Council Innovation, Leadership and Learning Academy Training Project: discussion

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Meeting report

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
30 May 2006
COUNCIL INNOVATION, LEADERSHIP AND LEARNING ACADEMY TRAINING PROJECT: DISCUSSION

Chairperson:
Mr E Ncgobo (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Draft Minutes of the meeting held on 23 May 2006
Letter from House Chairperson: Committees, on the functioning of Committees.
Process and Review Legislation
[please email
docs@pmg.org.za for documents]

SUMMARY

The Committee discussed the Council Innovation, Leadership and Learning Academy programme and the reasons for delays in starting it. It also dealt with overseas visits, its programme and the functioning of Committees.

MINUTES
The Chairperson stated that the Committee had lost three Members and were in the process of gaining three new Members. He noted that there had been two apologies. The meeting did not have a quorum and so the other items on the agenda would be skipped. He mentioned that he had gotten a message from the office of the Chief Whip that they were trying to allocate new Members to the Committee. The Committee had been "starved" of women and hopefully they would get more of them.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Council Innovation, Leadership and Learning Academy (CILLA) programme had been submitted already last year. It would be better if he liased directly because there seemed to be no movement. Mr Deutsche had mentioned to the Chairperson that it had been approved pending the parliamentary priorities at the time which happened to be the local government elections. It seemed that the Secretary had then taken this to Mr Nyikane who had been in charge of the training programme. Mr Nyikane had then said there was nothing that he could do if it had not yet been signed by Mr Deutsche who had been approached already by the Chairperson and had agreed that the programme was worthwhile, but the issue had been the timing.

The Chairperson had also met the team of Professors at a workshop in Pretoria, who would be teaching the programme. They had also indicated that they were ready and were just waiting to be given the dates. The CILLA programme had to be followed up with the office of Mr Deutsche.

The Chairperson stated that if there were any comments then they should be made so that they could move to the next item. There were no comments and the Chairperson moved to item 6. Notices had been circulated by the Chairperson of what new procedures had been put in place in terms of traveling and the functioning of Committee. There were no deliberations on this and they moved to item 7, the Budget review.

The budget debate had gone very well. The Committee had received compliments even from the DA. Many had hailed the Committee as one of the best. There had been text messages sent to the Chairperson even from the former Director-General of Science & Technology. People complimented the Chairperson even at the airport.

Discussion
Mr J Blanche (DA) stated that he had raised the issue of technology before. People needed to be skilled in this. Recently at a hospital, people did not know how to switch on a generator and this had resulted in a loss of life.

The Chairperson mentioned that he had raised the point that they needed to make people technologically advanced. He had asked where big institutions were. He had also raised it in his budget speech that we needed to build a technologically advanced population that is going to be able to bridge the divide between information and knowledge.

The Management Committee had felt that the trip to Japan should be cancelled at this stage and proper communication be forwarded by the Committee. They had to decide what it was that they wanted to see and achieve in Japan. The Swedish trip had to be reviewed. Very little had been said about Iran. It was however a highly technological country. Tehran alone had about 10 universities. They had their own cars and a very advanced textile industry. They had a pipeline that the Russians had been building that would be feeding the whole of Europe. Their market was booming.

Mr S Dithebe (ANC) stated that the Committee should design its own programme instead of getting invitations. He was however not saying that such invitations should not be considered at some stage.

Mr Blanche mentioned that he had been worried about the labour content going into systems of communication. He felt the Committee should gain an understanding of this technology.

Prof I Mohammed (ANC) was interested in Iran because of what they had been doing in nuclear energy. It would be interesting to see what they had been doing in this regard, he said.

The Chairperson stated that a visiting speaker had been found and this would be Prof Tobias.

Prof Mohammed knew Prof Tobias. What would he be speaking about to the Committee?

The Chairperson responded that he would tell the Committee about his book. Maybe he could talk about things relevant to the Committee and then touch on his book.

Mr Dithebe stated that particular issues to be dealt with should be deliberated upon. The Committee had to narrow down what he would talk about. He was interested in his work on human nature, particularly the meteorite that might have other explanations of origin.

Prof Mohammed stated that perhaps Prof Tobias should be written to and asked what he wanted to talk about.

Ms B Ngcobo (ANC) mentioned that he should speak on matters the Committee could interrogate him on.

The Chairperson stated that another interesting issue was that of Science and Religion and Prof Ellis should be invited some day.

Prof Mohammed stated that Prof Ellis had been invited before, but the former Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Ms Naledi Pandor had said afterwards that it had been a disaster. He had talked on a level that was higher than normal.

Mr Dithebe mentioned that interest should be taken in the Maropeng Project (The Craddle of Humankind).

Mr M Bhengu (IFP) stated that Ubhejane had been produced and used in Kwazulu-Natal. People had apparently been helped by this muti and many were still flocking to the producer of this. It was important for the Committee to be briefed by Zeblon Gwala, the producer of the medicine said to be helping HIV/AIDS patients. Patients who were helped by the medicine could brief the Committee if they were willing to disclose their status. Zeblon Gwala had been excited about the idea of presenting to the Committee. Mr Bhengu would also speak to Professor Vilakazi who had also been involved with Gwala.

Prof Mohammed stated that he would also like to see conventional people who had been critical of the medicine. He wanted to hear the opinion of expert people.

Ms Ngcobo stated that she agreed with Prof Mohammed. Had there been evidence that the virus had disappeared or was this just a booster?

The Committee moved to adopt previous minutes as more Members came in to help reach a quorum. The minutes of the 19th and 23rd May were adopted with necessary corrections.

Mr Bhengu stated that the idea should be to hear things from the horse's mouth and not from newspapers and that is why he had been of the view that Zeblon Gwala should come to Parliament.

The Chairperson stated that they should get Drs Tucker and Nehru and hear what they had to say about Ubhejane.

The meeting adjourned.

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