A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE Chairperson: Dr M Serote
20 February 2001
PAN SOUTH AFRICAN LANGUAGE BOARD NOMINATIONS; LEGISLATIVE & COMMITTEE PROGRAMME 2001
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Chairperson: Dr M Serote
Cultural Laws Amendment Bill [B45-00]
Cultural Laws Second Amendment Bill [B46-00]
According to the Pan South African Language Board Act, the Board should comprise a minimum of twenty members. The Bill amending this Act will change this figure to fifteen. The question arose as to whether the committee's selection could be made on the basis of the foreseeable changes that the Bill makes to the Act. The Law Advisor however felt that this is not advisable, as the Committee would be disregarding the law as it stands presently.
With regard to the programme for 2001, it was decided that the proposals and suggestions of the Department and the Committee be incorporated into one document that would outline the Committee's strategic plan for the year. The Committee will then form provincial groupings in order to deal with work in the provinces.
Nominations for Pan-South African Language Board Members
The Chair reminded the Committee of the urgency of this matter as the Board's term of office ends on 26 March. The Minister had appointed an ad hoc committee to advertise for nominations during parliamentary recess. Members would now have access to the CVs of nominees. The Committee's recommendations would be presented to the Minister who would table them in Cabinet before the last meeting of the Board. Twenty five short-listed names have to be submitted and interviews will take place on Monday, 28 February.
Ms A Van Wyk (NNP) asked why the CVs would only be distributed to members at this late stage.
The Chair apologised saying that the committee clerk had been in the process of changing offices and there had been delays and confusion.
It was decided to schedule an emergency meeting for the following day in order to draft up a shortlist.
One of the contentious issues was the composition of the Board. The Act states that it should be composed of twenty members. The Committee felt that fifteen members would suffice. However this may present legal and technical difficulties. The Chair requested clarity from the Law Advisor, Adv Meyer.
Adv. Meyer studied the relevant Act with regard to the composition of the Board. He stated that the proposed change had been that the Board be comprised of a minimum of eleven and a maximum of fifteen members. However this change as contained in the Cultural Laws Amendment Bill has not yet been effected. Thus, the above legal position still stands and cannot be ignored.
Secondly the interview shortlist should contain a maximum of 25 names. The subsequent interview must be public and transparent. The Committee compiles a final shortlist of not more than twenty names. The Minister has to appoint from that shortlist. However, the Act states that the Minister should appoint twenty members from the shortlist. Thus, in effect it is not really a shortlist. This is clearly a mistake on the part of the Act.
Ms N Tsheole (ANC) pointed out that the amended Bill dealing with the composition of the Board will not be passed before next week. Since the department realises its mistake and the Bill obviously addresses the Act, a clause could be included in the Bill to address the issue and enable them to rectify it before next week.
Adv. Meyer replied that although this may be legally possible, it may be very problematic. An amendment to the clause may state that a member will now be appointed for less than five years in order to address the current problem. Thus, the new Act could then terminate the membership of the members who are appointed now. The problem that may result is political in nature as members reasonably expect to serve on the Board for five years.
The Chair asked what happens if the Minister is presented with a list of 20 names and merely wishes to choose fifteen of these nominees.
Adv. Meyer stated that if the Minister does so, he would be failing to apply the law. This then becomes a political issue.
The Chair noted that the Cultural Laws Amendment Bill would only be effected after the appointment of the Board. He asked whether it would however not be possible for the Committee to make the selection on the basis of the foreseeable changes that the Bill makes to the Act since the Bill is addressing the shortcomings of the Act.
Adv. Meyer replied that Parliament would not be complying with its own laws and therefore he did not recommend it. As is the case with the previous question by the Chair, the validity of the appointments will be judged on the basis of what the Act says. Whether or not the Bill could validate the appointments requires speculation and there might be much that he could not foresee at that moment.
The Chair asked again whether such a method of selection could be possible if they applied their minds creatively.
