Human Development Cluster Briefing


16 Feb 2012

Minister Angie Motshekga, Department of Basic Education; Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Department of Health; Deputy Minister of Education, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize; Deputy Minister Enver Surty; Department Basic Education and Acting DDG Dr Daniel Adams, Department Science and Technology briefed the media and replied to questions at the International Cooperation, Trade & Security Cluster Media Briefing (see Appendix below for Media Briefing document)


[Note: Transcript of the media briefing was provided by the Human Development Cluster]

Remarks by Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi

Most of us in this room will know that health has been identified as one of the key priorities for this administration alongside education and to this end a number of key focus areas are worth mentioning today in this regard. HIV AIDS, TB as number one, non-communicable disease as number two, quality of services in our hospitals as number three and the issue of infrastructure for health. We know the President encouraging statements last week on progress we are making in the fight against HIV and AIDS. We however remain focus on strengthening our efforts in the fight against this epidemic which continues to be a huge public health challenge confronting the nation in fact I wish to add that I regard it as the biggest public health crisis that this country has ever faced in our history. In December last year we launched the national strategic plan on HIV AIDS and TB which outlined the road ahead as we respond to this challenge what is different about this new plan is that it sets out clear targets on how we should achieve this. The call we continue to make though is that of having citizens to develop a culture of annual testing as this will go a long way in helping us win the battle against HIV AIDS. We are calling on all South Africans of whatever age that they must test for HIV AIDS status once a year however on the 24th of March this year is World TB Day and the Deputy President of this country and the chair of SANAC will officially launch the implementation program of the new national strategic plan what is going to happen step by step in all the provinces. So let me not outline anything today because a lot is going to be said on that day. The issue of infrastructure has been identified as a key in the delivery of quality services in our country most of us are aware of the poor state of many of our facilities due to aging and poor maintenance of infrastructure. What is not clearly obvious however is the fact that this lack of infrastructure is not only a problem for our quality but also curtails our capacity to produce more human resources for health, doctors, nurses and pharmacists because we simply have got no training space. In our infrastructure projects we are looking at these two problems very closely hence the President mentioned the refurbishment of nursing colleges and homes to increase our capacity to produce more nurses. In this case we have targeted 122 colleges and I am happy to announce when the President announced this in SONA, 49 of this colleges were already in this process of being refurbished. So we are not talking about something that is going to start we are talking about something that has already started and some of them are nearing completion. We are budgeting for a total of R1.2bn over the MTF just for the nursing colleges and homes. Teaching hospital infrastructure which the President mentioned in SONA including a new medical school in Limpopo you will remember we have mentioned six mega projects of our teaching hospitals this will be part of the mega infrastructure under the presidential infrastructure co-ordinating committee which was mentioned by the President last week. The issue of maintenance backlog projects will be announced in due course for the new financial year so I did not include them also in this speech today. Non-communicable diseases, ladies and gentlemen let me just say for the past two years as a Department of Health we spoke almost every day and launched program after program about HIV AIDS to an extent where people we regard other diseases as non existing. We are doing so because of the problems that we experienced as a country under HIV AIDS, I must warn this year you are going to hear a lot about non-communicable diseases. The President draws attention of the nation to this scourge which is caused mainly by lifestyle choices at the centre of all this is the critical issue of prevention. We can’t let people get sick and believe we will treat them we have got to make sure they don’t get sick in the first place; already work is being done to regulate salts and trans fat in food because these two are well known key causes of many of the non-communicable diseases. This year we are going to tighten the space in the fight against tobacco products and the issue of alcohol consumption, we have to deal head on with the scourge of alcohol advertising where it is projected as a product that is bringing success especially to our young people. Ladies and gentlemen let me just mention that in the 64 year history of the United Nations it happens only twice that a disease problem is taking today the United Nations General Assembly it happen for the first time in 2001 when HIV and AIDS were being regarded as a security risk of all nations in our world. Now the second time it happened is in September last year and it happened with this non-communicable diseases they are being regarded by United Nations as a developmental program rather than just as a health issue that is why it was taken to the heads of state and in this case a United Nations resolution is being passed that we must do everything in our power to put laws and regulations to fight the risk factors to non-communicable diseases. Which I have mentioned here is smoking, alcohol, diet and exercise I am still not sure how we are going to force South Africans to exercise, I am still not sure about that but on the others we are not going to have many friends in this country and we are declaring that today. The quality of care in our facility continue to be a huge challenge facing us in recognition of this fact a number of initiatives are underway to deal with this problem. In fact every time we mention NHI many South Africans especially in the media word people point to the quality that no you shouldn’t be talking about NHI, talk about quality this two issues are not mutually exclusive they are very much related. Just two days ago as the Minister of Health I appeared before the portfolio committee on health to brief them to accelerate the passing of the bill of office of standard compliance which is aimed at improving the quality of our facilities. In preparation for this 20 inspectors have already been trained in the UK and they will start their morgue inspections on the 1st of April this year. We have also been conducting for the past 12 months an audit of all health facilities in the country and to date 3336 health facilities out of 4200 have been concluded. In this case when you say health facilities we mean all the hospitals, clinics, health centres anything that is a health facility they form part of this 4200 and we have audited them. We audited them for infrastructure, financial management, we have done in each of them an actual head count. We also audited basic standards like cleanliness, infection control, safety and security of staff, drug stock outs and the attitude of staff, we know the result of each of these I am mentioning in each of the 3336 facilities. So this week a team of 40 health experts have been trained to prepare them for improvement in other words after auditing we found a lot of failures and we need to turn that around.

Journalist: Minister Motsoaledi mean I know your audit hasn’t been completed but can you give us a hint of what some of these auditors found. And are you happy with the results so far?

Journalist: Would you be able to give us an update on the child and maternal mortality rates it was raised as a key health issue in your speech last year. Then perhaps after last year’s budget speech mention was made from your side on the salt content issue. Social development was talking last year about a ban on advertising of alcohol or restrictions. It’s been almost a year later and can we have an update on where we are at this stage, these things have been talked about for a year. And I’m afraid Minister Motshekga perhaps you could give us an update on the Eastern Cape intervention perhaps together with an update on the intervention in Limpopo’s Education Department particularly whether the school children in Limpopo now have text books. Thank you.

Journalist: This is a question for the Minister of Basic Education you mentioned Minister in your speech the dropout rates between Grade 9 and Grade 12. You didn’t mention much about the Green Paper on Higher Education which I think correctly emphasises the vocational component and in fact plans for a tenfold expansion over the next 20 years. In this context Minister I wondered whether your department is giving consideration to an exit examination at the end of Grade 9 to dovetail with the expansion of the vocational sector. And if not, why not?

Journalist: Minister could you please tell me the four districts that you are going to be focussing on?

Journalist: Minister Motshekga in the President’s SONA he spoke about the dropout rates in Grade 9 being particularly high in the Western Cape. Can you give us reasons for that?

Minister Angie Motshekga: Let me start with the Eastern Cape issue when we intervened in the Eastern Cape last year there were four critical areas which led to somewhat collapse which was scholar transport, school nutrition, temporal teachers and stationery. Then we agreed with the province because of the importance of time to say let’s focus on stabilising the system just a three months to sort out those which the province did successfully in terms of stabilising those four areas. Then after four months we agreed with the province that we are going to go into a scoping exercise to really look at where the underlining causes and indeed we spent some time to send teams to the Eastern Cape to find out what are the problems. We did find that these excess teachers were really bleeding them to death and they were spending almost more than R2bn. One other thing that we picked up also was the fact that they were not managing their leave properly and I did say to the Minister of Health that it is his problem in the success of health programs. In the past we knew if we have boarded teachers they would not come back but I know in terms of your HIV programs you get people coming back after a long time. So it disrupted the leave management and so they couldn’t account for who is coming back and it was also costing them money because they have lost control in terms of managing their leaves.

There were also areas they had to deal with because at some stage the province had allowed, I don’t know illegally promotions where people were not paid at the right scale and it was costing the province almost a billion in terms of that. So we came with this scoping exercise and I think as you can hear it is very deep and difficult issues and you need to be very brave to reverse those issues. To deal with leave to say you clean up  whoever is not here for three months you cut them out and stop their salaries. There was also a big problem when we were doing the scoping exercise of schools just inflating numbers. We picked up for the instance by the end of the scoping exercise because rural provinces because of urban migration are losing lots of children to urban areas. The Eastern Cape is losing a lot of kids to Western Cape and Gauteng. That means money because the money is driven by the number of learners so we found out there was a huge inflation of learner numbers up to almost a 100 000. A 100 000 children inflated at the subsidy of almost R8000 per child it comes to something more than R800m that is what we are losing in terms of and now it is money that gets lost throughout the system.

