Human Sciences Research Council Bill [B16B-2007]; Astronomy Geographic Advantage Bill [B17B-2007]: adoption

Science and Technology

21 November 2007
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

21 November 2007

Chairperson: Mr G Oliphant (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Human Sciences Research Council Bill [B 16B-2007]
Astronomy Geographic Advantage Bill [B 17B-2007]
Select Committee Amendments to Human Sciences Research Council Bill
Select Committee Amendments to Astronomy Geographic Advantage Bill
Committee Programme for 2008
Committee Annual Report
Committee Report on Department of Science and Technology Annual Report
Committee Report on its oversight visit on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)
[available at Committee Reports once published]

Audio recording of meeting


The Committee rejected all the National Council of Provinces’ amendments as proposed by the Select Committee on Education and Recreation for the Human Sciences Research Council Bill. It approved all the NCOP amendments proposed for the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Bill.

The Committee discussed its draft programme for 2008 and adopted it with amendments. It decided to approve the three committee reports in 2008.

Committee Programme for 2008

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee conduct oversight visits to some of the Science Councils in Pretoria during the third week of January 2008.

Mr A Ainslie (ANC) mentioned that the Minister of Science and Technology had failed to meet with the Committee as planned, and proposed that they met with him early in 2008.

The Chairperson confirmed that the Minister had not been in the country on that date, and that a meeting should be arranged at the earliest opportunity.

Mr J Blanche (DA) asked if the issue of global warming and its impact would be added to the committee programme.

The Chairperson acknowledged that the member had raised this point consistently. He told him that several experts had been invited to make presentations to the Committee.

Mr Blanche commented that the HSRC and similar institutions should be instructed to carry out research on development, town planning and transport congestion.

The Chairperson agreed with this proposition but emphasised that “there was a need to find the correct coordinating mechanism to get this done”.

In conclusion, the Chairperson pronounced that the Committee should accept the draft programme with amendments. Any additions would be inserted into the programme and be distributed to the Members before parliament went on recess.

The Committee agreed with this suggestion.

Human Sciences Research Council Bill: adoption
The Chairperson explained that this was a Section 75 Bill and consequently, this Committee had the final authority to accept or reject any of the National Council of Provinces proposed amendments to the Bill.

Mr Oliphant stipulated the position of the Committee regarding the appointment of the HSRC Board which should be done “in consultation” with the National Assembly. This was in contradiction with the NCOP that had favoured the “after consultation” route.

In light of this, the Chairperson advised that the Committee reject all the amendments proposed by the NCOP.

The Committee unanimously endorsed the Chairperson’s recommendation, and accepted the Bill without the NCOP amendments.

Astronomy Geographic Advantage Bill: adoption
The Chairperson indicated that this was also a Section 75 Bill and subject to the same principle articulated earlier.

He voiced satisfaction that the amendments proposed by the NCOP were progressive, and suggested that they be accepted.

The Committee supported this view, and accepted the Bill with the NCOP amendments.

Committee Annual Report, Committee Report on Department of Science and Technology Annual Report, Committee Report on oversight visit on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)
The Chairperson stated that it would be unfair to expect Members to adopt these reports without having had the opportunity to read the documents in full. He recommended that the Committee delay adoption of these reports until early 2008 and this was agreed to.

Concluding Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson wished all Members of the Committee a happy and enjoyable festive season. He pointed out that ANC members would still be hard at work preparing for the ANC conference, and could only think about relaxing thereafter.

The meeting was adjourned.



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