The Committee adopted, with amendments, the National Qualifications Framework Bill. Similarly, the two amendment bills amending the Higher Education Act and the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act were adopted, with amendments.
Proposed Amendments to NQF Bill
Mr R Van den Heever (ANC) recapped on all the proposed amendments to the NQF Bill. (See Proposed Amendment to NQF Bill). Notably, he indicated that the Federation of Unions of South Africa’s (FEDUSA) appeal for organised labour to be represented on the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) board had been catered for in clause 15. The reworded clause provided that at least two members (of the board) must be appointed from the nominations made by organised labour.
Mr Duncan Hindle, Director-General: Department of Education, noted that one of the amendments sought to delete cause 8 and incorporate it under the existing clause 9 –where it would substitute subclause 9 (3). He accepted the amalgamation but advised that the new subclause 9 (3)(c) be omitted because it was “linguistically difficult and conceptually unnecessary”. In addition, he reasoned that the exclusion of this clause would not have any impact because there were sufficient imperatives in the Constitution to ensure that Ministers cooperated with one another.
The Committee accepted the recommendation.
Ms D Van der Walt (DA) contended that the Minister should be compelled to appoint board members from each of the sectors listed in subclause 15(4).
The Chairperson replied that such a stipulation would create complications if one of the listed sectors did not submit a nomination.
Mr Hindle clarified that while the nominations must be drawn from certain sectors, this did not prevent anybody else from submitting nominations once the process had been gazetted. He added that the existing clause 15(3)(b)(i) ensured that all of the six sectors would be represented on the board.
Ms Van Der Walt disputed the assertion that the aforementioned clause guaranteed representation for all the sectors.
Mr Eben Boshoff, Legal Advisor: DoE, explained that if a specific constituency did not make a nomination, they cannot be forced to do so. The implication of such a case would mean that the Minister could not appoint a board.
Mr G Boinamo (DA) indicated that his colleague’s recommendation was aimed at ensuring that all the role-players were represented on the board. He added that an impression should not be created that nominations could be received from sectors that were not listed.
Mr Van der Heever agreed with the explanations provided by the Department.
The Chairperson found it telling that during the public hearings, not a single submission had raised this matter. He stressed that all the amendments had attempted to accommodate the requests of the different organisations.
Voting on the Bills
The Chairperson guided the Committee through each clause in the Bill. Clauses 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 29, 32 and 36 were agreed to, with amendments. The remaining clauses were accepted without amendments.
Members endorsed the motion of desirability without any dissent.
General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Amendment Bill
The ANC introduced a minor technical amendment to clause 14. It pointed out that that reference to “1998” was incorrect, and should be replaced with “2006”.
The Committee endorsed this proposal.
The Committee considered each clause and adopted the Bill with amendment.
The motion of desirability was read out and unanimously adopted by Members.
Higher Education Amendment Bill
Members reflected on each clause, and adopted the Bill with amendments.
The Chairperson recited the motion of desirability, which was supported by Members.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their cooperation. He indicated that he would notify the House that the suite of Bills were unanimously agreed to.
The meeting was adjourned.
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