So completed the scoping exercise then we went to a stage where we now say we have to deal with this problems and we couldn’t agree on how to deal with them. One of the things we said to the province for us there is no point sitting in a province to say you have to start dealing with these illegal extra payments it is a difficult issue and we don’t have the power to do it. So we said to the province we want accounting officers so whatever we think is a decision difficult or not difficult we could go for it but we just could not agree with the province in terms of accounting powers. It was around September they completed the scoping exercise and in the briefing I had with the NCOP it was exam time and we just couldn’t continue keeping staff and every time go there to discuss we want to take responsibility for accounting officer. The accounting officer is appointed by the Premier and the only person who can appoint powers is the MEC for Finance and that is when we went to the President to say we really think we are wasting time and it is exam time and we want to move. We agreed with the President the province says they will implement the scoping exercise let them implement who will come after three months to evaluate the progress they have done in relation to the scoping exercise and that is how we broke the impasse to say let them implement. Now after three months as ministers we are located the responsibility to deal with Eastern Cape requested the deputy ministers to go and do a full assessment as to what progress has been achieved from the scoping exercise. The deputy ministers did go to the Eastern Cape brought the report which was tabled and it was quite clear that they were not making any progress. And then we had a new agreement with the province to it is quite clear that as a province you are not making the necessary progress so we will then teams to come and support you because we really need to find resolutions and we specified all the areas that needed attention. So that is where we are in two weeks back or about a week back we had the meeting with the Eastern Cape and we agreed with them to say we are not just making progress with you implementing alone we still want to come with national people have work stream so that we can accelerate the work that is happening. So what we agreed at that meeting that the deputy ministers will have the responsibility on an ongoing basis to support and oversee the latest agreement that we have. It still has to go through cabinet because the intervention is a cabinet decision so we will process that agreement through cabinet and then implement. So the issue is really we are waiting for the next cabinet meeting to be able to report and table the next agreements we have made with the Eastern Cape and then begin to move so in the meantime we have been working with the province to make sure there is stability.

In terms of Limpopo for me it is a very different issue because in terms of learner attainment Limpopo has been doing very well. In the past two years Limpopo has scored almost 15% improvement in terms of the pass rate and also in terms of monitoring you would notice that even in terms of the lower grades they have really put in energy in improving the learning and teaching. I think it was quite interesting when the President said we thank teachers unions because we can attest that the improvement in Limpopo was because of a strong partnership that the province has done with the teacher unions they are part of the quality teaching learning campaign and that campaign has been going even to rural areas to try and resolve problems. So at that level I think Limpopo is doing quite well the difficulty which is common in most provinces and that is why we are saying that even in the next cabinet meeting those provinces have to deal with this question of excess teachers. The biggest bleed in Limpopo is also the question of excess teachers and proper supply chain management and that is where the problem is. We are working with the province and it is helping us to say it is not only Limpopo that has excess teachers it may not be big but it is an unnecessary expenditure. We know for instance Mpumalanga is dealing with this matter they may not be dealing it with quite systematically but they are dealing with it. So we are monitoring quite closely how provinces are dealing with this thing of excess teachers and in the next cabinet meeting I am going to make concrete proposals as to how we relief the systems of older teachers like myself so that we can find an opportunity to create space for young, energetic teachers who have just qualified and that is the proposal we want to make to treasury that perhaps we should retire without penalty anybody above 55 years who is not in maths, science and accounting so that we can create space for young professionals who wants to join the system because these temporal teachers are actually teachers that we need and that is why there’s tension in getting them to leave. It is your young entrance into the system and if you don’t give them permanent position they are going to leave and go to other professions if we are not able to capture them. So it is a very sensitive but also very critical issue that we create space for new entrants into the system we clean the database so that if you can’t maintain your sick leave system it means you have a 1000 teachers at home and the 1000 teachers remain temporary. And this young people will leave if we don’t resolve this issue in Limpopo 2400 of excess teachers if you average a teacher’s salary it is a lot of money and the system is unable to manage.

The dropout rates again I think you are quite right the dropout rate problem after Grade 9 after you finish your senior phase you are going to the FET phase. When school start preparing kids for exited Grade 12 then for the first time kids are exposed to more stringent assessment which means it is possible that children could have gone through all the phases from Grade 1 to Grade 9 without any stringent assessment and for the first time they are being assessed stricter. They fail twice or three times they are teenagers and at that age they just quit. So it is a curriculum issue that we are addressing that’s why in the new CAPS we have revised that is why I say curriculum assessment policy statement we are improving the way we are assess to make sure kids are assessed throughout the system if there are difficulties they are earlier and dealt with. So one of the major problems is an assessment problem, second one is the question of youth delinquency. At that age there is poor parental control, issues of poverty, issues of self esteem, kids drop out if there is no proper support in the family to keep those kids at school. In poorer communities like in your farming areas harvest time kids are forced out of school to go a harvest. So it is a very common phenomenon in the Eastern Cape around your farming community when around harvest time kids are forced to pick up harvest and then they don’t come back to school. The Western Cape could be leading in terms of dropout rates but is a national phenomenon; your teenage pregnancy also contributes because it is at that stage we have lots of young girls between the ages of 16 and 18 falling pregnant again at that phase between Grade 10 and Grade 12. So it is a very difficult phase because questions of youthfulness it is question of growing and as I say the poor curriculum structure that we had in the past and that is what we sought to address with CAPS. And poor teaching because also what we pick up if schools the schools in rural areas which produce 100% passes don’t have dropout rates so it is a curriculum issue, schools that perform well don’t have high dropout rates. You go to Dendron where they have 100% it is a deep rural area because of performance in the school they don’t have high dropout rates so it also have to do with the functionality of the system, parental control but what is unique about the Western Cape is that phenomenon in the farming areas when it is picking time, kids just drop out of school and they never return.

Deputy Minister Enver Surty: The issue of the Grade 9 exit exam is something that has been considered in the past, what we have is a strengthening of the FET system from the ministry of Higher Education and Training particularly in the light of the plans with the green paper. We also have what we never had before an assessment for literacy and numeracy for Grade 3, 6 and 9 and interestingly the Grade 9 assessment is an external assessment which means there is a verification of those results. We are in conversation and it is something that we would have to look at an alternative to the academic field so your vocational stream. So it is something that we would have to discuss very closely but I am saying that the ground is actually set for that possibility and certainly we are much better equipped in terms of doing that. What is very interesting and it links also to the issue of the dropout as it were is the over enrolment in our FET colleges that they are oversubscribed so that doesn’t solve the problem of dropout and it is a matter that we have to look at very closely. It also accounts for a large number of learners who are in FET colleges who chose the vocational field, but I hope that assist you in coming to a conclusion. Also perhaps one final thing with regard to the element that the Minister spoke about the cognitive demand in the FET band. We would like to guide the journalists to look at the quality of the Grade 10 science and mathematics textbook that is being distributed free to all the schools and you would have a good sense of the qualities and cognitive demand for Grade 10 in terms of the FET band. That means it is rather challenging and demanding and where there hasn’t been well at least now we have a systemic assessment and evaluation throughout the system but where there had not been such a system it is much easier in the GT band and when you come to the FET band you just realise that the cognitive demand is so high and you have this kind of tendency to repeat. So in some districts for example you would have one in three children failing Grade 10 in the Eastern Cape and close to two in four in Grade 11 so that would count significantly for the dropout and therefore I think the approach of the department in terms of dealing with it as a continued effort would benefit us in the medium to long-term and curtail the dropout. Thank you.

Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize: I just want welcome the question around the green paper I hope you will continue interrogating what is in the green paper and reporting as you get responses from the public. For us it is a very important document because for the first time we attempt to come up with a coherent explanation of what is the mandate of our department. For instance because of the thinking that was already developing in preparation for the green paper in 2011 alone we could see the number of we see a marked significant milestone in developing alternative avenues for skills development. Of course the key challenge for us is workplace experience but through the national skills accord as you all know that we signed it last year we begin to see the number of placed learners increasing. A total of 30 000 unemployed learners and 19 workers have entered learnerships so we hope as we revive our FET colleges again we will be able to increase the number of learnerships. I can just say one of the commitments of the President this year is to visit one of our FET colleges and do something similar to what he did with Basic Education to pronounce and give prominence to the importance of teachers being committed, being on time and so on. So we are reviving the status of our FET colleges and working with the deans to ensure there is curriculum alliance that whatever learners are doing is not a dead end and they are able to graduate once they have completed those courses.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi: The first question about the audit that is not complete but we can give you a hint. I just want to remind that on the day we released the green paper on NHI in Pretoria, I did take journalists in our confidence and showed them some of the results. We have only completed 800 facilities at that time today we have completed 3300 as I’ve said but at the time when I showed you the results after 800 it was definitely very worrisome not good at all especially on the six basics. I can report today that all in all if I have to show you the results you will realise that two main areas stick out that is cleanliness and the attitude of staff, many facilities seem to have a very serious problem on that and that is what the teams are going to be concentrating on.

