
2. On page 4, in line 11, after "chairperson" to insert "and the vice-chairperson".

Clauses 4.5.6.9. New Clause 10 and the long title
NNP concurs with ANC's amendments

Clause 6
1. On page 4, in line 39, to substitute for the word "six" the word "three".
2. On page 4, in line 40, after "may" to insert "after consultation with the council
concerned".
3. On page 4, in line 41, to substitute for the word "six" the word "three".

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