Adjustments Appropriation Bill [B37-2013]: Department of Basic Education issues, Study Tour Report adoption

Standing Committee on Appropriations

29 October 2013
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) had been invited to address the Committee again on the challenges facing the infrastructure spending, particularly the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Programme (ASIDI). The DBE outlined the reasons for high percentages for some programmes, whilst other showed a low performance. Those which showed almost complete expenditure were two programmes where spending only took place once a year. The major underspending arose from late invoices, contractor problems, and insufficient technical capacity, but these had since been remedied by setting up professional service units. Technical capacity of implementing agents (IAs) also affected performance. Some rollovers had been approved, but others were not. The Department was not made aware of the reasons for refusal of rollovers. The rollover request of R38. 755 million not being approved placed a strain on the Department’s ability to perform.

Members referred the DBE to a meeting taking place in August,when the Committee asked would would, and would not be possible to achieve, and the Department had apparently at that time said that one school a week would be finished. Several of the questions focused on why that had not been done, and Members demanded details of how many schools had to be addressed, how many had been completed and handed over, suggested that “built” be clarified, how many were outstanding and whether there was a flow chart indicating exactly what was due to be finished when. One Member was very critical and said that the lack of leadership from the DBE was responsible for the problems, but others recommended strongly that instead of focusing on what went wrong, other than to try to avoid those problems in future, there should rather be a focus on how to move forward. This method would allow a better tracking of the situation. Members asked if penalty clauses were enforced, asked if the Department had done anything to recover money lost due to non performance by service providers. They questioned the impact should the rollovers not be approved. They also questioned when any temporary structures would be made into permanent structures, wanted to know the cost, and questioned if there was any guaranteed that the IAs would start to perform any better. Poor expenditure patterns were apparent throughout, for several years, and Members expressed doubts if indeed the Department had the capacity to monitor and ensure a resolution of the problems. If the Department did not have proper plans, Members were not surprised that requests were turned down. Members asked why service providers may run several contracts simultaneously, instead of having to prove their ability on one at a time, asked what had happened with the budget transfer for the Further Education and Training Colleges, and suggested that perhaps the Committee might have to intervene on some of the issues. The question of savings, and delivery of books to schools, was also explored. They questioned the wisdom of using alternative technology. Several Members indicated their dissatisfaction with answers given by the Department, and eventually the Committee requested that a full schedule be produced, with details and timeframes for all the projects, cautioning that if funds were not spent and rollovers were not granted, the Department would end up with unfinished projects and lack of service delivery.

The Committee adopted its draft report on the Study Tour.
 

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed the delegates from the Department of Basic Education (DBE or the Department) and the Committee Members. He said that the meeting was a follow up from the previous day, and noted that the main reason the Committee had invited the Department was to address the challenges facing the Department, especially with regard to the expenditure on infrastructure. He said that he was aware of the negative publicity from the press but that the meeting would hopefully address some of the contentious issues, and lead to improvement of the programme. Education was a priority of government and this Committee must ensure delivery.

Department of Basic Education address on expenditure figures, as requested by Committee
Mr Paddy Padayachee, Acting Director General, Department of Basic Education, introduced Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa, Chief Financial Officer, DBE and Mr A Schoeman, Deputy Director General, DBE.

Ms Molalekoa said that she would be presenting the expenditure figures of the DBE for the end of September, six months into the current financial years. By that time, the Department spent 48.5% in total, which was divided amongst five programmes. She said that the reason for the slow spending for Programme 2 was mainly due to payments in respect of Kha Re Gude, and receiving invoices one or two months later for the printing of books. Programme 3 showed very high spending of 97.5%, due to the transfer to the Bursary Fund which was once off and done at the beginning of the financial year. The high percentage for that programme was also due to the Teacher / Union Collaboration which had taken place the previous financial year, as the Department did not receive the roll over. With regard to Programme 4, spending did not take place as planned.

The allocation of funds for the Examiners and Moderators seemed a bit low, at 11.4%. This would increase at the end of the year as the examinations and moderating took place at the end of year. The Transfers to Public Entities, with spending at 95.1%, made it look as it there might be over-spending but once again this was a one-off, and for the same reasons as in Programme 3.  With regard to Other Transfers, which stood at 2.7%, the invoices would only be received in January and February. The amounts would have increased by that time.