The second question on update of child and maternal mortality, I am not sure whether you want the update of figures what the actual mortality figures are. Let me start by saying in September 2010 when we when to report to the United Nations the progress on maternal and child mortality the head of Stats SA when he was giving the final presentation to cabinet before he flew to New York pointed out that our figure for calculating maternal mortality and child mortality in South Africa are very troublesome because researchers were not in agreement on what parameters to use. So when he went to New York on maternal mortality we said between 240 and 600 if you look at the gap it is too much to say mortality is between 240 and 600. We did so because we were trying to accommodate two extremes some researchers who put it very low and others who put it extremely high and our worry is we chose the highest extreme. Our problem was if we choose the lower one and we come and find out that actually it was very high it will look as if the country is hiding. Since that time the DG put together a team Health Data Advisory Co-ordinating Committee consisting of Stats SA, our universities specifically UCT and WITS were very active in that, Department of Health, Home Affairs, and UNICEF. They sat for the whole year and they went through all this research and they gave a report to the cabinet late last year whereby this revised figures were put and they were saying all the international agencies our universities and researchers including Stats SA are now in agreement that our maternal mortality can be safely be put at 270. We need to revise all government figures and all published figures, now is that high or low it is extremely high, I must say because in terms of millennium development goals we are very high. The infant mortality rate has been put around, DG please remind me of the figure sometimes they escape. (DG speaking off the microphone) Now what are we doing about those because per 1000, maternal mortality is per 100 000 there is a difference maternal mortality is always measured per 100 000 whereas child mortality is per thousand. Now what are we doing about that, first and foremost a part from the issues of quality of healthcare in our public services the biggest contributor to both child and maternal mortality is HIV AIDS in South Africa. For that reason our concentration on combating HIV AIDS will reduce that and for this reason we are happy that last year in June it was announced that mother to child transmission has been reduced from 8% to 3.5% from 2008. That has saved 30 000 babies per annum it is a very significant reduction and we are happy that the biggest reduction is KwaZulu-Natal where the prevalence is the highest. We are also hoping that the fact that the President announced as far back as December 2009 the treatment of pregnant women putting them on ARV’s; we believe it would have helped when new figures are announced we believe there will be tremendous reduction. The other issue we launched a wide campaign of immunisation on rota virus many children who are HIV positive are killed by pheunomonia and we did a massive immunisation this was the new vaccines and there was a measure of success, I don’t have the figures here but the graph I have seen both incidents of diarrhoea have dropped down tremendously and that will come to help a lot. But lastly we are in the process as you know of establishing specialist teams and we are about to start appointing them and if you look at the specialist teams we specifically chose gynaecology, paediatrics, anaesthetics and family medicine to deal specifically with this maternal and child mortality. The bad news and we are going to be calling you for a very unusual press conference in this year the bad news that third are becoming fewer and fewer gynaecologists in this country because there is a scourge of litigation against gynaecologists which is very cruel. I am going to call a press conference about that because we have been working on it there are fewer and fewer gynaecologists, South Africans are now refusing to specialise in gynaecology which spells disaster because of not a choice of doctors but what is happening to them. We are going to call a special press conference this year to announce what has been happening and how should the country help us to stop it because it is a very bad development. So when we advertised the jobs for gynaecologist we realise how few there are in the country compared to the other specialities for that reason we will outline later because it is a scourge by itself. We are going to launch an African Union program called Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality where you announce special measures like having special obstetric ambulances, we are working on that and we are about to complete.

Last question is about the fact that we have been speaking for more than a year about the issue of salt and alcohol, yes it is true. The reason that we did that for a whole year is that when you launch campaigns like immunisation you just start call people go to clinics and you count the babies. When you want to change people’s lifestyle you don’t just start lining them up you are changing somebody who is an adult the way they live you must raise the hype first. Let them understand move with the country let them understand what you are doing when you say salt reduction everybody will get angry. When you say I want to reduce smoking I am going to ban alcohol this are the people’s lifestyle everyday they will get angry so you must move along with them by building hype. So it is true that it took us a year and we have deliberately build a hype everywhere you can ask my colleagues the reason that the President spoke about it is because every available opportunity they give me in cabinet if they allow me to speak for a second then they will hear about this issue of salt, exercise, diet, etc. Members of Parliament they do the same thing every available opportunity with you to I have been doing that and that’s why you are able to see that there is something happening here. We believe we are ripe now and we are ready we even called a summit in September before going to United Nations we called a summit we have got targets about alcohol, smoking actually trans-fatty acids by the way we have already issued the regulation about reduction from industry. What is left is a monitoring mechanism to go to the industry and monitor that the amount of trans-fatty acids especially in fried foods is much less than what they have been doing before. Remember that trans-fatty acids are this are manmade fats which industry loves but our hearts and blood vessels hate, I want to emphasise that industry loves trans-fatty acids because it brings more money because it’s cheap. Our bodies and our heart vessels will never love them until the end of time they are reared by death, blood pressure, obesity, cancer and all sorts of heart disease and all that so there is going to be a battle here and human beings also love because it is convenient. You can ask the Americans it is very convenient not to cook just to jump and grab a hamburger eat and go to sleep now Americans know that very well and they are also pushing them. Our fear is when Americans push something out it goes to Africa it has always been happening like that when they pushed out the skin lightening creams they brought them to Africa. When they push up all this trans-fatty acids they will find a market for them in Africa and that is why we want to make a lot of noise because we need to save ourselves because we are going to die in large numbers.

Lastly on this issue the reason that the United Nations regard it as a developmental and no longer a health program is because there is fear within the United Nations, World Health Organisation and the whole world that if drastic steps are not taken in the next decade or two many countries will not be able to carry the health budget because everybody will be needing a new heart, new kidney, bypass surgery everybody will be living artificially. I am not really scaring you because this thing is already happening when we were in New York after the declaration was taken the Caribbean states called a meeting of all the heads of state in the Caribbean Islands one of the head of states announced something and I felt my body chill. He said this thing is no longer a joke in my country 45% of the population is diabetic just sit here and imagine 45% of your population is diabetic every month because with diabetes you must go to a clinic or a hospital every month to have your blood tested and then collect medicine. Imagine that happening to 45% of South Africa what will that do to the healthcare system as a whole so it is a very serious issue and that is why it was taken to the United Nations and that is why you need to do something. Alcohol yes it was social development heading that it is now brought to us it is our baby now and I can announce today that the draft legislation is already there. We believe we have built enough hype and we can start regulating now. Thank you.

Journalist: What targets have been set out for the nine provincial working groups? And can you expand on the progress that has been made to date?

Journalist: My question is to Minister Motsoaledi, are you monitoring the situation at the Steve Biko Hospital with radiation machines. And have you found that in your audit is there a general problem with the payment to service providers?

Journalist: Health Minister I wonder if you could just explain to us what initiatives are planned if any regarding health of school children. Whether you planning programmes to go into the schools to test eyes, to test for worm infections, for basic stuff like that because I am sure that will help the Minister of Basic Education with her job. Minister of Basic Education I wonder if you could just explain what possibility there is in terms for a second chance for the children who are not completing basic education, who are dropping out. Oh and the last one was FET, does any of that learning, does that provide any kind of credit towards university study, towards further education. If not why not.

Journalist: For Minister Motshekga, the 49 schools that will be completed, will that replace some of the mud schools for the CD Projects. What sort of percentage after this first financial year that you have had with the CD project, are you complete with your target to replace all the mud schools and the infrastructure. In a Parliamentary briefing earlier this week you said that you would hope that the infrastructure Plan of the President would save you in a lot of ways in the Eastern Cape, can  you expand on that. Then for Minister Motsoaledi, again I am being a pain. Can you talk to a bit of the Draft Legislation with regards to what you plan to do with alcohol; are you planning to ban alcohol advertising? I just need absolute clarity on that. And if so is that really the answer to the problem, smoking advertising was banned, lots of people still smoke in South Africa. What other mechanisms are there available to change people’s lifestyle?

Journalist: To Minister Motshekga, firstly mam what are your thoughts on making teachers write the exams that they mark and that they must pass them before they can mark them? Secondly we are working towards a single equal education system, why do we still have the Independent Examinations Board writing matric exams? Thirdly you mentioned some shocking information regarding the Eastern Cape especially ghost teachers or teachers who are being paid and are not there, pupils who are not there. Are you going to take action because you would know actually it is pretty basic to compile a 10th day school number. There is a person at that school who takes responsibility for doing that so it is very possible to see who is lying and who is costing you all that money. What kind of punitive measures do you have in place? And finally on the issue raised on the Western Cape drop-out figures, how do those compare to other provinces. Is the Western Cape comparatively really that much worse off if so what are the exact numbers?

