National Qualifications Framework Bill; General & Further Education & Training Quality Assurance Amendment Bill & Higher Education Amendment Bill: Final Mandates & finalisation

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

21 October 2008
Chairperson: Mr B Tolo (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

Final mandates on the National Qualifications Framework Bill [B33-2008] and the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Amendment Bill [B35-2008] were tabled by Members from the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and Western Cape Provincial Legislatures.  The mandates from the Northern Cape Provincial legislature were not submitted to the Committee.  The KwaZulu Natal Provincial Legislature did not confer mandates as the amended Bills were not received for consideration.  The adoption of the Bills was supported by the remaining seven provincial legislatures, with the proviso by the Western Cape that the quorum for the South African Qualifications Authority Board be stipulated in the National Qualifications Framework Bill.  The recommendation by the Western Cape Provincial Legislation was not accepted.

The Committee adopted the National Qualifications Framework Bill (with amendments), the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Amendment Bill (with amendments) and the Higher Education Amendment Bill (without amendments).  The Bills would be debated in the National Assembly during the last week of the current Parliamentary session.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the attendees at the meeting.  He advised that the agenda included the consideration of the final mandates from the provincial legislatures and the finalisation of the three Bills before the Committee.  The Bills were interrelated, with the National Qualifications Framework Bill considered to be the principal Bill and the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Amendment Bill and Higher Education Amendment Bill being consequential Amendment Bills.  He tabled the apologies of the Minister and Director-General of the Department of Education.  The mandate documents were received from eight of the nine provinces.  The mandates from the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature were not received by the Committee.  He advised that drafts of the D-versions of the Bills had not been printed and forwarded to the provinces as decided during the previous meeting held by the Committee.

National Qualifications Framework Bill [B33-2008]
Ms A Qikani (UDM, Eastern Cape) submitted the final mandate from the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Ms F Mazibuko (ANC, Gauteng) submitted the voting mandate from the Free State Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Ms N Madlala-Magubane (ANC, Gauteng) submitted the final mandate from the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Mr K Panday (Member of Provincial Legislature, KwaZulu Natal) advised that a final voting mandate was not conferred by the KwaZulu Natal Legislature as the amended Bill was not received for consideration.  The C-version of the Bill was not received by the Provincial Legislature.

The Chairperson explained that the C-version of the Bill was a list of the proposed amendments and the D-version was the Bill with the amendments incorporated.

Mr Panday advised that neither the C-version nor the D-version were received and the provincial legal advisers recommended that no mandate be conferred for the Bill.

The Chairperson remarked that the same problems were experienced by other Committees.  He explained that the D-version of the Bill can only be produced once the Bill was approved by the Committee.  The D-version can therefore not be sent to the provinces for consideration prior to the Committee meeting at which the Bill was approved.  During the last meeting a compromise was reached whereby the Committee resolved to have a draft of the D-version of the Bill printed and distributed to the provinces.  The resolution was agreed to by the State Law Adviser present at the meeting.  He regretted that the draft D-version was not printed.

Mr M Sulliman (ANC, Northern Cape) asked who was responsible for the printing of the different versions of the Bills.

Ms F Omar (State Law Adviser, Office of the State Law Adviser) explained that the Office of the State Law Adviser was responsible for drafting the document containing the proposed amendments, which was forwarded to the Committee Section.  The Office of the State Law Adviser was not involved in the printing of Bills.

Mr T Setona (ANC, Free State) remarked that the Provincial Legislatures differed in the standing orders and procedures.  He suggested that the problem areas were identified and solutions found to avoid similar problems from occurring in future.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had followed the same process since 2004.  D-versions of the Bills were never sent to the provinces before and mandates were conferred on the basis of the minutes of the relevant Committee meetings and the proposed amendments.  He said that it was unlikely that D-versions of the Bills will in future be forwarded to provinces for purposes of conferring mandates.  If the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature procedures required the D-version of a Bill in order to confer a mandate, he suggested that the provincial procedure was reconsidered.

Mr M Thetjeng (DA, Limpopo) suggested that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) took up the matter with the provinces concerned.  He saw no reason why the C-version of the Bill cannot be used as a working document for purposes of conferring mandates.

