Higher Education Amendment Bill: discussion

Basic Education

09 November 1999
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Meeting report

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 November 1999
HIGHER EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [B45 - 99]: INFORMAL CONSIDERATION

Documents handed out
Amendments proposed by the ANC
Amendments proposed by the NNP
(these are incorporated into the minutes)
Proposed parliamentary delegations formula (Appendix 1)

SUMMARY
Delegates from the Department of Education were present at the meeting to answer any technical questions which the members had. Proposals for amendments were made primarily by the ANC, but, the NNP and the DP also made contributions.

It was noted that the formal consideration of the Bill would take place on Friday, accordingly, many of the issues were deferred for discussion at that meeting.
An update regarding the tour to be taken to Australia and New Zealand was given. Regarding the formula which would be used to constitute this delegation, the portfolio committee adopted the subcommittee's decision to use option 3.
The DP objected to this, their objection was noted.

MINUTES
The Chairperson commenced the meeting with an apology from Minister Kader Asmal who was unable to be present for health reasons. A motion of desirablility was proposed, and seconded. There were officials from the Department of Education present to answer any technical questions which the members had. These officials were Ms Badsha (Deputy Director General for Higher Education), Mr Boshoff (Director for Legal Services), and Ms Boshoff (Director for Higher
Education Management Support).

Comments were made and amendments were proposed by the ANC, the DP and the NNP. It was noted that the formal consideration of the Bill would take place on Friday.

The long title
The ANC proposed a 'technical amendment'. On page 2, in the fifth line, after the word 'chairperson', they suggested the insertion of 'and the vice-chairperson'.
Also on page 2, in line 7, they proposed that the word 'foreign' be omitted and, after 'not', the words 'citizens or permanent residents' should be added.
The only reason which was submitted for this proposition was that citizenship should be used as the primary guiding criteria.

No objections were raised.

Clause 3
In keeping with the amendments made to the long title, the ANC accordingly proposed that in line 11, on page 4, after the word 'chairperson', the words 'and the vice-chairperson' should be inserted.
No objections were raised.

In regard to the phrasing of subclause (b)(b), The NNP suggested that the registrar be considered the secretary to the council and to the Senate. Advocate Gaum (NNP) noted that this made sense as a practical measure as it would ensure continuity.

The Department of Education (DE) indicated that the registrar served as secretary to the council and to the senate in many higher education institutions and that it was common practice to do this via statutes. However, it had not been done in this Bill as it was considerered unfair to burden one official with all of this work.

The ANC concurred with the DE on the matter and the Chairperson indicated that the issue would not be dealt with now but left for Friday.

Clause 4
The ANC proposed that on page 4, in line 17, to omit 'foreign' and after 'not', to insert 'citizens or' (this, too, was for consistency with the proposed amendments to the long title). No objections were noted.

Clause 5
The ANC made the following proposals (to maintain consistency with the earlier proposed amendment to the long title):
On page 4, in line 23, to omit 'foreign'.
On page 4, in line 24, after 'not', to insert 'citizens or'.
No objections were noted.

Regarding clause 5, the NNP had a proposal of its own to make: it was suggested that a distinction be made between foreign students and students from developing communities in Southern Africa. This distinction would relate to the money payable by the students.

The DE indicated that they did not think it was necessary to do this as the purpose of the clause being drafted in that particular manner was to make it as enabling as possible. They did not want to attach any riders.

The ANC noted that they did not support the NNP's proposal.

Advocate Gaum indicated that he would raise the issue on Friday.

Clause 6
The ANC proposed that in line 36, after 'may', the words 'after consultation with the council concerned, and' should be inserted.
No objections were noted regarding this proposal.

The DP however, indicated that they were not entirely happy with this clause. Regarding the initiation of a financial audit, the educational institutions were given too much autonomy. There should be a healthy balance between the autonomy of an educational institution and state interference. Accordingly, there should be some reference made to accountability. They asked whether the reference to audit in this section referred to the auditors statement in S41(2) of the principal Act or if the amendment referred to a separate audit instigated by the Minister.

The DE replied that the audit was one which could be instituted by the Minister where there was evidence of serious financial problems or it could be instituted by the institution itself.

The ACDP noted that there were seven cases of mismanagement of funds of which they were currently aware. Accordingly, these institutions must not have too great an autonomy; government has a responsibility in that they must ensure that universities are managed correctly. They added that the concept of the Attorney General having the power to institute an audit should be inserted into the clause.

Both the NNP and the IFP indicated that they support this notion. The general feeling was that corruption could never be ruled out and that autonomy should be balanced with accountability.