Journalist: Minister Motsoaledi I just have a follow up to your hype that you want to create on health. I have seen some Cabinet Ministers shrinking, some of them since you have been hyping. I am just keen to know how many Cabinet Ministers do you have on this hype, have any of them been climbing stairs with you?

Journalist: Firstly what is the state of play on the demerger of Turfloop (sic) and Medunza? It was announced 2 years ago and has not ever been gazetted. And secondly to Dr Motsoaledi does the example of Jackie Selebi who receives dialysis three times a week at Steve Biko Hospital indicate that you have changed the policy of the State giving dialysis to people over the age of 50. I know if a case of a woman who ran up R2.5 million worth of debt before she died because she had no medical aid and the State wouldn’t give her dialysis

Journalist: To the Minister of Education. On the excess teachers in the Eastern Cape, clearly this is a big problem and you won’t be able to solve the situation there. Is the only solution you have at the moment to look at the retrenchment of people over 55 or can you not retrench people on the basis of whether they get posts or not. Basically whether they are wanted at schools, whether people want to employ them and have you looked at that option. To the Minister of Health could you just give an update on the big private public partnership hospitals that you announced I think it was either last year or the year before? And whether those are going ahead now or whether you are prioritising the nursing colleges or what’s happening with those hospitals?

Chairperson Minister Angie Motshekga: The first question on provincial work groups, I am not sure really whether it refers to. I don’t understand the question; I tried to get it from my colleague. But if it is around Eastern Cape, we have identified 4 areas that need intervention. It is your HR. in terms of your excess teachers, your leave and all sorts of discipline, that will be led by the Department of Public Service and Administration, so that is another work stream. There are supplied chain management issues, financial controls, I think you will also be aware that the province has never had a clean audit; it just shows how deep the problems are. Treasury will lead the team on financial and, so that is another work stream. But as I say also the whole question about performance, you learner attainment, the lowest performing province. And unfortunately in the lower phases they compete quite well with most provinces, I think they are province number 4 in the annual results. The decline comes when you go to higher grades where you now need more support from the province in terms of giving you qualified teachers. So it gets much more deeper and that is when the State fails to support the province adequately, then you can see the decline. But on its own where they can really survive on their own, so there is an area, there are work streams around learner attainment issues. But most of these provinces are just (unclear). People have just promoted themselves unfairly and the Eastern Cape is one of the most litigious provinces. People there don’t play anything, infringe their rights, you are in court, it is really costing the State lots of money, everybody just goes to court in the Eastern Cape if you don’t play ball. That is why we also had to get the Department of Justice to come with us and because of FET Colleges also the Department of Higher Education. So there is a stream also because not only is the Basic Education Sector in trouble but even the FET Colleges are in trouble, so there is a work stream to focus. So I am guessing that was the question about work streams.

I think the Minister will also talk about the Health Wellness Programme that we have with them because indeed we have a screening test with the Department of Health. This year alone we will be screening more than 150 000 children in your Grade 1’s. But it is still not enough and I think he will speak more about how we are trying to scale it up so that it is not only screening, but it is screening, referral and support. So if you find a child who has visual problems we don’t just say this child needs glasses. We refer them to the right places because we are targeting schools in poor areas and if we can support those learners to access glasses. If they have a hearing problem, for now it was to say this child needs to sit in front because they can’t hear properly. We need to go further to say if they need a hearing device what is it that we can do as a State to assist them. On schools and the Infrastructure Programme, indeed the 49 schools that we are building in the Eastern Cape are part of the Mud Replacements Programme. We had counted 350 schools that needs to be replaced, Lusikisiki border in the Umtata area. Last week I went to Monte Frey, the have more than 126 mud schools that were not part of this 350 which means there are still more mud schools in the country. Those that were built in the Monte Frey area were built quite different, they are much safer but still not suitable classrooms, but for now we are targeting the 350.

So when I was saying this Infrastructure Programme will help because at the rate we are going with the budgets we are having if you look at the total infrastructure backlog it will take this country 20yrs to address this backlog. So at the rate there is no way we can address it. I think what is quite shameful for us as a country to be honest that up to date there are schools that don’t have something as basic as sanitation. There are schools without proper sanitation, not even proper sanitation, proper is to assume that there is. There are school which don’t have access to water, that doesn’t have access to electricity. So we need a real jacked up infrastructure programme if we are going to be fair to all the children in the country to get them in safe and conducive environments. And not just for teachers, we are saying out of the 27 000 schools that we have almost 18 000 doesn’t have staff rooms, so it is not even part of this infrastructure. Almost 16 000 doesn’t have labs; more than 13 000 doesn’t have science, computer centres, so it is a huge problem.  The infrastructure backlog in terms of just classrooms let alone schools which doesn’t have leaners under trees. You go to a province like Gauteng I mean the constituency; we say a normal primary is supposed to have between 600-850 children for you to be able as a principal to manage that school. There is a school in my constituency this year they have 2800 learners, so it is four schools in one, I mean how do you manage that. So our infrastructure backlog just keeps on increasing, the State has been throwing lots of money into it, it’s just not coping. It is not coping because if the enormity of the challenge but also the capacity. What I want to see is to really see if kids can read, write, and count, that is my mandate. So this infrastructure focus elsewhere will even free our hands to focus on our core business and accelerate much more and get the State to put more money. The more we delay the more expensive it is. When I was MEC in Gauteng, when I arrived in 2004 a school cost us R16 million, by the time I left the school it cost us almost R30 million. The more we delay the more the gap is opening because the costs are also very repulsive. And I don’t want to talk about; the DG once got into trouble when he says even the private sector is causing more problems. A school that was not built buy Government that was donated to us by the Sanduka Grouping Adopt a School, beautiful school, the size is even bigger than the class size that we built. When I asked them how much it cost they said R5 million. I said to the DG if you have on tender as Government you would have paid R30, It is a problem. Even the cost has become repulsive but the law says we have to go to the market; we have to go and tender. So if everybody comes with R30 million I can’t come back and say no, so it becomes a big problem. So trough this Infrastructure Programme we hope that we, I think we will be able to influence the Act, we should use different methods. If one goes to the old methods where communities build school for themselves without any proper support and professional supervision. But we have to use different methods otherwise we will never be able to meet this infrastructure backlog. As I said that is how we really felt that to improve the skills we are working very close with the Department of Agriculture that is training young kids from rural areas in your build skills. They have kids who are ready to graduate and we hope that we will be able to use them and scale up at that level so that it will be skills. We hope through the PICC they recall your retired engineers to really come and help the State but also try and manage the cost because the cost are also very prohibitive.

So in terms of learner inflation, about teachers writing exams. Yes most provinces, actually there are different tests that we are using assessments before you can be an examiner to say you must have produce yourself at least 80% in your school which means you understand your content. Other provinces are saying we have to assess those very teachers themselves and sometimes as I say that as an experienced teacher even as a teacher who have taught for almost 20yrs. I go to class with a script; I can’t remember all the facts off by heart. So there is a memorandum to also support, so even if you get 80% as long as you have a proper orientation of the subject there is a memorandum to keep on revising. It doesn’t mean as a teacher if I get 60% I think that is the limit. I can tell of lots of stories about teaching, even kids reminding to say no mam we think your conclusion is wrong. You go back and find that it is true I was wrong and that is why we rely on a memorandum. So I am saying we will screen the best but we also count on the fact that if you are a good teacher with a strong memorandum the chances of mistakes are very limited. So we will use those methods to protect and counteract.

On the question of learner inflation numbers, you are quite right. We have said to the, it is the competence of provinces, we said to provinces after the 10 day statistics we will come as national with auditors to audit the information that they receive from their schools. If the systems of information collections are weak it affects the whole system. So in a dysfunctional province in other areas that is when you will, I mean if it doesn’t work, everything doesn’t work. So we have raised with them to say after the 10 day statistics we still want to verify because it also affects our planning if they give us wrong information. But when we find that there is wilfully distorting of information we will charge for fraud and that is what has helped in the Eastern Cape. Because when we made the announcements principals voluntarily, we said we are giving you amnesty, give us the right figures. If you can find out that the figures are wrong we are going to charge for fraud. And that is how the 100 000 something was done voluntarily, there was no audit done already. So we do hope that, I think we mean it because it is serious it is fraud. The MEC was telling me that he saved R20 million already on school nutrition because it means we are making transfers for food which are on wrong figures, transfers for books, transfer for all sorts of things on wrong figures. It is a problem, it is purely fraud, fortunately as I said principals are responding but we still have to verify through an audit process. As I said it affects our planning, we don’t want to go and build schools in the Eastern Cape  where there are mud schools when there are 10 kids in that school and after that we realise there were no children after all, we could have send them to another school. So it is a very important factor that schools give us correct figures. When I went to Monte Frey in classes there are piles of books, it is quite kids that these books were meant for, schools could have said they have 100 kids whereas they have 50 kids. So then you have all these extra books, it is a huge waste in the system.