She explained that Earmarked funds included costs for workbooks, printing, and payments for markers. The invoices for those were not received at the end of September, which was the reason for the low percentage. The Transfers of funds for workbooks was noted at 3.6% because of the same reasons. Needu payments were high at 81.1%, as work on this programme had started early in the financial year. Even though the Annual National Assessments had already taken place, the invoices were still outstanding and the percentage therefore only reflected 5.5%.

Ms Molalekoa read through the reasons which contributed towards under spending. She said that the insufficient technical capacity affected the planning and the budget cycles, but that this problem had  been subsequently remedied.

The Chairperson interjected to question how this was done.

She responded that the Department had set up Professional Service Units (PSU). 

She continued that the other reasons for poor planning were due to the technical capacity of implementing agents (IA) not being sufficient, as well as poor services by Professional Service Providers (PSP). Some other reasons included poor performance by contractors, access to sites being difficult in remote areas, and implementation constraints which resulted in shortage of material.

Ms Molalekoa then read through her slide entitled ‘Remedial Actions of the Department Going Forward’ (see attached presentation) and another on the ‘Requested Roll Overs requested by the Department’. Slide 12 indicated which of the rollovers on programmes were not approved, and slide 13 described those that were approved.

The Chairperson intervened and asked what the reasons were why the requests were not approved.

Ms Molalekoa answered that she did not know, as National Treasury did not inform the Department why the requests were not approved. She concluded that the result for the Roll Over request of R38. 755 million not being approved placed a strain on the Department’s ability to perform.

Discussion
Ms R Mashigo (ANC) said she wanted to refer the Department to the August meeting, when the Committee asked the Department what would be possible and what would not be possible to achieve, given the number of schools where the Department had to improve infrastructure. The Department had, at that time, responded that it would be able to finish one school per week, and that mobile classes were an option.

The Chairperson wanted to know if Ms Mashigo was referring to the 221 classrooms, and she replied she did was not sure about the figure.

Mr M Swart (DA) referred to slide 6, which dealt with the Implementing Agents (IAs). He wanted to know if there were penalty clauses, and if so, if they were invoked against those contractors who were not performing. He also said that he was concerned about if there were checks to assess whether the IAs were in fact able to perform their duties.

Mr Swart He was disappointed with the lack of spending on the recapitalisation, as set out on slide 5, which only accounted for 14.3% of spending. He noted that this lack of spending had been ongoing since last year, and he wanted to know what the reasons.

Mr G Snell (ANC) said that at the last meeting the Department was asked to come up with realistic time frames. The original letter stated that R9 billion had been approved for the project but the Department had been under-spending against that amount. The original agreement with the National Treasury would therefore have to be altered. The question would be what the impact of that alteration (because of the non-performance to date) would be. He questioned whether the Department had done anything to recover money lost due to non performance by service providers. This was now the third round, and the professionals undertaking the work should have learnt lessons by then. He questioned what the impact would be if the R1.3 billion rollover was not approved. He also asked when the temporary structures would be rebuilt into permanent structures. As far as he was concerned, there was also no guarantee that the IAs would be able to perform better.

Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) said that most of the problems were repeated time and again, especially the poor expenditure patterns. He wanted to know if the Department was really capacitated to have schools built, and if the Department intended to have the temporary structures simply regarded as permanent structures. He wanted to know what the Department said when it made claims that it had the internal capacity to deal with the problems. He regarded the Department’s spending as slow, and he too questioned if it was confident that it could still spend the money by the end of that year. He noted that the Department did not know what the reasons were for the requested rollover not being approved, but he suggested that it was self-evident that the Department did not have a proper plan, therefore National Treasury would be obliged to turn down the request.

Mr Ramatlakane questioned the cost factor for the mobile classes. He also said he took note that the Department gave a guarantee that the delivery of the school books would be on time. He, however, wanted the Department to re-state that the books would be delivered on time. He wanted to know if the Department was winning the litigation cases and who was carrying the costs. He also questioned whether there was a chance of more litigation in view of the fact that the Department had gone into more contracts with the service providers.

The Chairperson asked what the implications of the non-approval would be for the Department (as set out on slide 11), especially the non approval of the R1.3 billion rollover request. He also asked what would happen to the money that was requested, but not approved by National Treasury. He said that the Department had mentioned that there was increased capacity in the Department, but the Chairperson also indicated that he was not really confident that the capacity would measure up to what was expected.

The Chairperson indicated that a summary should ideally be accompanied with flow chart which would indicate what should happen at a particular time. This would seem to be the ideal way to monitor the expenditure and serve as an effective means to keep track of tenders, and progress of schools built. In that way, the Department would be able to keep track of each IA’s progress. That would also assist in assessing whether or not the timeframes for a particular project had been sufficient.