The Chairperson agreed that the issue needed to be resolved.

Mr Panday acknowledged the issues raised by the Committee.  He reiterated that no mandate was conferred for the Bill concerned.

Mr E Boshoff (Chief Director: Legal Services, Department of Education) declined to comment on matters related to Parliamentary procedures.

Mr Sulliman reported that the matter was discussed at another meeting at which the Chairperson of the Council of Provinces undertook to take up the issue with the provinces.

Mr Thetjeng submitted the final mandate from the Limpopo Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Ms J Masilo (ANC, North West) submitted the final mandate from the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Ms Masilo submitted the final mandate from the North West Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

The Chairperson noted that the mandates from the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature were not received by the Committee.

Mr Sulliman requested permission to leave the meeting to investigate the whereabouts of the documents.

Ms H Lamoela (DA, Western Cape) submitted the final mandate from the Western Cape Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported with the recommendation that the SAQA Board Quorum Rule of 50% plus one be stipulated in the Bill.

The Chairperson remarked that the meaning of a quorum was generally understood.  He asked the State Law Adviser for her comment on the issue.

Ms Omar replied that the consensus of 50% plus one was generally applicable.

The Chairperson said that the issue was addressed during previous meetings.  He was reluctant to consider further amendments to the Bill at this stage.

Mr Thetjeng agreed that the quorum should be stipulated.  He was not aware of any legislation defining a quorum to mean the consensus of 50% plus one.

Mr Setona felt that the determination of a quorum was the in-house business of the entity concerned and should not be legislated.  The legislative process was too laborious if changes should become necessary.  He suggested that the determination of the quorum was left with SAQA.

Ms Lamoela said that the Western Cape Legislature may have good reason for insisting on the provision.  She undertook to report the Committee’s opinion on the matter to the Legislature.

Mr Sulliman was unable to submit a mandate from the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.

The Chairperson advised that the six mandates supporting the adoption of the Bill were sufficient consensus to proceed.

Mr Boshoff requested that the technical amendments agreed to during the previous meeting were included in the Committee’s formal acceptance of the clauses of the Bill.

The Chairperson read the motion of desirability.  The motion was agreed by the Committee.  The Committee agreed to Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38, without amendments.  Clauses 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 27, 29, 30 and 31 were agreed, with amendments.  The Chairperson read the Committee Report on the Bill.  The Committee agreed to the Bill, with amendments.

General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Amendment Bill [B35-2008]
Ms Qikani submitted the final mandate from the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Mr Setona submitted the voting mandate from the Free State Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Ms Madlala-Magubane submitted the final mandate from the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Mr Panday advised that a final voting mandate was not conferred by the KwaZulu Natal Legislature as the amended Bill was not received for consideration.

Mr Thetjeng submitted the final mandate from the Limpopo Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Ms Masilo submitted the final mandate from the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Ms K Kgarebe (UCDP, North West) submitted the final mandate from the North West Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

Mr Sulliman advised that a final mandate had not been received from the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.

Ms Lamoela submitted the final mandate from the Western Cape Provincial Legislature.  The adoption of the Bill was supported.

The Chairperson noted that seven provinces supported the adoption of the Bill.

The Chairperson read the motion of desirability.  The Committee agreed to the motion.  The provisions of the Bill on pages 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 were agreed, without amendments.  The provisions on page 4 of the Bill were agreed, with amendments.  The Chairperson read the Committee Report on the Bill.  The Committee agreed to the Bill, with amendments.

Higher Education Amendment Bill [B34-2008]
The Chairperson advised that the Bill was a Section 75 Bill and mandates were not required.

Mr Boshoff confirmed that there were no amendments to the Bill.

The Committee agreed to the provisions on pages 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Bill, with no amendments.  The Chairperson read the Committee Report on the Bill.  The Committee agreed to the Bill, with no amendments.

The Chairperson advised that the Bills were scheduled for debate in the National Assembly during the last week of the current Parliamentary session.

Ms Masilo proposed that the Bills were debated.  Mr Setona seconded the proposal.  The Chairperson said that the three Bills would be debated together.

The meeting was adjourned.

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