On the Western Cape as I said the problems about drop-outs it is a national phenomena and it varies from province to province in terms of a number of factors. In terms of poverty, in terms of the functionality of schools, in terms of the rurality of the province. I think also in terms of the socio economic activities in the area. You are likely to have more kids staying longer in schools which are highly functional, which have I think stable communities where there is good parental control. But also when there is lots of community and social cohesion in the area I think just becomes, even if it is a poor area. The area I stay in in Midrand in Ivory Park there is lots of cohesion in terms of just how society itself or communities themselves make everything their business, so there are also external factors. But sometimes it is just a poverty issue where when kids get to the age of 16/17 they fail and go look for work, they just forget about it. In the Western Cape when we are doing this One Goal Campaign, because that is through the One Goal Campaign where we are able to identify that the practises in terms of the farming communities of the Western Cape, and I don’t understand why. Where especially during the harvest time lots of kids drop out of school, so that is a phenomena that is unique to the Eastern Cape because of your farming communities phenomena. But in areas like Limpopo for instance where there is lots of urban migration and kids are left on their own there is also high levels of dropout rates where kids at some stage, no one is forcing them to go to school, they can stay and not go to school because there is just no parental supervision and leadership. So it is really more of a socio economic factor more than anything, it also becomes a culture in certain communities. I can give you lost of social ills that we have, its one phenomenon in some areas, its high alcohol consumption in some areas, in Limpopo teenage pregnancy. So different provinces will have different manifestations which are really socio economic to a very large extent. The President was talking about dropout rate and that is why I think we picked up Western Cape, in your wine farming areas there are lots of problems in terms of your dropout rate. Lots of social ills which contributes to that outside your farming.

In terms of excess teachers, it is one proposal that we are making. The main one is what we have been saying, any person follows the job. If you are a journalist and you are told that you should go to the Western Cape you pack your things and go to the Western Cape that is the cruel thing about life. If you want work, you follow your work. So the first call will be to move and that is what has been happening, and that is what the policy is. If the teachers is in excess should not be kept at a school, they must be taken to a place where there is a vacancy. If the school around there is the first choice that we have given a district to make the necessary movement, if you are able to get into the district and given a second choice to go to another district, but the principal that we have to follow, where work is. We have situations in the Eastern Cape where we have, I mean in one school there were 70 kids and I think there were about 11 teachers. These are figures for children with severe disability who have to be fed, clothed, and washed and to be carried; those are the figures for schools with severe disabilities. You can’t even the richest country in the world don’t have that teacher learner ratio. So the first call is really to move teachers to where they are. If you are unable to move, some people may find it impossible to move to perhaps Cape Town it means you are saying that you can’t work. So the second point would be to really retrench people to say we can’t find work for you, you have become redundant, it is a normal practice. The next step will then be to retrench.

The one that we are proposing is really you see because we are aware that lost of teachers, some of the people want to leave the system but they can’t leave because they have invested so much in the system. If they leave they will lose on their leave days, if they resign before they are retirement. So we say you can resign before your retirement date, you won’t lose on your leave days. And we really think it will create lots of space, especially some people might feel that at 58 it is just a year to go I can’t afford to lose my benefits so let me stay on. We want to talk to Treasury that we offer them, if you are at 58/59 and you really want to leave, you won’t lose anything. We will allow you to leave so that we can start opening up spaces. It is not the only one, we are going to move people first, and that is what we have said to the provinces. Move people to where they are needed.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi: The issue of School Health Programme, there is a question here asking about it. By the way the first one is about Steve Biko and radiation the DG will deal with that one. But the issue of none payments of suppliers, I am sure you are aware it’s acute in Gauteng; it is a special problem in Gauteng which we are dealing with at a national level with the Minister of Finance. We are definitely dealing with that, it is a very unfortunate thing to have happened. In this case I could say Gauteng provides an example of not how to run health care services very unfortunately. We will do everything in our power to make sure that doesn’t happen where you also many service providers for basic services. Because money has been used in issuing other tenders which might look very good but are not basics, we need to solve that it is quite unfortunate. To this end I spoke to the Minister of Finance and the DG. We are going to make sure that in the next Budget we put what we call none negotiables on the Budget. That you have to budget and put money for these things, for instance if you say children need to be immunize for Numecocus and rota virus(sic). You can’t have a province say no we don’t have money to pay for those vaccines and the company say (unclear) because we are basically sentencing children to death. Those are some of the basics and the Gauteng situation is a good example that something’s must never be allowed to happen. So we are hoping that we will be able to achieve that.

The School Health Programme, we are going to provide 5 programmes in schools. The beauty of the School Health Programme is that there is so much mutuality between health and education that Minister Motshekga actually believe we are doing it for her, she doesn’t know that we are actually doing it for ourselves. That is the beauty about that mutualism. The 5 programme meaning checking eyesight, hearing, and oral hygiene, you can imagine in terms of the teachers know which child can’t see. Because sometimes they discover after a year but for us it is in terms of knowing how many children have eye problems before they even go to hospitals, that is the first programme. The second one is immunization, how many kids at any one time in schools are immunized, for her it means there will be no absenteeism because of ill health. For us it means we will prevent the disease before it happens then there will be reproductive health rights. The issue of teenage pregnancies, she will detect them by the problems they provide, I mean the cost at schools which I did not need to preach about. We detect it by the number of young girls coming to us for abortions which between 1997-2010 we were close to 700 000. Some of them may reported a case of a young girl who came to us for an abortion three times in 6 months, that is how we detect it with all these problems. We detect it more also by this infant mortalities which you saw in January where some of them go to very unscrupulous doctors who put the tablet called cytotec in their vaginas and the baby just drops out and dies in a hospital, and we have seen so many babies died. Like it happened in the Eastern Cape, in January last year some of those women were found to take cytotec tablets which were inserted by unscrupulous doctors to cause an abortion because it was beyond the legal limit. When they come they are still alive 5 hours or so later they die, it is our own mortality. So we need to stop it at school via reproductive health rise with family planning now that is what we need to do, advise them and all that. Then the fourth one will be the issue of HIV/AIDS Programming. As we sit here despite the fact that many parents might be pretending there are kids who are HIV/ positive who are not on treatment and who we don’t know about, it is a fact. There are those who are born HIV positive they don’t know about it because they never tested or their parents never even told them. And lastly the issue of drugs and alcohol in schools which in the Western Cape and Northern Cape is becoming a very big problem. So that is the programme.

The second one about alcohol, the question was we have banned smoking adverts and the results are not being realised, I beg to differ completely, not in South Africa. There is a very clear indication, in many countries are actually asking at international level, they are asking us what have we done. South Africans are smoking much lesser than they did before Dr Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma came with this. Maybe just visit other countries to check, the moment you arrive at the airport you can already smell the stale breathe which you don’t do in South Africa. So many countries are following, and remember the Health Organisation formed a framework on tobacco control just like the one that was called for climate at COP 17. Many people know about the convention on climate control. There is a convention on tobacco control whereby countries whose main product is tobacco like Malawi, Zimbabwe etc. have been given 10 years to change to another commodity and leave the agricultural product called smoking. So these things are very serious. So in South Africa we are going to strengthen that issue.

Now coming to alcohol we are going to use the same thing, we are worried by the way, and we are not hiding it. I know people are fighting but there is no way we are going to relent about the ban on adverts which is so deliberate. Just go and watch your soapies tonight, I don’t watch many soapies I watch only one Muvango, the others I don’t watch. Before the end of watching Muvango, today is Friday it is not there, before you finish they will have advertise alcohol 4 times lengthy, that is the time when kids are watching. And who are they using, the beautiful ladies celebrities’ very successful sportsmen, and people. We are telling youngsters go and drink you will be like those people and we know we are lying, that simply cannot be allowed. So that is where the fight is going to be, the other issues about age restrictions etc. will be seen but in health. We are going to look into this issue of alcohol adverts where we are actually trying to show young people that drinking is cool when we know it is not.

The other issue about hype whether my Cabinet colleagues have followed, you can start asking them, let’s start over that side; he stopped smoking by the way if you don’t know. Minister Motshekga, you might not know it she is trying to avoid lifts, she is using steps now, and I am encouraging her to start doing that, I can take them one by one, there is hype in Cabinet they are accepting. What is left to change what we are eating, as leaders even here in Parliament? You see the problem as a public representative is that there is food everywhere when they invite you. When you start a meeting like this you call press conference with journalist there is food outside, I suspect there is. So there is always availability food and that is the dangers of this profession. If you are a major your job is to go around cutting ribbons and eating and all that, that is the problem, there will always be food. I’m sorry to say this but that is the nature of the job, you go and open this thing, and if you don’t eat I even had one of the most prominent Bishops complaining about it. As a Bishop of  a church that when he visit congregations they make sure that there is food there, even if he says no I just ate next door before coming here, they want him to eat this food. So that is another danger of being a public representative as a politician, a reverend, a chief and all that, all of us have this problem of availability of food everywhere. Where you don’t even choose what you eat, you have to eat what they give you. So that is where the trouble is and we want society to start having that understanding. That is why we need to raise the hype.

