ACDP lends support to Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill despite reservations

Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill
Speech by
Cheryllyn Dudley, MP and Whip 

“It seems there is no internationally-accepted agreement on the mechanism for protecting indigenous (or traditional) knowledge, IK, - or indigenous cultural expressions, IKS - so this is a South African attempt at providing some form of protection.

The ACDP notes that the Bill does not seek to protect indigenous knowledge in terms of the recognised types of intellectual property, such as, patents, copyright, designs or trademarks, because IK does not conform to such types of property.

As Professor Emeritus Owen Dean who was closely involved with the drafting, said this week, this Bill seems to have the right approach however, by not providing for the repeal of the IPLA Act - potentially allowing its provisions to override the IKS Bill - this will undermine the principled approach which the Department of Science and Technology had appeared to follow.

We note with some concernProf Sadulla Karjiker of the Anton Mostert Centre’s caution that as it is only South Africans that will be restrained by this Bill and that people elsewhere will continue to have unfettered freedom to use IKs or TCEs originating in South Africa.  In the words of Professor Karjiker: “So much for encouraging global competitiveness.”

The ACDP will however support the Bill which appears to be starting on the right foundation - if not perfect, hopefully workable - a pioneering work!”