The Chairperson questioned the fact that some Professional Service Providers could get contracts for up to 10 schools whilst others would get up to 5 schools. He said it made more sense to provide each provider with one school at a time, and, should such school be completed, then the provider could have another school. The Chairperson also said that the Committee should be kept up to date on the progress of each application. That would assist the Committee to assess which of the non-approved rollovers were justifiable denied by National Treasury and which were not.

The Chairperson also asked what happened to the money for the FET colleges, as Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) was complaining that it had not received the FET money since the transition of the FET Colleges to its portfolio. The Chairperson wanted to know when such money would be forthcoming.

Mr Padachayee said that the National Department of Basic Education did not have the money that the Chairperson was referring to, for the FET colleges. When the splitting of function happened, the FET budgets were always with the Provincial Departments. He said he received an e-mail the day before, which had nominated him to assist National Treasury and DHET in locating the money. According to him, it had been over three years since the shift of function, and it would be difficult to locate the money after such a long period.

Mr Padayachee said that after the Department left the meeting in August, some demands were placed on it, and for that reason the Department handed over thick documents setting out each project’s progress. The Department would probably come back with another set of thick documents to outline the position of each IA, as per the contract. There would always be some contractors that fell behind with their projects. There were also various different versions by the various stakeholders as to the period required to build a school. He said that IAs posed many challenges for the Department and this was not only confined to the education projects, but range across a number of departments. Such challenges ranged from extensions for the period required to build the school, and greed, which resulted in the cancellation or voluntary surrendering of contracts for more lucrative contracts. At times, the termination of contracts was not due to shoddy work but rather arose as a result of mismanagement of cash flow or dishonesty. Some companies, such as Armstrong, would most likely re-emerge as another company in order to obtain work from government. By August 2013, the Department had completed 37 schools and more than 20 schools were handed over to the communities.

The Chairperson said that this Committee would probably have to intervene, as Mr Padayachee’s statements were pointing to ‘a can of worms’.

Dr S Van Dyk (DA) said that it looked as if the Department placed the blame on everything and everybody else besides itself. He said that the Committee was looking for answers, but instead had been told that the problem was related to contractors and other departments. He said that he was not satisfied with the answers of the Department thus far.

Ms Mashigo objected that even if the Members did not understand the Departmental approach, the Committee should have looked at whether the Deparmtment was, as it had said that it would, delivered one school per week. She believed that “build” should be replaced with “delivery”. The Department and the Committees should be on the same level and be deliberating on the same issues. The Department should have given its answers on oath. She saw the main issue as delivbery of schools, and the question was not who to blame, but how to move forward, to accommodate children in proper schools.

Ms N Mkhulusi (ANC) stated that she had a different view on the delivery of schools per week. She suggested that the Committee should not be judgmental with the Department, and focus on the projects that had not been completed.  There were schools that had been upgraded and improved and these schools would be handed over to communities. She believed that reasons needed to be advanced for the building of the schools which included the upgraded and new schools.

Mr Ramatlakane wanted to clarify the issues with Mr Padayachee, about whether or not the Department had given an undertaking that one school per week would be built. Based on that information, the Special Grant was made available. He said that the construction of the school was not the contentious issue, but the fact that the Committee was told quite clearly by the Director General of the DBE that one school per week would be built. If it was true that the Acting Director General was arguing with the contractors on the timeframes, then he wanted to know what the timeframes were – in months, and he wanted specifics. He warned that the danger of not adhering to the timeframes was rollovers. The question was what the timeframe for the complete construction of a school was – as a figure on which the Committee could work.

The Chairperson said that after the meeting in August with the DBE, the media had called him in regard to the building of a certain school, and he had said that according to what he had been told, the school was going to be delivered or handed over within a week. He emphasised that it was therefore important for the right terminology to be used. In his view, the focus should be on the flow chart, which would clearly state the timeframes for each school. The contractors could then be monitored and held to account against such time frames, unless some valid reason, such as bad weather, justified the delays.

Mr Padachayee responded, in regard to the flow chart, that planning was based on a 16 to 22 month cycle for each school. However, that would not mean that the project should necessarily be completed within one financial year, and it also did not necessarily mean that would be requests for roll overs.

Mr Snell questioned the Department’s commitment from National Treasury, warning that it might, if funds were not committed, end up with a lot of unfinished projects. He said that the Department was already R2 billion behind, which could escalate to R3 billion.

