Sihlalo, malungu ahloniphekileyo ...
English: ... fellow South Africans ...
IsiXhosa: ... ndiyanibulisa ngale njikalanga, molweni.
English: The DA supports the need to harmonise the provisions which regulate the operations and governance of the science and innovation public entities through the Amendment Bill in order to strengthen accountability and enhance consistency.
It must be made clear that the DA in Parliament and the DA-led Western Cape government have been heavily involved in the process of strengthening this legislation because we believe that South Africa has neglected the importance of matching its policy commitment to improved education and skills with a dedicated focus on innovation and design to drive job creating economic growth.
The institutions created to promote innovation for growth have not been appropriately co-ordinated, funded or integrated with initiatives in the private sector.
To be a winning nation, South Africa must also be a place where new ideas are generated. This includes ideas to improve the way we deliver services, ideas to connect people to each other and with the information they need to make informed decisions about their lives. It should include ideas for new products that can generate income, ideas to improve the efficiency of processes in both the public and private sector; and ideas to solve our key societal challenges, for example in education, health, housing, social protection and job creation.
However, in order for us to do this effectively as a collective, we have to have a clear definition of what science and innovation means to us as South Africans and what role it should serve in advancing socioeconomic development. Let us not forget, in the past, the science narrative was shaped by a few, leaving the majority behind.
This narrative is now changing and it is at this juncture that we must be very intentional in how we shape the conversations around science and innovation because they influence the kind of initiatives we take on to improve the quality of our lives.
If we do not make a concerted effort to define this narrative, we run the risk of taking on science and innovation initiatives that don't address South Africa's triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
We will look back and ask ourselves, what good did it yield to shout on roof tops Fourth Industrial Revolution and yet, the inequality gaps are still wide and the basic fundamentals are still burning issues hindering the progress of underdeveloped communities? [Applause.]
Therefore, there must be a coordinated effort to develop a value chain that will see science and innovation as an enabler of socioeconomic prosperity rather than a by-the-way elitist space.
ANC Ministers who are out of touch with the harsh realities of our people continually insist on building smart cities, providing tablets to school learners, developing data and artificial intelligence policy's for big business and entrepreneurs. And yet, the reality is, majority of public schools, especially in our rural and township communities, do not have fully functional and equipped science labs, a key component that gives a child the opportunity to practicalise science. [Applause.]
Time and time again, we have heard sweeping statements made about bullet- trains and creating smart cities and yet we sit with an energy and water crisis in our rural and peri-urban communities.
We are talking about developing data and artificial intelligence policies and yet we know all too well that for our scientists, engineers, technopreneurs and student entrepreneurs, the lack of funding remains a stumbling block that hinders research solutions being translated to impactful technology. We also know that access to market for our Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises, SMMEs, thereafter is always a problem and yet the ANC-led government does not make enough noise on these key issues.
If we are truly serious about creating a National System of Innovation, NSI, that is inclusive and advances socioeconomic development, we to have to find way of extending the conversation beyond ourselves. The inability for us to understand the real issues on the ground, on a much deeper level, will have us shooting in the dark and adopting technologies and systems that are not fit for context and will only widen the gap between insiders and outsiders.
Therefore, the DA proposes the following in line with our innovation policy: Science needs to serve us by using it for problem-solving our societal problems such as education, skills development, safety, service delivery, National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, which is a failing entity with their Information and Communications Technology, ICT, there's a huge certification backlog where students can't get their certificates, student housing and community development.
We, however, commend the good work done by the Department of Science And Innovation even with their stringent budget; however, we do believe that the merger of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation can use science as a tool to solve societal problems rather than to be seen as elitist spares.
The boy who harnessed the wind is a true reflection of how we can contextualise science and channel it for the purpose of socioeconomic development. I thank you so much. [Applause.]
Hon Ntshayisa, I just want to inform you, this is a debate and if you don't speak before the official opposition, in as far as our conversions are set, you cannot speak now. So, I'm sorry, you were not in the House and we proceeded. Thank you.
Ms N T MKHATSHWA The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)
Hon Chairperson, hon deputy president, hon members of the House, and to the many of South Africans watching from home.
