Basic Education Committee Reports: Umalusi Conference; Western Cape Department of Basic Education visit; oversight visit to Northern Cape; KwaZulu-Natal

Basic Education

20 November 2012
Chairperson: Ms H Malgas (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered and adopted outstanding minutes and reports. The Members made grammatical, rewording and formatting corrections throughout the documents. They raised concern about recommendations and questioned whether the Committee had the right to go directly to the provinces with recommendations, instead of going through the national Department of Basic Education.

The Chairperson and Members thanked the Committee for a great year during which they had worked well together, although there were also calls for greater transparency.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Committee and expressed the hope that the meeting would take an hour and a half. The Committee would be adopting minutes and reports, and she wanted to take extra time when it came to the recommendations, as she felt some changes were needed.

Outstanding Minutes from 19 September 2012
The Chairperson tabled the minutes from Wednesday, September 19, and opened them up for consideration.
Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) and Mr C Moni (ANC) made minor grammatical corrections.

Mr D Smiles (DA) referred to the Matters Arising on page five, and asked the Committee to agree to put the National Development Plan discussion on the agenda for next year.

The Chairperson agreed.

One Member thought the Chairperson should have briefed the Committee on what had happened to their reports, or were they still just being noted?

The Chairperson said they were still noted, but reintroduction was being considered. She had spoken to the Secretary of Parliament, who had said she needed to come back to them again.

The minutes were adopted by the Committee, with amendments.

Outstanding Minutes from 9 October 2012
The Chairperson tabled the minutes from Tuesday, October 9, and opened them up for consideration.  They were adopted with minor amendments. 

Outstanding Minutes from 10 October 2012
The Chairperson tabled the minutes from Wednesday, October 10, and opened them up for consideration.

Mr Smiles said that the Committee needed to rectify the number of projects on page nine.

The Chairperson agreed.

Mr Makhubele noted that on page 12, ASIDI meant Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative, and needed to be changed. There needed to be clarity on what PSPs were.

The Chairperson agreed.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) corrected a minor grammatical error.

The minutes were adopted, with amendments.

Outstanding Minutes from 11 October 2012
he minutes from Thursday, October 11, were adopted by the Committee.

Outstanding Minutes from 16 October 2012
Chairperson tabled the minutes from Tuesday, October 16, and opened them up for consideration.

One member asked why the term “Equal Education” was used instead of “EE”.

The Chairperson said one could not start a sentence with EE.

The minutes were adopted, with amendments.

Outstanding Minutes from 23 October 2012
he minutes from Tuesday, October 23 were adopted, with no amendments.

Outstanding Minutes from 24 October 2012
he minutes from Wednesday, October 24, were adopted, with amendments, following correction of a minor grammatical error.

Outstanding Minutes from 6 November 2012
he minutes from Tuesday, November 6, were adopted, with amendments, following correction of a minor grammatical error.

Outstanding Minutes from 13 November 2012
The minutes from Tuesday, November13, were adopted, with amendments, following correction of a minor grammatical error and clarification of the name of a presenter.

Report on its engagement with Department of Basic Education in Cape Town
The Chairperson tabled the report and opened it up for consideration.

Mr Makhubele made minor grammatical corrections.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) wanted clarity on page 27 in regard to the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

Members and the Chairperson clarified that it was the eradication of entire inappropriate structures, not the eradication of schools, and changed it in the report.

Ms Mushwana said that the Committee had visited a school and it was in terrible condition. She wanted to know if it was still there.

The Chairperson said she did not know, and suggested Ms Mushwana should ask the Department or  the Minister.

The Chairperson pointed out that the report did not have recommendations on page 42 because in the conclusion, it talked about a solution.

Ms N Gina (ANC) said Committee needed to make the recommendations clear.

The Chairperson said she would substitute the word “solution” with “recommendation.”

Ms Dudley recommended that the Committee take out the last paragraph and put a sentence before the bulleted points.

The Chairperson agreed.

The report was adopted, with amendments to be noted in the House.

Report of the PC Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to Kuruman, Northern Cape
The Chairperson tabled the report and opened it up for consideration. She asked the Committee if they should keep Recommendation 8.1.1.

Ms Gina said that the Committee should take it out, because she did not think they could make such a recommendation.

The Chairperson said it would be deleted.

Ms Gina asked if the Education Minister would be able to do something about Recommendation 8.1.2, and stop the trucking of learners. Could the Minister investigate?

Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) said there was no immediate connection between the last sentence and the first one. The Committee was trying to say that a Departmental investigation into trucking could eventually assist in stopping such a practice. The Committee had recommended that such practice should be investigated by the Department.

Mr Makhubele explained that the Department on its own could not resolve the issue, but it should be involved. There should be a joint effort between the Department and the Department of Labour.

Ms Dudley suggested rewording it.

The Chairperson asked if the Committee should get rid of Recommendation 8.1.3. Recommendation 8.1.4 was very long, and the Chairperson wanted to take it out.

Mr Makhubele said what mattered was that action was needed.  If it was not clear what the Committee wanted, then it was not worth recommending.

The Chairperson said the provinces received an equitable share and decided where the funds went. According to the Constitution, they had a concurrent function, so it was difficult for the Committee to tell provinces to give specific amounts to education.

Mr Moni suggested rewording the sentence.

Ms Dudley suggested on another way to recommend indirectly.

Mr Makhubele agreed with Ms Dudley. The Committee could not recommend directly to a province, but it could insist that the Department focus on a particular situation.  The Department needed to tell the Committee how they were resolving the issue.

Ms Gina wanted to keep the recommendation.

The Chairperson said the Committee would draft a new recommendation.

Ms Dudley asked if the Committee wanted the Department to investigate the issue.

Mr Makhubele said he understood the recommendation. The problem was that it was talking directly to the province, not the Department.  The Department of Basic Education needed to find ways to assist the Northern Cape in sourcing funds for camps, and such.

The Chairperson asked the Members for proposals on rewriting the recommendation.

Mr Mpontshane wanted the Committee to leave out the “Northern Cape Department.”

Mr Makhubele suggested a rewording of the sentence and taking out the “submitting within 30 days” timeframe, because it would say that, at the end of Recommendation 8.1.6.

Ms Mushwana said that the Committee should not make promises that bound themselves to it.

The Chairperson agreed that the Committee could not do this when it involved funding.

Ms Gina asked if Ms Mushwana was talking generally or specifically about the recommendation, because the recommendation being discussed was not a promise.

Mr Moni said the Committee needed more discussion on the issue. A similar situation had arisen in the North West Province. He thought they should keep the recommendation as it was.

Ms Dudley said that the issue was that the Northern Cape was included in the recommendation. The Committee should say the “Minister of Education should consider creating a commission to investigate.”

The Chairperson asked if the Committee was in favour of Recommendation 8.1.5.

Mr Makhubele said it should not say “within 30 days” in the recommendation.

The Chairperson said this would be taken out.

Ms Gina said the recommendation should be taken out.

The Chairperson said that Recommendation 8.1.5 would be taken out.

Mr Bandi, Committee Content Advisor, suggested that the Committee take Recommendation 8.1.5 and put it within Recommendation 8.1.6, as the last bullet point.

The Chairperson asked the Committee if they should do that.  Members agreed.

Ms Dudley suggested that they also put Recommendations 8.1.4, 8.1.2 and 8.1.1 with 8.1.6.

The Chairperson said they would handle the recommendations the way they did in the workshops.

Mr Mpontshane proposed putting those recommendations as bullets in 8.1.6.

The Chairperson said that at the end of the recommendations, there was one sentence that required submissions to be made within 30 days of adoption for all of the recommendations, so the timeframes would not be included in each individual recommendation.

Mr Makhubele said that the effect of bullet 3 in Recommendation 8.1.6 could be meaningless by the time the report was submitted.

The Chairperson thought that the Committee should take it out, because the Department was clear that everyone was back at school.

Mr Mpontshane agreed to take it out.

Ms Dudley suggested that the Committee should say that the Department had to report when examinations were scheduled or postponed.

The Chairperson suggested that the Department report on whether examinations were scheduled, and take out “postponed” altogether.

The Members agreed.

The Chairperson raised issue with Recommendation 8.2.  It was not an education problem and people said the problem was very political. Should they have a faith-based team to go and find a solution? There was unrest and the Committee was being drawn into the unrest.

Mr Mpontshane said that for the Committee to decide if a protest was political in nature was difficult. He asked the Committee if they had a right to give a mandate.

Mr Moni explained that a multi-disciplinary team with experts could include religious people, or not. The Committee was trying to say that these people would give expert advice on recommendations.

Ms Dudley suggested that they removed “political” and substituted it with “complex,” while adding “multi-party/ inter-faith/ inter-disciplinary team to work with the community and school governing body (SGBs) to find a lasting solution.”

The Chairperson asked if the Members agreed.

The Members agreed.

The Chairperson asked if they would consider the report for adoption.

The Members agreed.

The report was adopted for consideration in the House.

KwaZulu-Natal Report
The Chairperson tabled the report and opened it up for consideration.

A Member asked for a workshop on unions.

The Chairperson made minor format corrections. She suggested that instead of saying the Minister of Education should “ensure the following,” the Committee should say “consider the following.”

Another Member suggested that if the Committee wanted something to be done, they use “to enforce” in one of the recommendations.

The Chairperson said the Committee could not force the Minister to do anything.

Mr Makhubele suggested the Department should consider funding Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) areas in KwaZulu-Natal.  The Committee should not leave this out of the recommendations, because they were having trouble functioning without the funding.

The Chairperson explained the situation of people not receiving the OSDs. Should the Committee say they would like the Department to assist?

Dudley said they should say “ensure.”

The Chairperson changed it to “the Minister should ensure the following” and decided to take out National Professional Teachers Association of South Africa (NAPTOSA).

Mr Mpontshane said they could ask the Department to investigate union allegations.

Mr Makhubele agreed.

The Chairperson said the Committee would write a letter to NAPTOSA and removed the recommendation.

The report was adopted.

The Chairperson said the Umlasi report would be noted. Members would be informed on all the activities mentioned last week. She thanked all the Members because the Committee was one of the most consistent Committees in Parliament. The Members were open and comfortable in the Committee to raise what they want to raise.

Mr N Kganyago (UDM) said it was good to work together, but he was annoyed because people would ask about something the Committee was doing and he did not know about it. He had almost left the Committee, and it was like they were going back to the apartheid years. Why would people do certain things without telling the Committee? He felt like these were secret things, why were they secret things? The Committee was working together and working for the nation. He had discussed it with the Chairperson.

Mr Smiles said that he supported Mr Kganyago and had also raised it with the Chairperson.  If the Committee wanted unity and to work well together, then there needed to be transparency.

The Chairperson agreed that Mr Kganyago was correct. It would cost the Committee R100 000 to go to the marking centres, so the money was being saved for the Annual National Assessment (ANA). The applications for Kenya and Botswana were in, and Members would be informed on what was going on, because there was unrest at the moment.

Ms Mushwana thanked the Chairperson for leading the Committee well through the year.

The Chairperson said that since the beginning the Committee had improved greatly.

Ms Gina said that it was important for the Committee to encourage its members to go into their provinces and visit the marking centres.  She thanked the Chairperson for giving her a chance and thanked the Committee for working well together.

Meeting was adjourned.


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