Mr Padachayee replied that the discussions with Treasury were divided into two parts. The first part of the discussion looked to delivery, and the second to the budget and expenditure. If the discussions had purely to do with full spending, this could result in poor quality. The Department tried to avoid overspending. Money also could not be given to contractors without them having completed the projects. The Department rescheduled the money allocations, but not the projects. When the roll over was requested in January the Department anticipated that certain schools would have been completed. However, it did not take into consideration the time delays on the 27 schools. At that point there had been cuts from the National Revenue Fund, in both the backlogs run and the Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG), which was transferred to provincial departments. The building sector, however, did not cut back on the amount of schools but continued with the projects. There was a cut in other areas of the main compensation budget also in the education sector. There would have to be ongoing discussions with National Treasury in that regard. There were also other grants involved, such as the EIG and other needs of the infrastructure in the sector.

Mr Snell said one of the reasons that the provinces were placed under section 100 (of the Constitution) interventions was as a result of their spending money that they did not have, and therefore having to abandon projects halfway. He said he was not sure whether there was any similar section of the Constitution that applied to national departments.

Mr Padachayee noted that Mr Swart’s question related to the Technical schools Recapitilisation Grant, and he acknowledged that there was low spending in the past few years. This Grant was transferred to the provincial departments, where 200 schools were identified. He said that there was dedicated team which looked at that. Should the Committee need further details in that regard then he would make the people available that worked on the grant. The money would be used towards equipment, refurbishment of the workshops and the training of the teachers. It was particularly important, due to the introduction of the Technical Mathematics subject in 2014.

Mr Padayachee agreed with the issue of realistic timetables, but said also that the expectations from principals had to be taken into consideration. Some of the contractors were able to complete the schools within 12 months. Those contractors who completed projects successfully would be used again, but there were some disappointments with such contractors. In terms of the mobile schools, the 220 schools were the remaining schools under that project. Children were still being taught in mud class rooms, and had no ablution facilities, although temporary facilities were put in place whilst the full projects were being rolled out. That included mobile kitchen and ablution facilities, to offer the learners more dignity.

Mr Snell said that there still must be a guarantee that the schools would be constructed as planned originally for the learners.

Mr Padachayee replied that the plan was budgeted for. For example, he said that there was one school that would be built in the holidays, as the idea was to complete the schools as soon as possible. The Department had the necessary professionals to complete the work, and that included outside people to assist at very short notice. The Department had utilised the Jet services as well as working under the Education Elaboration Trust, in twenty districts in the country, which had also assisted.

Mr Padayachee confirmed that the cost for the mobile classes was around R400 million in total. There had been complaints about ventilation, coldness and durability of the structure. The Chairperson had raised the issue of some of the structures in the Gauteng, which had been taken into account by the Department.

Mr Padayachee noted the questions around savings, but said that the core business of the Department was the delivery of the curriculum to learners and teachers, which was also funded by donors, but that the allocations had been reduced over the years. The Department looked at programmes that were needed and those which were not, but tried not to affect the core service of the Department. The other area was the 10% cut across the board to all the branches; this could be achieved in various ways, such as reducing telephone calls, or flight costs. Such cuts would be monitored on a monthly basis, and there would be weekly monitoring introduced from 2014. Managers were also informed that should they be found with money which was not spent, then certain consequences would follow.

Mr Padayachee confirmed that the delivery of the textbooks applied for the grade 12 and intermediary phases, but did not apply to the delivery of textbooks for every grade. The delivery had been in terms of the agreement with the Council of Education Ministers. There would have been spill-overs by some Provinces in the first or second week, but the main concern would be the monitoring of Limpopo. The deliveries were in progress, firstly to the provinces and then to the schools in line with orders placed by the schools. With regard to the stationery, Limpopo would be behind schedule, as the service provider was only approved last week. The Department was continuously monitoring the situation. There was no guarantee, but the Department was trying to avoid a repeat of what happened in Limpopo in the past. It was still possible that books could be delivered short, or there might be some confusion with languages, and if that happened, then obviously the Department could not claim 100% delivery. However each and every school was due to receive books. The principals should inform the Department if schools did not receive their books, rather than phoning the media – the latter could not supply them with the stationery. The call center and other measures had been aligned for that purpose and the Department would do the necessary to deliver whatever shortage of books might be reported, to the school.

Mr Padachayee further stated that any litigation which related to infrastructure was not necessarily against the Department, but usually against the IA. The parties involved would then go through a mediation process, and get an award. After the meeting with the Deputy Minister, the contractor  Armstrong threatened to take the Department to court, but this litigation did not materialise as Armstrong decided to concede to the penalty imposed upon it. The Department did not cut back on the programme and the momentum with the delivery did improve and would hopefully be speeded up.

Kha Re Gude was dealing with the literacy program for adults. The funding was through a Grant and there was a small unit in the Department that oversaw the management of the programme. Training took place in school, halls, churches and even garages. Materials and papers needed for certificates were provided. About 50 000 were in the programme, and it was still growing.

Ms Molalekoa replied that she was not quite sure how to answer the question of the impact of roll overs that were not approved. If not all the rollovers were approved, that would leave the Department with a shortfall and that might mean cut-backs on some operations. For instance, it had been mentioned that the amount of R22 million had already been paid. For a grant such as HIV and Aids, if the rollover was not approved, then it would mean that the business plan for the Province would have to be changed, as there would not be sufficient funds for the programme. The interim financial statements for the accrual amounted to R238 million. That meant that the work was done before September and the Department would have to pay that amount.

Ms L Yengeni (ANC) had not been at the initial briefing and she wanted clarity on the number of schools that the Department referred to. The Acting DG talked about savings in the Department, and she wanted further information also with regard to the savings. She also wanted to know what the Department did with the money that was saved at the end of the financial year.

Mr G  Snell (ANC) stated that he could only imagine that with such huge projects all kinds of pressures would be on the Department, such as complying with timeframes..He noted that the norms and standards were in the process of being adopted and questioned why the Department should want to move to alternative technology if the contractors lready produced a good quality product. If the quality product was built in accordance with the norms and standards,there should not be reason to change even if the Department had to go to National Treasury to explain.

Mr Ramatlakane asked if the R400 million mentioned by the Acting DG for the mobile classes was for all the classrooms taken together. He asked if this was the total cost for everything, whether everything would be defrayed from the budget of this programme, or if certain items fell within a different budget. He said that he took note of the mention of the 22 months for the building of the schools. The building of the school over twenty-two months was very slow and the profit margin against such a long period would be minimal.

Mr Padachayee replied that when the Department presented to the Committee it was reporting on the 49 schools that had previously been reported to the Committee. It also reported on the 201 schools which had been handed to the Department, and at that time 40 schools were under construction. Some of the schools had since been completed since but as the Department moved forward, it would report on it.

Ms Yengeni asked how many of the 49 schools were completed.

Mr Padayachee told the Committee that 37 schools had been completed.

Ms Molalekoa replied that there was a 10% cut across the board and the money was used for various activities or projects. Some of the activities were not new projects but the Department was just mopping up on these. The Department was also servicing legal services, as there were a lot of cases against the Department for which funding was needed. The Department needed additional funding.

Ms Yengeni asked if each school would take two years to be built, then how many schools were to be built, and when would the whole project be completed. The Department seemed to provide different answers each time it appeared before the Committee. There were various deadlines which were not met, and she feared that once again the Department would provide another different answer, even if the Department was asked to speak under oath. She wondered when the two years to build a school became part of the contract, and where that assessment came from. She said that she was not at the August meeting and the building of the schools within two years was new to her.

The Chairperson said that the core of the discussion was how many schools were involved. The question of the timeframes also had to be addressed. The 2010 building of stadiums brought much experience and lessons on how to build stadiums in a short space of time. He requested a summary on the way forward.

Mr Padachayee said that the timeframe for building a school was seven to nine months. Some of the numbers were mentioned in the August report. The Department wanted the period to be shortened and had to look at ways to build in a quicker manner.

Ms Yengeni asked the question again how many schools would be built.

Mr Padayachee replied that he did not have the numbers of schools, as the information  was sent with the documentation to the Chairperson. He was prepared to resubmit the information to the Committee if the Chairperson required it. Should it need to be updated then he would do so, as some of the schools would only be built in 2015.

Ms Yengeni then asked how many were under construction. She said that the answer by Mr Padachayee was not acceptable. She said that he should have known that the questions would focus on numbers and the building of the schools. It was not acceptable for him to say that he did not know how many schools were to be built and had to revert to the report; this was not helping the meeting proceed and she said that with that kind of leadership the Department was not going anywhere. If he did not know the answer, the Committee would accept that, but then he should state that clearly. With regard to the question how many schools were under construction, he would also have to be clear and if he did not know then he must say so. The problem, to her mind, was really how the deadline would be informed if the Department did not know how many schools were under construction or were to be built. She suspected that the deadlines were not met, because the Department did not know what was going on.

