The meeting was an opportunity for the Members to consider the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report for the Department of Basic Education. The Report was still a work-in-progress and needed to be refined and engagement on certain sections was of utmost importance so that a thorough report could be drafted. The Chairperson felt that a joint meeting should be held with the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education to eliminate duplication with certain aspects in the report.
Members generally agreed with the Chairperson on the setting up of a Joint Committee. It was agreed that the template made available to all committees’ should be used but that the views of the Committee should be very clear. Also, there was support for the idea that the research teams of both Committees should join forces to draft the Report.
The Chairperson informed Members that the researchers would brief the Committee on certain sections of the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR). Thereafter, Members would have an opportunity to make comments and suggestions.
The researchers informed Members that the Report was work-in-progress and that certain sections needed to be refined. The Reportt had been designed in accordance with a template that had been prepared for all committees of Parliament. A number of documents had been considered when drafting the Report. The included the Department of Basic Education's programmes and strategic plan.
An analysis of the expenditure trends and projections of the various programmes showed that that the Department had spent 97.8%of its budget total adjusted as of March 2010, compared to 99.8% in 2008/09. Finally, it was noted that the Department had received an unqualified opinion and the Committee’s observations were outlined.
The Chairperson noted that the Report contained aspects that were relevant to the Committee as well as to the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education. It was therefore necessary that the Report be considered in a Joint Committee Meeting.
The Chairperson emphasised that the Report should reflect the views of the Committee and not the departments concerned. She therefore urged Members to engage thoroughly and reflect on a number of issues. The figure of 95.8% referred to in the System Planning and Monitoring programme should be 42%. The Chairperson pointed out that the first sentence under section 8 on page 22 was actually the view of the Department and not the Committee’s view. She also felt that the recommendations needed to be intensified. She suggested further that there should also be separate reports on the South African Council of Educators (SACE) and Umalusi.
Mr D Smiles (DA) generally agreed with the Chairperson. She suggested that the research team make use of the template provided but that the work of the Committee should be reflected quite clearly. When making the recommendations, the Committee should look at the performance of the Department and its entities and at the end have general findings where the Committee would state whether it was happy or not.
Ms N Gina (ANC) supported the idea that the Report must be considered by both committees. In addition, she suggested that both research teams get together to draft the Report.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) commented that a consolidated mandate was needed because both committees should come together to draft the Report.
Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) also agreed with the joint committee idea and commented that issues should be raised that were specific not generic.
Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO) wanted to know whether the Chairperson was going to make a ruling on the proposal for the joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education.
The Chairperson replied that she was not going to make the ruling because she felt that more reflection was needed as to what the Committee wanted to do. The research team must assist the Committee to draft the Report. The current Report had elements from both Basic Education and Higher Education and would pose an administrative challenge. The Committee needed to try to shape a way forward.
The Chairperson thanked the research team, content advisors and Members for their respective comments and input. Finally, she urged Members to give it their fullest attention because the Report needed to be adopted in the next couple of days
The meeting was adjourned.
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