Hon House Chairperson, the role of science and technology, in particular research and development is the industrialisation and betterment of society. Highly industrialised countries have used science and technology to drive industry in addressing the country's challenges.
The Chinese government has placed emphasis through funding, reform and societal status on science and technology as a fundamental part of the socioeconomic development of the country as well as for national prestige.
China has made rapid advances in areas such as education, infrastructure, high-tech manufacturing, academic publishing, patents and commercial applications and is now in some areas and by some measures a world leader. China is now increasingly targeting indigenous innovation and aims to reform remaining weaknesses.
Cuba, despite continued sanctions is able to function almost independently because of the proper use of science and technology, but more importantly their leadership within science and technology. We have brother Blade and brother Buti.
However, let us look at South Africa. Failure by the ruling party to reconfigure research institutions post1994, has resulted in these institutions continuing to operate in silos and playing no role in the reduction of unemployment and inequality. However also, science and technology is deemed as elitist with very little accountability to the ruling party. If it was not elitist, our focus would have been on issues which affects the poor masses in this country, the provision of decent water and sanitation, the harnessing of renewable energy where implementation would be driven by a capable and capacitated state.
Minister Nzimande spoke of the Square Kilometre Array. Yes, it is in the Northern Cape, but the global headquarters are in the UK. These headquarters will ultimately be the owners of any intellectual property emanating from the Square Kilometre Array.
However, I am not surprised by the Minister's lack of understanding of things that really matter. The University of KwaZulu-Natal is burning and there are serious allegations that a security service provider is responsible for the problems at the KwaZulu-Natal campuses. It is poor students who are given the blame and Minister you are here sitting and speaking about the Square Kilometre Array.
The purpose of this Bill focuses on the need to harmonise the entities within science and technology, but the Bill and these institutions are operating within a policy framework that prioritises research for selfish interest and greed.
Harmonisation was already recommended in the Fourth Parliament and this House considered the First Amendment Bill in 2011.
In April 2014, the Second Amendment Bill was considered. Essentially the Second Amendment Bill proposed the harmonisation of processes which included the appointment of chairpersons and members of boards of science and technology entities, the qualifications of board members and the dissolution of boards.
However, what is laughable is the amendment of section 5 of Act 26 of 2008. Paragraph 8 says and I quote, "The board must be constituted in a manner that is broadly representatives of the demographics of the country."
South Africa is the only country where the government must make laws to empower the majority group of its citizens. Black people. In other countries the government makes laws to empower minority groups. That is how weak we are as a democracy and a country.
The current Bill was proposed in the Fifth Parliament, but Parliament rose before the Bill could be considered. The current committee constitutes none of the ANC members of the Fifth Parliament. You have just replaced all of them, no continuity.
The research and development budget has declined and there has been a loss of critical scientific skills.
This department does not have a plan to ensure that Industry 4,0 does not lead to greater inequality between the working class and those who continue to enjoy their historical advantages.
Although an aspect in the Bill is a step in the right direction, much more is required before the real benefit of science and technology will be realised. The EFF rejects this Bill. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr S L NGCOBO Mr M N PAULSEN