The Committee went through the rest of the Skills Development Amendment Bill. A revised version of the proposed amendments was prepared and handed out. The Committee went through the revised final amendments and then adopted the Bill with these amendments.
Mr Sam Morotoba, Skills Development Senior Executive Manager: DOL, continued to go through the clauses and the proposed amendments with the Committee.
Clause 14 amending Section 36 of the principal Act
Mr Morotoba said that they proposed an amendment to Section 36 of the principal Act. Section 36 provided a list of regulations that the Minister could make after consultation with the National Skills Authority. Insertions were made to (rA) which referred to matters of apprenticeships and (rB) which referred to the establishment and function of the provincial skills development forums.
Ms Kasienyane asked whether the skills development forum previously existed.
Mr Morotoba replied that they existed but there was no legal frame. Currently, they operated on the basis of a standard operating provincial document that had no legal status.
Clause 16 Insertion of Schedules 2A, 3 and 4 of the principal Act
Mr Morotoba explained that the new Schedule 2A dealt with transitional provisions that provided a means for how processes would function before the institution of this Bill. He briefly summarized what Schedule 2A dealt with and any proposed amendments to this Schedule. Item 1 of Schedule 2A made provision for the insertion of an additional number of definitions that were currently in the SAQA Act. Item 2 made provision for apprenticeship contracts that were currently in force under the Manpower Training Act to remain in force, allowing them to have a smooth transition into this Amendment Act. It also made provision for the regulations that existed under the repealed Manpower Training Act to ensure that apprenticeship disputes that were dealt with under the Manpower Training Act, were aligned with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Therefore, any employment disputes would be handled in accordance with labour relations provisions and trade unions could also represent learners as part of the mainstream.
He spoke about the conversion of apprenticeship contracts in force at the commencement of the amended Act in Item 3. Provision was made around how the current Act remained and basically maintained the determination of the role of the employer and provider of the current contract.
Item 4 dealt with the trades listed in Section 13(1) of the Manpower Training Act that would now be deemed to be listed in terms of Section 26B(a) of the Skills Development Act. He added that one did not want with the repeal of the Manpower Training Act, to throw out all the trades. This provision ensured a smooth transition.
Mr Morotoba said that Item 5 made provision for the coming operation of the QCTO so that there would be a smooth transition between the SETA that was currently accredited by SAQA as an EQTA. That accreditation will remain until the QCTO was able to take the full responsibility. For the providers who had full accreditation status, that accreditation would also remain in force because it was issued under the SAQA Act until such time that it lapsed or when the QCTO had a formal system to take over.
The Chairperson said that the proposed changes were accepted.
Mr Morotoba said that he had already addressed Schedule 3 when he addressed the establishment of the QCTO and the same applied to Schedule 4.
Clause 17 amending Section 65 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
Mr Morotoba said that the only remaining clause was Clause 17 that was a consequential amendment to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. He noted that Section 65 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act made reference to the repealed Manpower Training Act of 1981. The transfer of those functions to the Skills Development Act, made the amendment necessary. To avoid a situation where one would have to wait until there was a review of the Basic Conditions of Employment to implement this minor amendment, it had been included here to make sure that the cross referencing was correct.
One would not want a learner to be in trouble in terms of a dispute at work and when they approached the CCMA, to be told that their conditions of employment was dealt with under the Manpower Training Act but that that Act had been repealed.
Mr Morotoba added that reference to the Guidance and Placement Act of 1981 would also be removed from the Basic Conditions of Employment Act as that Act had been repealed.
Ms Kasienyane asked whether that clause was accepted but a member asked if it was illegal for an employer to keep records at home with reference to Section 65(1)(a).
Mr Morotoba replied that there was a provision in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act that empowers inspectors to enter any workplace and demand records such as UIF records. The difficulty lay in that there were businesses that operated from home and inspectors had complained that they were told that it was private property. He did not think that it was illegal but would confirm with colleagues. He used the example of inspectors going to companies for records but were told those records were kept at their homes for fear of theft or break-ins. He also could not recall a case where employees were taken to court for keeping records at home.
The Committee accepted Clause 17.
Final amendments as proposed to the Portfolio Committee on Labour
When the meeting reconvened, the Chairperson drew members’ attention to the new document before them which was the finalised Portfolio Committee Amendments to Skills Development Amendment Bill (As proposed to the Portfolio Committee on Labour). She asked the State Law Advisor to go through the list of amendments that reflected changes to the previous draft document.
Ms Koliswa Mdludlu, State Law Advisor, said that she would go through the amendments that were proposed by the department. She read through the proposed amendments to Clause 1 (see document).
The Chairperson asked members if they agreed to the changes before moving to the next clause. She proceeded in this manner after each clause.
Mr Mzondeki asked whether something should not be mentioned about human resources in Clause 1.
Mr Morotoba responded to Mr Mzondeki’s question and referred him to the definition of “placement” in Clause 1 and said that “placement means placing an individual in a placement opportunity with due regard (with due regard was underlined) to the Code of Good Practice in terms of the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act no.55 of 1998)”. This dealt with the integration of employment equity into human resources policies and practices.
Ms Mdludlu read out the changes to Clause 4 (see document).
Ms Mdludlu read out the changes to Clause 11 (see document).
Ms Mdludlu said that in clause 11 page 9 line 38, to omit “as prescribed” and to substitute:” in accordance with the prescribed requirements”. On page 10 line 8, “framework” had to be omitted and substituted with “sub-framework”. From line 22, a new paragraph was inserted regarding the finance of the QCTO.
Ms Mdludlu read out the changes to Clause 13 (see document).
On page 13, line 8, the wording “an investment policy approved by the Director-General that complies with the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act” had to be underlined. The wording was in the Bill.
Ms Mdludlu read out the changes to Clause 16 (see document).
On page 14, line 49 the words “section 26” had to be omitted and substituted with “section 26B(a)”. Then on page 15 from line 2, item six had to omitted and substituted with the new paragraphs as stipulated in the handout.
Ms Kasienyane said that the informal stage was done and that they would now proceed with the formal stage.
Voting on the Bill
Ms Kasienyane proceeded to read the long title of the Bill. She requested an adoption of the motion. It was adopted by Mr Nene and seconded by Ms Dreyer.
She then proceeded from clause 1 until clause 20 (which was the short title) and all members agreed on the amendments. The Bill was adopted by Mr Mkongi and seconded by Ms Dreyer. Ms Kasienyane then submitted the Bill with amendments as a Section 75 Bill and it was adopted by Mr Mkongi and seconded by Ms Dreyer.
Thereafter, Ms Kasienyane thanked the committee members, Ms Mdludlu, the committee secretary, legal advisors, Mr Morotoba and PMG.
The meeting was adjourned.
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