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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
8 February 2005
COMMITTEE PROGRAMME, BUDGET PLAN AND ANNUAL REPORTS OF ENTITIES: ADOPTION
Chairperson: Mr E Ngcobo (ANC)
Documents handed out
Committee Annual Report, June to December 2004
Committee Programme, January to April 2005
The Committee considered the Committee programme for the first quarter, and reminded Members about their study tours to inspect poverty alleviation projects. Members also proposed other visits. The budget plan was approved and the Committee considered and adopted its 2004 Annual Report. Members also approved the 2004 Annual Reports of Entities, which had already been discussed in 2004. The Chairperson mentioned some training initiatives being considered.
The Chairperson summarised a programme for the first term, noting that some of the planned briefing sessions had to be rescheduled to avoid clashing with Parliament sittings. Rhodes University’s Technical Division had also invited the Committee to view their work on indigenous plants. The Committee had already agreed to meet with a delegation from Sweden to discuss Swedish developments on nuclear waste preservation. Members were required to undertake at least one international and one local study tour per year, and the tours needed thorough planning and sufficient funding. The Programme was adopted without further discussion.
A joint budget had been allocated last year for the Committees for Arts and Culture, and Science and Technology. Arts and Culture had used their allocation although Science and Technology had not, particularly since they had not undertaken any trips. The Committee had a rollover of R381 660 and the Chairperson was disturbed by this amount. He suggested that Members attend a workshop on how to work with budgets. The Committee then adopted the budget plan.
Committee Annual Report
The Chairperson proposed a few grammatical corrections, and asked that references to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) reflect that it was the second version under consideration. The Annual Report was adopted with recommendations.
Annual Report of Entities
All reports included in the Annual Report had already been considered and accepted by Members. The Annual Report was accepted without further discussion.
The Chairperson mentioned other activities including Committee training. Members had also complained about the insufficient time they were given to question presenters. The Chief Whip was aware of this and had promised to ask a Steering Committee to look into this matter.
The Chairperson reported that the Africa Institute of the SA Project, together with the University of Jersey, had suggested that they come and brief the Committee on e-governance and e-democracy.
He asked Members to indicate the type of accredited training they would like to undertake. He mentioned that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) offered a wide training programme and asked a Member of CSIR, to summarise the range of courses on offer.
Mr R Ainslie (ANC) commented that the most important point for the first quarter was the Department’s budget debate in Parliament. He asked when the debate would be taking place.
The Chairperson responded that the dates were not out yet, and said it might be after the State of the Nation Address. He added that study tours and fact finding missions were important to ensure service delivery.
Ms F Mahomed (ANC) commented that preparations for the international tour, should be put in place.
Mr R Ainslie (ANC) and Mr K Khumalo (ANC) commented that it was important to undertake oversight for the projects and added that the projects should be ongoing.
Mr R Ainslie (ANC) queried why Members had not been properly empowered to use the expensive computer systems installed, which he saw as a priority. There was an urgent need to teach other languages to Members.
Mr K Khumalo warned that Members should not be seen to undertake programmes for their personal future development, but should rather select courses that would enhance their Parliamentary work and benefit their constituencies.
The Chairperson reported that some of these issues had been raised during workshops the previous week and agreed that skills were being under-utilised.
The meeting was adjourned.
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