The Committee went through proposed amendments on the Bill. The Committee adopted the Bill with amendments. The IFP, DA and IFP abstained from voting.
Documents handed out
Proposed Portfolio Committee amendments
The Chairperson said that the Committee was expected to finalise the Bill on that day so that it could be debated in Parliament on Thursday, 03 November 2005. The ATC provided that it was a section 75 Bill and would therefore have to go to the NCOP. The Chairperson took the Committee through the Bill clause by clause. Adv. H Sangoni (State Law Advisor) and Mr M Motsapi, (Department Director: Legal Services) attended the meeting.
Clause 3 Objects of Council
in addition to the amendments in the document, the Committee made a further amendment to the clause. The words "of South Africa" were added after the word 'Republic' in paragraph (c).
Clause 6 Disqualification from membership
The Committee amended Clause 6(c) to read "is not a South African citizen and ordinarily resident in the Republic" and paragraph (h) to read "has had his or her membership terminated by the Minister".
Clause 15 Other Committees
Some amendments had been proposed but the Committee felt that they were unnecessary. It adopted the clause without amendments.
Clause 16 Remuneration of members of Council and Committees
The Chairperson stated the argument was that Clause 16(2) should apply to people who did not get any remuneration from the Department of Health. Time taken to attend to the business of the Council should not be deducted from a person's annual leave.
Mr Motsapi said that the Committee should guard against making extra payment to people who were already in the public service. He proposed that people should be assisted with travelling and accommodation allowance. The Department should pay the expenses of its employees.
Dr Rabinowitz said that no time spent on service of Council should be deducted from leave days.
Ms M Manana (ANC) asked if people would be paid subsistence allowances.
The Chairperson responded that they would receive subsistence allowances from their employer. He wondered if a nurse who had to attend to the Council's business would receive a subsistence allowance.
Ms N Nkabinde (UDM) thought the provincial Department should pay such allowances.
Ms T Manganye, Department Deputy-Director: Professional Liaison, said that the practise was that the allowance was paid by the Council.
The Committee amended clause 16 (2) to read as follows:
(b)any other remuneration not referred to in (a) must be paid by the Council.
(c) any member who is subject to the Laws of the Public Service must be entitled to a special leave to attend to the functions of the Council.
Clause 40 Community service
The said that a person who was not a South African citizen had to do community service before being registered to practise. It was suggested that people who had performed similar service elsewhere should not be required to do community service in South Africa.
Ms Manganye said that the policy was that community service was only for South Africans. The Department was of the view that the objectives of community service in another country, might be different from South Africa’s objective. Professionals from outside South Africa, registering for the first time, would have to work in public service and do community work.
Ms Nkabinde asked if there was a specific period attached to the community service.
Ms Manganye replied that the Department had initially thought that community service should be done for a period of five years. It had since changed its mind and was considering reducing the period to three years.
Dr Rabinowitz said that she would oppose the clause because it would shut the doors for foreign professionals. They would be trapped in public service and would have to write exams before being allowed to practice as nurses.
The Chairperson said that there were certain prescriptions that regulated foreigners before they could be allowed to practice. This was standard practice. He gave examples of ANC members who had been trained elsewhere. They were also expected to comply with the laws of the country. The Bill was not providing for anything new. Nurses should prove that they were qualified by working in the public.
The Committee retained Clause 40(1) without amendment.
Dr R Rabinowitz (IFP) abstained from voting.
Clause 56 Special provisions relating to certain nurses
Dr Rabinowitz said that Clause 56 was confusing. The Bill did not provide a definition of "primary health" and Clause 56 was arbitrary. Nurses and doctors were confused about it. The clause did not provide sufficient clarity as to what training nurses would receive.
The Chairperson said that the Committee of the view that the clause was empowering nurses.
Dr Rabinowitz said that she would abstain from voting on this clause until she was clear about the provisions.
The Committee agreed to Clause 56. Dr Rabinowitz abstained.
The Committee adopted the Bill with amendments.
Ms C Dudley (ACDP) abstained because she was did not know what had been changed in the Bill. She had not been to most of the Committee meetings.
Ms Barnard also abstained. She would to take the Bill to her caucus for further discussion.
The Committee reported the Bill with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.