The issue of demerger I am sure the Deputy Minister will speak about it but I want to say that the merger has to happen, it is cast in stone. There is a mistake either that it said it was announced two years ago, it was only last year. Why I am saying it is cast in stone? For us it has to happen because we are already having plans to put up a new medical school in Limpopo. So you can’t have the University of Limpopo having two medical faculties it can’t work. Regardless of what the mergers have done, just that in itself it cannot work, and so for that reason the merger has to happen. The question is about renal dialysis, I want people to understand there was a statement a very strong statement about changing policy because of Mr Jackie Selebi. It is a very unfortunate statement, we can’t change Government polices for any individual. The issue of dialysis here please understand it even the Supreme Court ruling that the State cannot provide dialysis if it can’t on the Supremony (sic) case. It is about chronic dialysis it is not acute. Acute renal dialysis even to foreigners you can’t deny it, you simply can’t, in other words emergency medical treatment. Once a person has acute renal failure it doesn’t matter who they are they must have renal dialysis I just want us to understand that. Even for foreigners, there has been another court case where they ruled that we can’t but for acute. For the simple reason that if you go to Section 27 of the Constitution the issue of, I mean Section 27 I think it is Sub section 3. It says nobody may be refused emergency medical treatment and that includes acute renal dialysis. The issue ambulatory peritoneal dialysis is different, it is provided to everybody if they can, the problem is continuous, it is ambulatory, it is connected on you and many people cannot like it. We don’t refuse people with that only that in socio economic settings where there is no clean running water you can’t institute continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. So the one you are talking about is renal acute stages by law you have to provide it. The Constitutional case in the Supremony (sic) case is about chronic renal dialysis there is a difference.  I needed to emphasise that because I think it is important.

The PPP’s I think I have mentioned they are still on but they will be part of the presidential Infrastructure Coordinate Committee, the PICC which the President mentioned. That massive infrastructure rail will include those 6 major projects including the new medical school in Limpopo. We can’t stop that for instance for the fact that the last medical school in South Africa was out up 30 years ago for this growing population with a huge pattern of disease, so we need to go on. The only difference is that after they were announced we realised that this projects are so massive they need to become part of what the President announced last week and that is how they will be undertaken.

Minister Motshekga complained about the school that is four in one, you are not the only one Minister we have the same problem. That is why we need to continue with these projects. Chris Hani Baragwaneth Hospital is more than 2 and a half hospitals because in terms of international benchmark you can’t have a hospital of more than 1200 beds, that is the maximum internationally otherwise they say it is unmanageable. Chris Hani Baragwaneth has already got 2888 beds, so in this new infrastructure project which is very urgent. We need to put it back to the international benchmark and make sure that you build hospitals somewhere around it rather than having such a huge hospital that is unmanageable. That is why these projects will have to go on, we just, the only difference is that we decided what the best delivery vehicles is. We thought the best delivery vehicles will be the President Infrastructure Coordinating Commission. DG they said something about radiation.

DG: Yes Minister the radiation missions have been repaired. But I just want to mention Minister that part of the problem is the maintenance of equipment as a general problem. The workshops for maintenance of equipment were done away with, so we have trained about 46 clinical technicians so that they can be housed in our major hospitals, so when equipment breaks it can be repaired. We are in the process of working on a plan to deploy them to at least our major hospitals, our central hospitals.

Deputy Minister: Thank you very much. Just to follow up on the question of the demerger gazetting. This year as part of this announcement we have three demerger projects, the demerger of Teflop and Medunza (sic). And of cause I need to say there has been a delay in terms of gazetting mainly because Medunza we are looking at curriculum redesign. You remember the reason why at first the amalgamation was to try and attempt to ensure the survival of Medunza (sic). It is common knowledge that medical universities hardly survive on their own without other sciences, so that is what we are finalising. Beginning of this term we will also make a concrete announcement about where we are in terms of the University of Mpumalanga and the University of the Northern Cape that is when we will gazette the three at the same time. With regard to the skills that are required, besides long term projects which Firoz Patel will talk to in terms of what we are doing to increase the skills development around critical skills. I just can say that you know the Minister’s plan of 10 000 artisans per year and the National Planning Commission having said we should aim at 30 000 is to ensure that at least the artisans that are supposed to support engineers are available in the country. It will be a long term challenge to get engineers; we will still rely on importing engineers. But at least we are working hard to ensure that artisans to support them produce at a faster rate. I think our SETA’s are not aligned, they are corporation, they are ensuring work placements which are critical for the artisans to be able to produce.

Firoz Patel: Thank you Deputy Minister, please excuse my sinuses. The Department has already begun work specifically in relation to the President’s announcement of the Massive Infrastructure Project. We realise that previously there was no alignment between the Department of Higher Education and projects and so therefore if you look at the 2010 process and if you look at the scare and critical skills in which there was no alignment between the SETA’s and FET Colleges, between universities. As you may be aware our Minister is responsible for outcome 5 in terms of ensuring that skills are available for economic growth. Our Minister has requested and this was discussed in Cabinet that every project that has to deal with the need for human resources will have to have a skills development plan. So in regard to this infrastructure project of the President each one of the project owners is required to have a skills plan indicating how they will source the skills, the short medium, and long run in terms of the run of the infrastructure projects. What it means is that we may not be able to deal with something that is required tomorrow. However if there are skills that are required within the period in which they can be trained specific and dedicated resources will be allocated. I think the Deputy Minister has already told you about our Artisan Programme and similar to engineers and etc. is that the project leaders will have to do the quantification.

Chair there was one more question on articulation with regards to FET qualifications to university. I must say this is one of the biggest problems highlighted and if you look at the Green Paper basically our FET Colleges have been a dead end because people leave school and go and redo the same level of qualifications at school that is number one. Number two is even though you get qualifications from an FET College it is very difficult to continue your studies in university and therefore the Green Paper is looking at the extent ion of articulation. If you go to college, you leave school, you go to college, you can continue your studies at university. Thank you

Deputy Minister of Basic Education: Just in relation to Jan Jan, the issue that you raised with regard to the IEB. We can’t prevent the school particularly a private school from registering but what we could say there is a history to it. Previously examination papers were written by different provinces, so the standards varied from time to time. I think there is so much credibility and confidence in the current system in terms of its cognitive demand in terms of its uniformity that many schools, I am not saying all schools are opting to basically go for it. The universities recognise the national senior certificate as a requirement so schools that wish to pursue that and that happens principally the independent schools are at liberty to do so. We won’t prevent them from doing so it is their right. Just to add very briefly and quickly about the ghost teachers. One of the problems the task team had found when they visited the team of Deputy Ministers in the Eastern Cape was the issue in relation to the Purcell. To clean up the system itself because that would also link with the distortions that exists there. They had made recommendations in that particular regard and that would basically be provided to the media immediately after Cabinet has been briefed in relation to that particular task.

With regard to the second chance, it is an important thing that has been raised as well. There is nothing prohibiting at the level of Grade 12, you supplement the examination, then you could enrol as a part time student for the next year and the year thereafter. In fact we provided ample opportunity because of the transition in the curriculum. But we do know that many people who had abandoned their studies and that are where the challenge is at, at Grade 10 level. Some of them go and enrol at FET Colleges, others go to the adult learning centres and basically try to receive the support and then sit for the accredited examination that will enable them to do the Grade 12. We would encourage that and we would try to bring in as many of our learners who have not matriculated because that has indeed become the norm in terms of qualification. I think psychologically, mentally the mind-set of our communities that Grade 9 is not sufficient you require matric irrespective if you are going to university. My last quick contribution is in relation to the National Senior Certificate Vocational that detracts from what Mr Patel or the Deputy Minister is saying. But the current legal status of the national senior certificate vocational is that it would enable you to go to a tertiary institution either university of technology or university based on the performance in that particular examination. So it is accredited and it is accepted by all the universities. I think what Mr Patel is basically saying is that from a vocational perspective and as an alternate stream we have to do much more in the FET sector and we certainly agree with that fully.

DG:  I just want to provide some numbers in support where the Minister indicated regarding Western Cape participation in the FET Band. This relates to what the President was talking about. The General Household Survey conducted by Stats South Africa in 2010 found that 26% of 16-18yr olds, now that is a grouping that is supposed to be in Grade 10, 11 and 12. 26% in the Western Cape are not attending an education institution. So 26% in the Western Cape of that age group are not in an education institution at all whether it is a FET college or a school. That compares to a national percentage of 17%, it’s the highest percentage in the country 26%. An example of others, Eastern Cape 18%, Gauteng is 15%, Mpumalanga is 15%, Free State is 16%, Limpopo is 8%. So that is just to provide numbers in support of what the Minister indicated.


