Science and Technology Laws Bill Tabled

Department of Science and Technology

The Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.

The bill’s explanatory summary was published in Government Gazette 41704 in June 2018.

The bill seeks to amend a raft of acts including the Scientific Research Council Act of 1988, the Academy of Science of South Africa Act of 2001, the Human Sciences Research Act of 2008, the Technology Innovation Agency Act of 2008 and the South African National Space Agency Act of 2008.

One problem that the bill seeks to address is inconsistent, inadequate and uncoordinated management of public entities reporting to the science and technology minister.

Some of the objectives of the bill are to, among others, harmonise the processes for the determination of the remuneration and allowances of the members of the Boards or Councils and members of the committees of the Boards or Councils, and the termination of membership of Boards or Councils of the entities, as well as the disqualification of members or potential members from the membership of Boards or Councils; processes for the appointment of Chief Executive Officers of the entities as well as the secondment of employees of the entities and the determination of the conditions of appointment or secondment of such employees; and provisions relating to the written delegation of powers by the Boards or Councils of the entities to individual members or committees of the Boards or Councils.

The bill further seeks to:

•    Harmonise the processes for the termination of the membership of Boards or Councils of the entities established by these Acts;
•    clarify the requirements for the disqualification of persons from membership of Boards or Councils;
•    provide for the appointment of external persons to committees of Boards or Councils;
•    provide for the determination of the remuneration and allowances of members of the Boards or Councils and committees of the Boards or Councils;
•    provide for consultation with the Minister in the appointment of the Chief Executive Officers of the entities;
•    provide for the limitation of the term of office of the Chief Executive Officers of the entities;
•    provide for the determination by the Boards or Councils of the procedures at Boards or Councils meetings;
•    provide for the procedure for the convening of the Boards or Councils meetings at the request of members of the Boards or Councils;
•    provide for disclosure by members of the Boards or Councils of interests in the business of the entities and to harmonise the timeframes for making such disclosures to the Minister;
•    provide for the circumstances where members of Boards or Councils are prohibited from participating or voting in Boards or Councils meetings;
•    provide for the circumstances where the decisions or acts authorised by the decisions of Boards or Councils may not be invalidated;
•    provide for the appointment and secondment of employees of the entities by the Chief Executive Officers and the determination of the conditions of appointment and secondment of employees by the Boards or Councils;
•    provide for the repeal of sections dealing with matters that are contained in the Public Finance Management Act, 1999;
•    provide for the circumstances under which the entities may be liquidated;
•    provide for consultation by the Minister with the Boards or Councils of the entities before making regulations in terms of these Acts;
•    provide for the delegation of functions in writing by the Boards or Councils of the entities to individual members or committees of Boards or Councils;
•    provide for the requirements for the performance of functions by the entities outside the Republic; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

The portfolio committee on science and technology will process the bill.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

Related legislation: