Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill: further deliberations

NCOP Education and Recreation

14 June 2011
Chairperson: Ms D Rantho (ANC, EC)(Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Department presented responses to the proposed amendments suggested by provinces in their negotiating mandates in the form of a C-version of the Bill. The Department, the Chief State Law Adviser’s Office and the Parliamentary Law Adviser’s Office agreed to reject the proposed amendment to Clause 5 of the Bill as it would have unintended consequences. They however agreed to the proposed amendments made to Clauses 7, 19 and 20 of the Bill.

The Committee was unanimous in its support to what the legal advisers had advised, essentially rejecting the proposed amendments to Clause 5 whilst accepting the proposed amendments to Clauses 7, 19 and 20.

Meeting report

Election of Chairperson
In the absence of the Chairperson Ms M Makgate (ANC, NW) the Committee elected Ms D Rantho (ANC, EC) as Acting Chairperson. Ms Rantho was also the Whip of the Committee. She also apologised for the lateness of ANC members who had been caught up in an earlier meeting.

Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill
The Department of Basic Education’s delegation comprised of Mr Chris Leukes, Director: Legal Services, Mr Charles Ledwaba, Legal Administration Officer, Mr Monbishane Ramafoko, Senior Legal Administration Officer, Mr Abraham Dhladhla Deputy Director CPTD and Mr Haroon Mahomed Director CPTD.

Mr Leukes asked for guidance from the Committee as to how it wished the Department to proceed. He informed Members that the Department had submitted responses to the suggestions made by provinces in their respective negotiating mandates. The Department had a C-version of the Bill which contained the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments were as follows:

Clause 5
On page 3, in line 52, to omit “may” and to substitute “must”.

Mr Leukes explained that if “may” was to be substituted by “must” it would have a huge impact. The use of “must” would compel the Minister which was not the intention. Hence “must” could not be substituted for “may”. It would have unintended consequences. The Minister would be compelled to make regulations. The proposed amendment was thus rejected. 

Clause 7
On page 4, in line 18, after “learner” to insert:
 “within 14 days of the of the date on which the appeal was upheld”

Clause 19
On page 7, from line 29, to omit subparagraph (iv) and to substitute:
 (iv) “must manage a system for the promotion of the continuing professional development of all       educators”


Clause 20
On page 7, from line 35, to omit paragraph “(aA)” and to substitute:
“(aA) money appropriated by Parliament”

Mr Leukes explained that the proposed amendment suggested in Clause 5 was the only one which the Department had found unacceptable.

The Chairperson sought as to whether the Department agreed to the proposed amendments contained in Clauses 7, 19 and 20.

Mr Leukes confirmed that the Department was in agreement with the proposed amendments to Clauses 7, 19 and 20.

Adv Anthea Gordan, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, stated that she had in fact consulted with both the Department and the Chief State Law Adviser’s Office and agreement had been reached to reject the proposed amendment to Clause 5 but to accept the proposed amendments suggested on Clauses 7, 19 and 20.

Mr Alan Small, Senior State Law Adviser, Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, confirmed what Adv Gordan had stated.

Mr T Mashamaite (ANC, Limpopo) understood there to be consensus over Clauses 7, 19 and 20. He asked what about the proposed amendments to Clause 5.

Mr Small reiterated the explanation given by Mr Leukes on Clause 5 and confirmed that the proposed amendment to replace the use of “may” with “must” had been rejected as it would have unintended consequences.

Ms M Boroto (ANC, Mpumalanga) agreed that the use of “may” in Clause 5 should be retained. She also did not have a problem with the proposed amendments suggested on Clauses 7, 19 and 20.

Mr M De Villiers (DA, WC) referring to Clause 7 stated that the Western Cape had suggested the inclusion of the School Governing Body (SGB) in the clause. He asked the Department to elaborate on the issue.

Mr Leukes explained that the issue had been discussed with the Chief State Law Adviser’s Office. The proposed amendment was considered to be substantial and would need concurrence from the House. The second aspect to consider was that if the proposed amendment was allowed it would require the whole of section 9 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 to be re-organised. The Chief State Law Adviser’s Office had recommended that the proposed amendment not take place at present. Section 9 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 needed to be redrafted. It would be a future bill amendment. It was agreed to leave matters as they were and to deal with the issue in the future. If left for the future it would allow for time for wider consultation.

Mr Small continued that the proposed amendment to Clause 7 suggested by the Western Cape would require section 9 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 to be redrafted. This would require it to be forwarded to the House for debate. Consensus had been reached that the proposed amendment by the Western Cape had merit for future amendments but for now an amendment to Clause 7 would be prejudicial to learners. 

Ms Ranto placed the proposed amendments before members for consideration.

Ms Mashamaite (ANC, Limpopo) supported the proposed amendments to Clauses 7, 19 and 20 and supported the rejection of the amendments proposed to Clause 5- the reason for which had been explained by the Department.

The Chairperson (ANC, EC), Ms M Mashodi (ANC, FS), Ms Boroto (ANC, Mpumalanga), Ms B Mncube (ANC. Gauteng) and Mr W Faber (DA, NC) shared the same sentiments as Mr Mashamaite.

Mr De Villiers (DA, WC) was also in agreement with the rest of the Members on the proposed amendments with the inclusion of the proviso coming from the legal advisers that the proposed amendments proposed by the Western Cape to Clause 7 would be held over for a future bill amendment.

In essence the Committee agreed to the rejection of the proposed amendments to Clause 5 whilst accepting the amendments proposed to Clauses 7, 19 and 20.

The meeting was adjourned.


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