Minister Angie Motshekga: Human Development Ministerial Cluster briefing post-State of the Nation Address, Cape Town

17 Feb 2012

Chairperson: Minister of Basic Education, Ms Matsie Angelina Motshekga, MP
Deputy Chairperson: Minister of Health, Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi, MP

Deputy Ministers
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen

Welcome to the Human Development cluster briefing. In his State of the Nation Address, The President pointed to steady progress in health and education and underlined the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The cluster provides comprehensive life-long programmes for quality education and healthy lives. We place emphasis on a growth path that includes Africans, women and the youth as a reiteration of our dream in building a winning nation. The cluster reports on progress achieved and plans to reduce inequality and support employment in relation to three of the 12 outcomes identified by this administration’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), namely:

  • a long and healthy life for all South Africans;
  • improved quality of basic education; and
  • a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.

Despite challenges, there is progress in education. The system is more equitable and pro-poor than it was before 1994.

We have built a relatively stable schooling system that has extended the right to basic education to over 12 million learners in about 24 365 public schools and employ no less than 365 447 educators.

Current achievements include that in less than three years ahead of the 2015 target, we’re set to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals on expanding access to education. As the President has reported, we have doubled Grade R enrolment from 300 000 in 2003 to 705 000 in 2011.

More young South Africans are completing Grade 9, from 80% in 2003 to 88% in 2010, and more, as you know, are now completing Grade 12 according to the 2010 household survey.

The percentage of Grade 12 learners who qualified for Bachelor’s studies has now increased to 24.3% placing us in good stead to meet the target of 175 000 set for 2014.

Free schooling and school meals are central to our pro-poor policies, to maximise access and roll back poverty.

Currently, over 8 million learners in over 80% of public schools benefit from the no-fee school policy. Over 90% of schools in Limpopo, Free State and the Eastern Cape are no-fee schools.

As the President has acknowledged, we have achieved a lot through dialogue with teacher unions. The Triple T’s of Teachers, Textbooks and Time, on which the President called for focus in 2011, will benefit from well-informed and well-prepared teachers. We are already implementing the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development.

We are also using specialist teams comprising our best teachers and educators from higher education institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure quality teacher development.

A process is underway at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) to simplify and streamline the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) the system we currently use to evaluate educators’ performance, as agreed at the ELRC in 2003.

Once agreed, another instrument – the Teacher Performance Appraisal – will replace the existing IQMS.

Processes are being finalised to evaluate principals and deputy principals inaugurating a new era of performance agreements, accountability, sound school management and the accruing benefits of quality teaching and proper use of time.

As part of the President’s commitment in 2011, we can report that we completed the curriculum review process. At the heart of this has been the need to promote and improve curriculum implementation and learning outcomes. This year, the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) are being introduced in Grades 1 to 3 and 10. We’ve trained teachers and developed learning support materials for successful rollout. We will support and monitor implementation.

In 2011, we provided targeted intervention in all underperforming schools, with 4612 visited by the end of the second quarter of 2011.

Again as was promised in 2011, we have indeed made progress on the provision of learning and teaching support materials. In 2011, we provided high-quality workbooks to around 6 million learners. Some 24 million books were provided in all South African languages and in 2012 the national workbook programme has been extended from Grades 1 to 6 to Grades 7, 8 and 9 this year. 53 million books are being distributed to learners, free of charge.

The 2012 State of the Nation Address was spot-on on the matter of infrastructure. It is one of the formidable constraints that are making it the harder to deliver on the mandate of providing educational services to the nation’s children in an environment that is conducive for learning.

There is progress since we started implementing the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI). In the 2011/12 financial year, we provided 1 648 classrooms; 316 sanitation blocks; water to 63 schools; electricity to 540 and fencing to 96 schools. In this period, 7 new schools were built. Contractors have been appointed for the construction of 49 schools in Lusikisiki, Libode and Umtata regions. They have seven months to complete all 49 schools.

Contractors have also been appointed for the provision of water and sanitation to 88 schools in the Eastern Cape and 78 in the Limpopo province and KwaZulu-Natal has started implementing 88 projects of which forty eight are in construction stage. Other provinces are also engaged in school infrastructure projects, including Gauteng and the Free State.

In line with the imperative to make education a societal issue, , in 2011 we adopted the NEDLAC Accord on Basic Education (2011:4), with organised labour, business and community representatives, this year we have prioritised the March 2012 School Governing Body elections.

I take this opportunity to invite Members and our people to play an active role in making this process a success.

As you know, we have maintained a consistent increase in the pass rate, a positive development that the President also highlighted. The pass rate now stands at 70.2%; I will be meeting all provincial MECs and HODs next week and would want them to tell me why we can’t take it up to 75% this year.

Chair despite the fact that we are made some progress in 2011 in terms of physical science matric passes, we’re are continue to be concerned about the number and quality of passes in both Mathematics and Physical Science, particularly given the specialised and technical skills our country needs for the drive towards industrialisation, economic growth and sustainable job creation hence the strategy in place designed to improve performance in maths and science performance.

To continue with our programme to improve on quality and efficiency we are using the Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025 to up our performance, ensuring that the value-chain through which the system is expected to deliver quality learning and teaching is working optimally.

We have initiated a process of linking the Action Plan to Provincial Annual Performance Plans for better alignment, with detailed attention to 2012/2013, and the rest of the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF).

We have a national strategy for improving literacy and numeracy. It will help us improve school performance and the learners’ ability to read, write and calculate.

Through this strategy, we hope to address weaknesses shown by ANA 2011 and to tackle other deficiencies, including in areas of resources management, school and district management, accountability and monitoring.

Our Planning & Delivery Oversight Unit will support districts, particularly low performing districts. With provinces it will assist in developing credible plans for school improvement. In line with the Planning Commission’s proposals on improving school functionality, we will send teams to the 15 districts that performed under 60% – 11 in the Eastern Cape, one each in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.

Working with provinces, we are hard at work to restore stability and service delivery in those provinces that are under Section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution – Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Regarding Limpopo, we are grateful for improvements in the last two years, in National Senior Certificate (NSC) results. We are working hard to ensure that this good work they are doing is not hampered by current financial and supply chain management problems. Regarding the Eastern Cape as the President has said, we are attending to that situation, and have enlisted the support of partners to turn the situation around.

We commit once more to the nation that our approach of business unusual will continue into 2012 and beyond. Working together we can do more to improve quality of basic education. Don’t point fingers, raise them up for education!

You will know that the cluster is concerned about the limited career guidance services available in the country for African youth in particular. To assist learners, the Department of Higher Education and Training established a multi-channel Career Advice in partnership with the South African Qualifications Authority. A helpline run by SAQA responds to 1 000 calls per month, while a Website/internet presence reaches 72 000 users per month and will be expanded.

We are equally worried about the availability of higher education and workplace opportunities that will be explored for matriculants. Whilst we know that electricians are desperately needed by the economy, especially within the local government sector, a key challenge continues to be finding workplace experience opportunities for learner artisans to enable them to gain the experiential learning required to obtain a trade certificate. To this end, the recent National Skills Accord between government, business and labour is a major breakthrough as it includes a commitment by business to absorb Further Education and Training college graduates.

To expand access to institutions of higher learning, the Department of Higher Education and Training released the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training in January, which is now the subject of public consultation. It sets out a vision of an expanded higher education and training system, progressively moving towards free education up to undergraduate level for the poor.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) eradicates financial need as a barrier to higher education opportunities. The allocation for NSFAS increased from R3.3 billion in 2010/11 to R5.5 billion in 2011/12. In 2011, the final year a financial support programme was introduced with R752 million being allocated to this programme. As at 30 September 2011, R753 million had been claimed, covering 23 453 students. Those who are successful and graduate will have their NSFAS loans converted into bursaries. In 2011/12, R1.235 billion was allocated to the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Bursary Scheme. 122 911 students are being supported with bursaries and loans.

Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape will commence within the 2012/13 financial year. Further, the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) system supports alternative avenues for skills development. Part of the Department’s strategy to increase access to programmes leading to intermediate and high-level learning has been through expanding access to Artisan Development Programmes, Vocational Programmes, Post Matric Programmes and Skills and Learnerships. 105 specific occupations will now be identified as artisan trades in South Africa. This list will be published in the Gazette as is required by Section 26B of the Skills Development Act.

