Second reading debate on Higher Education and Training Laws Amendment Bill by Mr Ishmael Malale, ANC MP

30 October 2012

The Committee processed the bill refers to this house by the department with the active and constructive participation of all political parties and interested and affected stakeholders during public hearings. This bill empowers the Minister to issue directives to Organs of institutional governance such as the Principal or council for the remediation of any financial impropriety or such other mismanagement, including unfair or discrimination practices out of sync with legality.

If a Council becomes belligerent as regards ministerial directives, the Minister is enjoined to dissolve the affected council and appoint an administrator for take over the function of the Board of the National Institute of Higher education or university council for a period that may be extended for a further six months after the expiration of the initial tenure of two years. The remuneration and allowances of the administrator or any of his or assistants will be determined with the ratification of the Minister of Finance.

In this connection, this Bill prohibit members of council that are complicit in illegality to be reappointed as a university council member. The drastic step of dissolution can only take place after a council had been given ample opportunity to make representation in line with the principles enunciated in the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act of 2000.

The Bill further seeks to extend the powers of an Independent Assessor to enable him to direct witness to adduce evidence under oath or affirmation, enter premises or require copies of any documentation required for purposes of the investigation. This Bill also put a legal duty ON THE Independent Assessor to afford an opportunity to refute allegation by any person adversely affected by the Independent Assessor`s investigatory report. No person may disclose any evidentiary material in the hands of the Independent assessor during the investigation without his or her consent.

The bill further empowers the minister to establish or disestablish a national Institute for Higher Education. The Minister ought to determine the particulars of establishment in a government gazette. A majority of persons constituting the Institute must have specific knowledge and experience in higher education and general knowledge relating to the scope and application of the institute apparent from the notice of establishment.

This bill also amends the National Qualifications Framework Act in order to alight reporting of annual reports of the South African Qualification Authority for auditing purposes with the PFMA as amended.

The ANC, AZAPO, COPE, INKATHA Freedom Party supported the Bill except DA whose reluctance is based on its obstructionist political philosophy. I move that the house adopt this bill with the amendments effected by the Committee.