As we enter into this new decode, we must emphasize the role of science and innovation in our society.
From 4 to 7 February 2020, the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology visited the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, in Pretoria. This was the first visit conducted by the committee to the CSIR. The thirst of members to see in reality the research, development and innovation projects that the deportment and its entities report on in Parliament, has finally, to some extent, been quenched.
I am tempted to say that every single member of this portfolio committee was excited by the work being done by the CSIR. And perhaps those that failed to see how young people are being included in the projects that are taking place in science may join us on our next oversight visit, hon Chairperson of the committee.
Hon members, at the CSIR we witnessed research, development and innovation that is aligned to the objective of having science and innovation that contributes to on improved quality of life for all communities in South Africa.
At the CSIR we viewed Umbiflow. The Umbiflow is a low-cost ultrasound device used to assess fetus health. The Umbiflow empowers nursing sisters, midwives and general practitioners in mobile, rural and low-resourced primary health core settings. It has gone beyond our borders to be further studied in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and India. Such innovations assist communities in ensuring successful births and therefore, reducing infant mortality.
We also viewed the Biomanufacturing Industry Support Initiative, BIDC, which provides technical product and process development support to Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises with the aim of creating and expanding biomanufacturing activity and associated job creation. Many of the products that have been supported by the BIDC derive from Indigenous Knowledge Systems. As I share this with members, I cannot help but say, this is a good story to tell.
Hon members, these are but a few initiatives in only one of the eight entities of the deportment. So, you can only imagine the many other good projects that are taking place across all the other entities. Notwithstanding, of course, the challenges present. And yes, we could choose to succumb to the many difficult protracted problems that confront us, or we can choose to confront them with resolve, determination and action; as said by the President.
These research, development and innovation projects are testament to our aims as a government to increase the wellbeing and prosperity of society through science, technology and innovation. Science and innovation remains a pivotal port of our democracy and requires a long term dedicated support.
This one is for you, hon Boshoff.
Hon members, we must continue our efforts to ensure that the space is intersectional and geographically accessible to all.
Whilst we see the increased inclusion of women in the boards of various entities we must continue to strive for the overall increase of women in the entire composition of the department and its entities.
The President calls on young people and students to lead the skills revolution, and to be the champions of innovation. Therefore, we must ensure increased inclusion of young people from all ends of our country. It must never be that those that are located in institutions with geographic proximity to the campuses of entities be the only ones who gain the most opportunities. The entities must be accessible to, in particular those historically marginalized from such opportunities, hon Boshoff.
We must continue to work at strengthening our strategies to fund the people's research, to aid the development of the people's research and to train the people to innovate!
Hon members, no matter how great our research may be, it will never see the light of day without a solid base of governance and management. This Bill aims to ensure that the highest governance principles and procedures are applied across all entities; it aims to harmonise the processes for the termination from membership of boards or councils; to clarify the requirements for the disqualification of persons from membership of boards or councils; and to provide for the appointment of external persons to committees of boards or councils. We must support it!
We must support it in ensuring that the bionetwork of science and innovation in this country is aided to fulfil our collective objectives and all the programmes of this department.
This Amendment Bill is testament to the ANC's commitment to improving the capacity of the state through its entities to meet its obligation to citizens in the areas of economic growth, job creation, social programmes and dealing with crime and corruption.
To echo the sentiments of the President, each and every one of us have a task to hold those in places of responsibility accountable. This Amendment Bill will assist us as an ANC-led government to increase our vigilance in screening those we put in boards and ensuring that they meet the highest standards of ethics, morality and service to the people. Those appointed must serve the people with distinction. And, where they fail, we will, and we must ensure that there are consequences/
Through this Amendment Bill, we again, echo the sentiments of the President, that we must ensure the restoration of public institutions to a higher standard of accountability and service.
IsiZulu: 15:02:19 Ma-Afrika amahle ...
English: ... let us push bock on the negativity at every turn. We have to show that the inches are all around us and we're actively seeking them out.
Through this Amendment Bill we must decisively alienate those that seek to regress the gains of our democracy.