At this time the NNP commented that, as this was a matter of great concern, additional qualifications should be built in. It was suggested that there should be two audits instead of one.

It was noted however, that the budget would not support the concept on two audits.

Clause 7
The ACDP commented that granting an employee of the Department the power to be registrar was a dangerous thing and that it could do damage.

Clause 9
The ANC proposed the following technical amendments on page 6:

in line 13, to omit 'or any of those delegated to him or her in terms of ss(2),'

from line 14, to omit 'or any of those assigned to him or her in terms of ss(2),'

in line 18, to omit 'or any of those delegated to him or her in terms of ss(1)

from line 19, to omit 'or any of those assigned to it in terms of ss(1),'.

These changes were proposed as the clauses were considered superfluous. They were simply repeating what was already provided for in the principal Act.

All the parties agreed with this proposal.

Further amendments
The ANC proposed that a new clause, clause 10, be inserted.
This clause would look as follows:

Amendment of S76 of Act 101 of 1997
10. Section 76 of the principal Act is hereby amended by the addition of the
following subsections:
The Technikons Amendment Act, 1995 (Act No. 27 of 1995), is hereby repealed in its entirety.
The Education Policy Act, 1967 (Act No. 39 of 1967), is hereby repealed in its entirety.

Thus, this new clause deals with the abolition of these laws when this Act is effected.

The Department of Education conceded that it was an oversight on their part not to have included this.

Other matters dealt with:
It was announced that the tour which the committee will be embarking on will commence on 26 January 2000. The destinations are New Zealand and Australia and the purpose of the tour is to study the practical implementation of education in those countries. Included in this concept is the manner of providing financial assistance to students for further education.

It was indicated that there had been a proposition that a delegation of 7 people should go, but, if funding was not available, this number would have to be reduced.

Regarding how these delegations would be composed three options had been put forward (see Appendix). The subcommittee (which was formed to deal with this tour) had held a meeting the previous day and the third option had been chosen. The DP objected to this, as they favoured the first option. The DP indicated that they would not accept this decision as they had not been informed of the meeting.

The chairperson explained that all the necessary notices had been put up and, that a member of the DP had indicated that he would not be present at that meeting. Accordingly, it was the duty of that member to inform his colleagues that someone would have to substitute for him.

The committee adopted the recommendation of the subcommittee to use the third option. The DP's objection was noted.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1:
Proposed Parliamentary Delegations Formula

Size of Delegation: 1
Option 1: ANC 1

Option 2: ANC 1
Option 3 : ANC 1

Size of Delegation: 2

Option 1: ANC 2
Option 2: ANC 1, DP 1
Option 3: ANC 1, Rotation 1*

Size of Delegation: 3
Option 1: ANC 2, DP 1
Option 2: ANC 2, DP/IFP 1
Option 3: ANC 2, Rotation 1*

Size of Delegation: 4
Option 1: ANC 2, DP 1, IFP 1
Option 2: ANC 2, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 1
Option 3: ANC 2, Rotation 2

Size of Delegation: 5
Option 1: ANC 3, DP 1, IFP 1
Option 2: ANC 3, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 1
Option 3: ANC 3, Rotation 2

Size of Delegation: 6
Option 1: ANC 3, DP 1, IFP 1, Rotation 1
Option 2: ANC 4, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 1
Option 3: ANC 3, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 2

Size of Delegation: 7
Option 1: ANC 4, DP 1, IFP 1, Rotation 1
Option 2: ANC 4, DP 1, IFP 1, NNP1
Option 3 : ANC 4, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 2

Size of Delegation: 8
Option 1: ANC 5, DP 1, IFP 1, Rotation 1
Option 2: ANC 5, DP 1, IFP 1, NNP 1
Option 3: ANC 5, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 2

Size of Delegation: 9
Option 1: ANC 5, DP 1, IFP 1, NNP 1, UDM 1
Option 2 : ANC 5, DP 1, IFP 1, NNP/UDM 1, Rotation 1
Option 3: ANC 5, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 3


Size of Delegation: 10
Option 1: ANC 6, DP 1, IFP 1, NNP 1, UDM 1
Option 2: ANC 6, DP 1, IFP 1, NNP 1, Rotation 1
Option 3: ANC 6, DP/IFP 1, Rotation 3

*Rotation - Big 4 minority parties.

All other rotations for all minority parties.

Party % Seats
ANC 66.5
DP 9.5
IFP 8.5
NNP 7
UDM 3.5
ACDP 1.5
PAC 0.75
FF 0.75
UCDP 0.75
FA 0.75
MF 0.25
AEB 0.25
AZAPO 0.25
Total 100

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