The Department of Higher Education and Training is also geared to move on the country’s skills needs in line with government’s broader developmental agenda. The massive infrastructure programme requires the cluster to be responsive to the human resource needs of all these huge projects. To this end, the Human Resource Development Council has established Provincial Councils, 9 working groups and has made progress in strengthening and supporting further education and training (FET) colleges, expanding access, producing intermediate skills and professionals, academics and stronger industry-university partnerships in research and development.

A total of 30 117 unemployed learners and 19 192 workers have entered learnerships, while 11 335 learners entered the artisan training system (indentured artisans), with 8 102 learners already passing and obtaining their trade certificates. In 2011, 8 898 FET and universities of technology graduates were placed in workplaces for experiential training. In addition, 4 191 students were placed in workplaces whilst studying. The National Skills Accord has begun adding even more impetus to workplace placements.

The National Skills Fund has allocated R 200 million to enable students with historic debt to obtain their certificates. The closing date for applications was 31 January 2012, and applications are currently being processed, with data expected to become available towards the end of February 2012.

The Department of Higher Education and Training is geared to move on the country’s skills needs in line with government’s broader developmental agenda as expressed in the New Growth Path, the National Development Plan and the recently released Post School Education and Training Green Paper. The massive infrastructure programme announced by the President calls on the Department to be responsive to the human resource needs of all these huge projects.

A national skills fund project called “National Rural Youth Service Corps” (NARYSEC) has been initiated to recruit and develop youth between the ages of 18 – 35 years to be trained as para-professionals in rural areas.

In order to successfully address its human capital development (HCD) shortfall, South Africa requires high-level skilled human capital. To this end, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is developing the Human Capital Development (HCD) Strategy, which focuses on research, scholarship and innovation to increase the number and improve the equity profile of honours, master's and doctoral graduates and postdoctoral fellows.

The primary intention is to promote science and technology through a range of programmes, including the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) and centres of excellence (CoE), encouraging the production of a new generation of researchers, supporting emerging researchers, and supporting and maximising the output of actively established researchers.

In the 2010/11 financial year, although research chairs constituted on average about 1,45% of the number of South African authors, they were on average responsible for approximately 4,3% of publications in the ISI journals, which is almost three times their percentage by number; this demonstrates the efficiency of the initiative.

The number of supported students through the Centres of Excellence (CoE) programme grew from 401 in 2008 to 476 in 2010. At one of the CoEs – the Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis – a study into the relationship between male circumcision and reduction of new HIV infections revealed that, in South Africa, male circumcision could prevent 6 million new infections and 3 million deaths in the next two decades.

The Department of Science and Technology has also, through a number of initiatives, such as the National Science Week and the Science Centres, continued to support and promote science awareness and engagement programmes. In this regard, the National Youth Service (a Presidential-led project that inculcates a culture of service by supporting youth to participate constructively in nation-building activities) and the National Research Foundation Internship Programme (a skills-development initiative) collectively provided up to 789 graduates with workplace experience over the past MTEF period (2008/9 – 2010/11). This inter alia increased their chances of employment.

At least 175 905 people participated in 2008, while 204 174 and 252 775 people participated in the 2009 and 2010 National Science Weeks, respectively.

The National Research and Development Strategy has identified priority science missions, taking advantage of South Africa’s geographic position. These were strategically identified as palaeontology, marine biodiversity, Antarctic research, astronomy and basic science disciplines.In 2012/13 the Palaeoscience Strategy, which is meant to guide the development of Palaeosciences and Archaeology will be finalised and an implementation plan developed.

A long and healthy life for all South Africans: Outcome

Most of us in this room will know that health has been identified as one of the key priorities for this administration. To this end, a number of key focus areas are worth mentioning in this regard: HIV and AIDS and TB, non-communicable diseases, quality of services in our hospitals and Infrastructure for health.

We note the President’s encouraging statement last week on progress we are making in the fight against HIV and AIDS. We however remain focused on strengthening our efforts in the fight against this epidemic which continues to be a huge public health challenge confronting our nation. In December last year we launched our national strategic plan (NSP) on HIV and AIDS and TB which outlines in clear practical terms the road ahead as we respond to this challenge. What’s different about this new plan is that it sets out clear targets and how we should achieve these.

The call we continue to make though is that of having citizens develop the culture of annual testing as this will go a long way in helping us win the battle against HIV and AIDS.

Infrastructure has been identified as key in the delivery of quality services in our country. Most of us are aware of the poor state of many of our facilities due to ageing and poor maintenance of this infrastructure. What is not clearly obvious is the fact that this lack of infrastructure curtails our capacity to produce adequate health workforce. In our infrastructure projects we are looking at dealing with these two problems. Hence the President mentioned the refurbishment of nursing colleges and homes to increase out capacity to produce more nurses. In this case we have targeted 122 colleges and 49 of them are already in this process since last year.

Teaching hospitals infrastructure projects including the new medical school in Limpopo which will be part of the mega-infrastructure projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) mentioned by the President last week. Maintenance backlog projects will be announced in due course.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

NCDs continue to be a serious public health challenge facing us. In his State of the Nation Address the President drew the attention of the nation to this scourge which is mainly caused by life-style choices.

At the centre of all this is the critical issue of PREVENTION. Already, work is being done in the areas of regulating salt and trans-fats in food. These two are well known as key causes of many of these diseases.

This year we are going to be tightening the space in the fight against tobacco products and alcohol consumption. We have to deal with the scourge of alcohol advertising where this is projected as a product bringing success.

Quality of care in our facilities continues to be a huge challenge facing us. In recognition of this fact, a number of initiatives are underway to deal with this problem. Just two days ago the Minister of Health appeared before the health portfolio committee to brief them on the bill on the office of health standards compliance which is aimed at improving quality in our facilities by an enhanced oversight role. In preparation of this, 20 inspectors have been trained and they will start mock inspections on 1 April.

Parallel to this, audits have been conducted in our facilities. To date 3 336 have been completed out of 4 200. Just this week a team of 40 health experts have been trained to prepare them for the facilities improvement. We will start with four districts and 214 facilities in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Gauteng, Free State and Northern Cape.

We all have a role in creating a South Africa that truly belongs to everyone who lives in it. A vital pillar of our strategy is working with partners towards social cohesion, including those in the private sector, organised sport, education, NGOs, traditional leadership, inter-faith organisations and broader society.

Through initiatives of the Department of Arts and Culture we create space for dialogue such as the community conversations initiated in all the provinces as part of social cohesion programmes, through supporting public discussions in the annual African Women Writers' Symposium, the Oral History Conference, and various creative sector conferences planned for 2012, as well as public awareness campaigns during National Archives Week and National Library Week. We are making strides in encouraging a culture of reading, writing and debate. The Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme funded by the Department of Arts and Culture will launch its first batch of publications in March 2012.

In the course of this year, the Department of Arts and Culture will embark extensively on a the Social Cohesion programme as part of the ongoing efforts towards building a South African nation that is non-racial, non-sexist, united, democratic and prosperous one.

The Departments of Arts and Culture and Basic Education, respectively, will strengthen the programme of placing a South African flag in schools and all public institutions. The departments will also ensure that the National Anthem of South Africa is sung in all schools throughout the country.

In the course of this year the Department of Arts and Culture will launch a programme of National Icons. This will be about individuals that have made an enormous contribution in the liberation of our country. Preservation of our history will go a long way in educating generations to come about our history, where we come from and where we are going as a nation.This, we will do as part of our programme to educate the people of South Africa about our national symbols. We encourage every citizen to have a South African flag in their homes. Citizens are encouraged to have copies of the constitution and continuously educate themselves about our heritage and be proud of being a South African.

Sport remains a key component in attaining social cohesion and national unity in South Africa. The country will once again send a multi-coded team to go and compete at the Olympics and Paralympics, to be held in London later this year. Having learnt from past mistakes, Government, the sport and business sectors, have improved their support for our athletes to ensure that our flag is hoisted high among the community of nations.

The Sport and Recreation Indaba that took place on 20 and 21 November 2011, engaged in robust debates that led to the adoption of the first-ever master plan for South African sport. Key outcomes of the Indaba were the formulation of the National Sports Plan, which amongst other deliverables has the appointment of the Commission/Committee to Monitor the Implementation of the Transformation Charter and Score Card.We also pride ourselves with the Launch of the National Sport Volunteer Corps, which brings together sport legends, former players/athletes, sport administrators and ordinary South Africans who have a passion for sport to serve the country.

On 4 November 2011, Sport & Recreation Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula, announced the Ministerial Committee of Enquiry relative to the investigation into the affairs of Cricket South Africa. The Committee completed a series of oral hearings on 27 January 2012, where various people gave oral evidence to the Committee, towards returning the sport of cricket to its original glamour. The Minister of Sport and Recreation is expected to be presented with the Final Report by the end of the month of February. The Minister wishes to thank all South Africans for responding to the call to make written and oral inputs to the Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Human Development Cluster values your support as the media. “Working together we can do more”.


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