Minister Nzimande welcomes the National Assembly approval of the Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill

Parliament- The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande welcomes the National Assembly (NA) passing of the Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill.

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Scientific Research Council Act, 1988, the Academy of Science of South Africa Act, 2001, the Human Sciences Research Council Act, 2008, the Technology Innovation Agency Act, 2008, and the South African National Space Agency Act, 2008, in order to harmonise the processes for the termination of the membership of Boards or Councils of the entities established by these Acts.

In the current dispensation, there is inconsistent and uncoordinated management of public entities reporting to Minister Nzimande, characterised by different requirements that regulate their operations.

The main reason for this Bill is not to simply ensure greater administrative efficiency, cost containment, strategic alignment, but it also intends to drive the post-school knowledge and skills development imperatives more decisively, said Minister Nzimande.

Minister Nzimande said that whilst challenges still persists in some of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), there are those who are doing well in response to the socio-economic challenges of our country.

Therefore this Bill will ensure that we continue to effectively and efficiently harness the achievements of these SOEs that are doing well, said Minister Nzimande.

Minister Nzimande said through the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the South African MeerKAT project has been completed on time and within the budget of R3.2 billion.

The benefits of hosting these telescopes include a 75% local content component, direct investment of more than R300 million in the Northern Cape by South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) alone, the Minister pointed out.

Minister Nzimande said through the Technology innovation Agency (TIA), government continue to harness the latest advances in smart agriculture.

In this regard, we are substantially expanding the agriculture and agroprocessing sector by supporting key value chains and products, developing new markets and reducing our reliance on agricultural imports, said Minister Nzimande.

The Minister said that Bill also aims to, amongst others, clarify the requirements for the disqualification of persons from membership of Boards or Councils; to provide for the appointment of external persons to committees of Boards or Councils; and to provide for the determination of the remuneration and allowances of members of the Boards or Councils and committees of the Boards or Councils.

This Bill also seeks to harmonise the processes for the determination of the remuneration and allowances of the members and committees of the Boards/Councils, emphasised Minister Nzimande.

Source: Department: Science and Technology

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