Hon Nodada, I don't know how this Bill is elitist; I don't know how this sector is elitist; when we, ourselves, have seen how indigenous knowledge systems are being formalized, are being made sure that they can be used for commercialisation through the BIDC that you, yourself, were present at during oversight. [Applause.]
Hon Ngcobo of the IFP ...
IsiZulu: 15:03:13 ... ama-tuckshops, kanjani ukuthi amabhodi ezinhlangano zikahulumeni zibe ama-tuckshops ...
English: ... when we saw the amazing work at CSIR? Where we saw how ...
IsiZulu: 15:03:22 ... omama ezindaweni zasemakhaya ...
English: ... are going to be able to be assisted through the Umbiflow ...
IsiZulu: 15:03:26 ... kanjani ibe i-tuckshop? I-tuckshop ayiyenzi leyonto.
English: We must never allow ourselves to get to a point where young people stop dreaming. We must never allow ourselves to get to a point where we forget what has happened to this country and how we need to continuously work to ensuring that there is representation in all spaces of this government.
The ANC moves in support of the Science and Innovation Amendment Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Ms N MKHATSHWA
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: House Chair, let me take this opportunity to thank hon Chair Mapulane, the members of the portfolio committee and all the parties and members who supported this piece of legislation; we say thank you to you, this is a foundation to build on the achievements that we have made.
Hon Paulsen, sometimes ... well not sometimes ... there's this wonderful saying "silence is golden". When you don't know what you say, the best thing to do is to simply shut up [Laughter.] because ...
Hon House Chair, firstly, that's not parliamentary language to tell me to shut up [Interjections.] that tsotsi [thug] must withdraw that, that tokolosh must withdraw that.
Secondly, that Minister ...
Hon member, that's not a point of order. I'm going to switch off your mic. You must raise a point of order and you haven't.
Hon member, that's not a point of order. Sit down, please sit down.
Okay, I'm asking the Minister to withdraw that unparliamentary word ...
Hon member, please sit down; you wasted time. I'm going to switch off your mic.
Continue, hon Minister.
IsiZulu: 15:05:37 UNGQONGQOSHE WEZEMFUNDO EPHAKEME, EZESAYENSI NEZOBUCHWEPHESHE: Ngesintu kuthiwa uma ungazi ukuthi uzothini ubohlala phansi uthule.
Chairperson, on a point of order. Rule 82, on the reference to a member in respectful terms. Member must refer to another member in respectful terms, and you cannot then say 'shut up' like the Minister. So, I don't think there was any respect in that, Chairperson. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, I'm rising on Rule 85, reflection upon members. The Minister can't say 'shut up' to a member, please withdraw that. And you have only two minutes, Minister; otherwise you're not going to speak. [Interjections.]
Hon member, you said your point of order and I'm going to take it, but now you say something else, that's wrong.
Hon Minister, as you continue let us be reminded that the word 'shut up' has been ruled unparliamentary; can you withdraw that as you continue.
IsiZulu: 15:06:53 UNGQONGQOSHE WEZEMFUNDO EPHAKEME, EZESAYENSI NEZOBUCHWEPHESHE: Ngiyaxolisa Sihlalo weNdlu.
USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk M G Boroto): Siyabonga. Qhubeka baba.
English: The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Hon Boshoff, I think that ... you know very well, the skills shortages that you're talking about it's a direct result of apartheid; that crime against humanity. Redress based on affirmative action, amongst other things, is a necessary condition to actually address the skills shortages that were created by shutting out the majority of South Africans in having these necessary skills that we need, amongst others in science and technology. [Applause.]
In fact, if there is one of the most serious crimes of apartheid was the denial of access to education and skills by the majority of the people. In fact, we should, and yourself, be learning from the history of the Afrikaners; with the policy of addressing the poor whites was actually aimed at uplifting poor Afrikaners in the past and there is nothing new that we are doing, except we are doing it for the majority rather than for the minority as it was done under apartheid. [Applause.]
I want also to say that this is an important platform for us to continue to make sure that science, technology and innovation are harnessed and are accessible to the majority of the South Africans. Siyabonga [Thank you].
Bill read a second time.
THIRD ORDER /KG\ VW// (Zul) 27/02/2020 @ 09:33 / ND/Xho / TAKE ENDS AT 15:08