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 ...