The Committee met to consider and adopt outstanding minutes as well as their 2009 annual report.
The former was approved with amendments, whilst the latter was not adopted due to uncertainty about the content of the report. Members questioned the accuracy of the figures in the report and pointed out several inconsistencies. The Committee decided not to adopt the report at this time. Instead, it would reconsider the report on 4 May 2010, when Ms Chohan would give clarity and guidance on the matter.
Election of Acting Chairperson
In terms of the rules of Parliament, Ms Kubayi was nominated and elected as Acting Chairperson in the absence of Ms F Chohan (ANC).
Adoption of Minutes
The Chairperson tabled the minutes dated 15 April 2010 for consideration.
Members made a few grammatical changes and adopted the minutes.
Consideration of Committee’s 2008/09 Annual Report
The Chairperson requested Members to give their inputs about the report.
Ms A Mashishi (ANC) addressed two issues. Firstly, she questioned the accuracy of some figures in the report. Secondly, she contested the suggestion (in the report) that greater oversight was done than what was actually completed.
Ms J Kloppers-Lourens (DA) referred to page four and questioned the accuracy of the figure indicating the number of educators within the Western Cape.
Ms N Mkhulisi clarified that at the time of the drafting of the report the figures about educators were just estimates.
Ms Kloppers-Lourens suggested that there was a need for a list of acronyms so that Members could understand all the terminology used by the Department of Basic Education.
Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) expressed support for Ms Kloppers-Lourens suggestion.
The Chairperson indicated that a request would be sent to the Department for a list of acronyms, definitions and statistics for the Committee’s use.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) said that there was a need to strengthen Early Childhood Development Institutions (ECDIs). Most of the ECDIs were privately owned and government was not doing enough to address the needs of these institutions.
Ms Mashishi believed that the government should take over the ECDIs and citied the negligence of the many childcare takers to support her assertion.
Mr N Kganyago (UDM) asked whether a school in Acacia Park was a government school or a private school.
Ms N Gina (ANC) replied that the school in question was a private institute. The Department had a list of all schools and could confirm which were private and which were public.
The Chairperson proposed that the Committee should consider whether to adopt the report.
Ms Mushwana questioned the Committee’s certainty about the report’s content and was not convinced that all Members had gone through it and agreed with everything that was contained in it. She cautioned that once the report is adopted with no amendments, no further amendments may be made at a later stage. She admitted that she had not thoroughly gone through the report herself.
The Chairperson said that she had read the report thoroughly, but conceded that she missed some of the meetings captured in the report. She emphasised that adopting the report was the joint role of the entire Committee.
Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) noted that there were genuine questions that Members had and suggested it would be best to discuss and understand these issues prior to adopting the report.
Mr Makhabela reasoned that government was likely to under spend in 2010 as Members of Parliament would have less time to oversee their respective departments due to the World Cup. As a result, she felt that the figures in the report were inaccurate because they did not take into account this reality.
Ms Mushwana queried the validity of some of the ideas mentioned in the report and wished to discuss this with the Ms Chohan. In addition, she pointed out that the report included various items that had not yet been adopted by the Committee and wondered what the consequences would be of adopting such a report.
Ms N Gina (ANC) did not think it would be a good idea to adopt the minutes of the previous meeting as they might conflict with what was discussed in the current meeting, as many issues have not been decided upon.
The Chairperson understood Ms Gina’s concerns; however the Committee had seen the minutes and had adopted the minutes already. If the report was not adopted, it would seem as though the Committee did not work effectively throughout the year. Therefore, she advised the Committee to adopt the report in the interim and then tackle the outstanding issues when the opportunity arose with the necessary people present.
Mr Makhabela suggested that the Committee deal with the uncertainties in the report rather than be faced with similar questions by Parliament.
Ms Mushana felt that the report needed to be expanded on and was not clear in many areas.
Mr Makhabela asked whether this was the only Committee that is yet to conclude matters and questioned certainty of deadline.
The Committee decided not to adopt the report at this time. Instead, it would reconsider the report on 4 May 2010, when Ms Chohan would give clarity and guidance on the matter.
The meeting was adjourned.
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