The Chairperson said that the Department must provide the Committee with the details of the new schools, such as the dates of the tenders, which schools were affected by the tenders, and how many schools were awarded to each IA. There should be agreements in place between the IAs and the Department so that the Department could hold the ten IAs liable and monitor the IAs against such agreements. If this was done, the Department would be able to identify the weak link amongst the IAs. He made the appeal for the Department to come up with the flow chart to monitor the IAs so that they would know how many schools were to be completed, or were expected to be completed, within a certain timeframe. The Chairperson noted that several Committee Members had requested the timeframes from the Department, and asked the question how soon the Committee could have it.

Mr Padachayee replied that he would have the information available by Friday.

Ms Yengeni said that what the Committee needed was for the Department to be informed of the progress of the construction. That would include the stage that the construction had reached, and when the construction would be completed. It would also include informing the Committee if the construction had not started, when it would start, and when it would be completed with each and every school. The Committee was not interested in huge documents - just the details mentioned above.

Mr Ramatlakane said that he agreed on the need for the flow chart, but Mr Padachayee did not answer the question of the R400 million.

Mr A Schoeman, Deputy Director General, DBE, replied that the department received 35 huge submissions, of which 123 proposals were to be included in the norms and standards. Some of the big issues that were mentioned were the timeframes. The schools that were delivered by the Department and mentioned by Mr Padayachee were on par with the norms and standards. The R400 million which related to the mobile schools were out on tender and under evaluation. The date that was looked at was March 2014. The price was not looked at but could be slightly more or less.

Mr Padchayee further stated that each of the sites were assessed against what was needed. The Department had gone out to check what the industry charged and from that the Department made the projections as to the cost. Even with the tender, the Department would negotiate with the providers to get the best price.

Mr Ramatlakane asked the question if a quantity surveyor did the costing to ensure that it was the correct estimated price. 

Mr Schoeman replied that this was the capacity Mr Padachayee spoke about, when he mentioned that Department brought in a number of temporarily assigned quantity surveyors and engineers to the Department. They looked at the costing as well as the plans.

Mr Padachayee said Mr Snell’s question related to the alternative technology and the Department had 30 schools in the current financial year. It would grow to 100. Eventually, 60% of all the work from the Department would use innovative billing technology. It was something that had to be addressed, as it involved the issue of green technology and other efficiencies. Price would be a factor. Should conventional technologies be cheaper, the Department would consider it. That was why the Department spoke of alternative technology. Part of the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was to draw up the norms and standards of the technology.

Mr Snell said that he was happy with changing the norms and standards in the future, but questioned changing the norms and standards when the Department was busy with the project. This would place the timeframes under a lot of pressure. There would be no consistency of norms and standards to communities and there would be no logic in it. He strongly recommended that the project should be completed with the same norms and standards that pertained presently, and change the norms and standards only for projects in the future.

The Chairperson confirmed with Mr Snell that the 220 schools were separate from what he referred to above.

Mr Padachayee said that using different technology would apply to a new school only, such as the one used in Limpopo where the entire school was not built with brick and mortar. 

The Chairperson noted that the rollovers were not approved but the Department went ahead and spent the money. The basis for the rollover was that the Department had to show commitment. He wanted clarification from the Department with regard to the money spent despite the fact that the rollover was not approved.

Ms Molalekoa replied that when the rollover was disapproved, some of the money was already spent. She said she made earlier mention of the invoices from the Teachers / Union collaboration, that were received late. The bulk of the money that was spent was before the end of the financial year and all the information in that regard was provided to National Treasury.

The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to understand why the rollover was not approved but it did not include the R1.3 billion for the infrastructure.

Ms Molalekoa replied that the main area was the Teachers / Union Collaboration. The other areas the Department could work around, but this did not apply to that issue.

Mr Ramatlakane asked what the Teachers / Union Collaboration entailed.

Ms Molalekoa replied that it related to the training that was provided by the unions to the teachers, based on an agreement by the Department with the union. The unions provided training to teachers as they also conducted training with their members and therefore had the capacity. The unions did not understand government protocol and therefore submitted their invoices late in the month.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would have to check with National Treasury what the issues  were that led to the non approval of the rollovers, excluding the infrastructure. Building the capacity of monitoring the IAs was important. The information from the Department would be made available to the Committee by Friday. If there were any challenges on that point, the Department should inform the Committee.

The Department confirmed that this would be done. 

Study Tour Report adoption
The draft report on the Committee’s study tour in July was accepted and adopted without amendments.

The meeting was adjourned. 

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