Adv Meyer replied that although this may be possible, it was open to legal challenge. If either the Minister or the Committee appoints the members in this manner, they would not be applying the law as it stands. He reiterated that this is not advisable.
Mr M Cassim (IFP) suggested that the Committee invite the Department to assist in the process of selecting the 20 people. This could take the form of an open meeting. Thus when the list is presented to the Minister for consideration, both parties would already have applied their minds and the likelihood that the Minister would then reject the list, is minimal.
Adv Meyer agreed that this is both possible and advisable. The Minister would however still need to get an opinion from the State Law Advisors as to the desirability of this approach.
Department's Legislative Programme
The Legal Advisor from the Department, Mr Beukes, briefed them on upcoming legislation:
National Council of Library and Information Services Bill [B44B-00]
This Bill is ready to be passed. It will be in the National Assembly for its second reading on the 27 February.
Cultural Laws Amendment Bill [B45-00]
This Bill is very important as it amends the South African Archives Act and the Pan South African Language Board Act. It is important for the Department that the amendments are effected as they affect for example the composition of the PANSALB Board.
Cultural Laws Second Amendment Bill [B46-00]
This Bill makes amendments to the Cultural Institutions Act and National Heritage Council Act.
South African Languages Practice Bill
He was unsure of the status of this Bill which needs input from both the Departments of Finance and Public Service & Administration.
Science-related legislation would be certified in this session and would be with the Committee in the second session.
In response to Mr Cassim's request for a legislation timetable, the official replied that they had had no forewarning about this briefing and were therefore ill-prepared. He did note that the Cultural Laws Amendment and Second Amendment Bills are a priority at present.
Committee Programme 2001
The Chair suggested that the Committee and the Department meet in order to discuss the work that has to be done for 2001. The Committee however first needs to do its homework. The Chair made the following suggestions:
Science and Technology
The Umbrella Body of Science Councils has to be invited to explain to the Committee how they work and the way they have been constituted. The industries dealing with science and technology should explain to the Committee the contributions they have made to the social and economic upliftment of the country and what can be done to improve our competitive ability. The Committee should also apply their minds to the role of education in the field of science and technology, with specific emphasis on Mathematics and Physical Science as subjects in learning institutions.
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
The introduction of legislation and the scope of the legislation dealing with this issue should be discussed. The input of public hearings should be taken into account in this regard. Secondly, structures should be put in place in order to deal with this issue.
Arts and Culture
There is a need to transform Performing Arts Councils. R90m has been spent on these councils annually. The Committee has to apply its mind as to how to integrate the marginalised, democratic and traditional Arts and Culture into the mainstream.
This includes museums, monuments and archives. The Department has to attempt to resolve the demographics of flagships. The Committee also has to consider what has to be done in order to encourage patriotism.
Dialogue has to be entered to establish if the issues raised have been attended to.
The Department and the Ministry will meet with the Committee before the third week of March. Thereafter it will therefore be possible to develop a strategic plan for 2001.
Mr Cassim suggested that the Department's five-year strategy, which had been presented to the Committee last year, be incorporated into the Committee's own plans and the suggestions raised by the Chair. The Committee could then be divided into provincial groupings to facilitate work in the various provinces in dealing with these issues.
Ms van Wyk stated that this is a good idea, but suggested that the real and more concrete problems be dealt with first. The Performing Arts representatives should be invited to brief the Committee about their problems and possible solutions. She noted that SARA does not seem to be getting off the ground and expressed regret that projects, which lend the country prestige, are allowed to die. In addition, the libraries, which contribute so greatly to the upliftment of the population, should receive priority. In this regard the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) could be invited to give their input. The Committee has not been informed of the Department's work for a long time. In addition, the language sector of the Department has no acquaintance with the Committee. With regard to Mr Cassim's suggestion regarding provincial groupings, she stated that national monuments should not only be visited by persons dealing with the particular province within which the monument is situated, but by the entire Committee.
Ms S Baloyi (ANC) stated that provincial groupings should include members of the NCOP. She also seconded Mr Cassim's proposal.
The meeting was adjourned.
No related documents
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.