Election of Chairperson; Committee Programme

Higher Education, Science and Innovation

25 June 2014
Chairperson: Ms YN Phosa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

This Committee met for the first time to elect its Chairperson. In a process led by the Committee Secretary, Ms Yvonne Nkwenkwezi Phosa (ANC) was elected, without any objection, as the Chairperson of the Committee.

Meeting report

Election of the Chairperson
The Committee Secretary explained that this was the first meeting of the Committee and that the Chairperson of the Committee will be appointed. He explained that he was going to request nominations from Members and if only one Member was nominated, the nominated Member would be declared the Chairperson. Thereafter, he requested nominations.

Mr Kekane (ANC) nominated Ms Y Phosa (ANC).

Ms Kilian (ANC) seconded the nomination of Ms Y Phosa (ANC)

There was no other nominations and Ms Y Phosa (ANC) was elected as Committee Chairperson.

Committee Programme 
The Chairperson thanked the Members for the confidence shown in her. The Chairperson stated that the Committee is charged with the dauntless task of consolidating the gains made over the last twenty years and ensure an increase of access, equity and quality Post-School Education and Training. She had scanned through the Legacy Report prior to this meeting and these appeared to be the areas of focus.

As Committee members from various political parties, the Chairperson strongly believed that they are brought together for a purpose and had to work as a team to ensure their mandate is achieved. The Committee’s mandate is clearly set out in the National Assembly Rules book, and that will be their guiding document. The Chairperson reminded the Committee that this is not about them, it is about the people they represented, regardless of their different political affiliations. 

The Chairperson spoke about the pillars that would make this Committee stand strong. The first pillar was skills development in terms of their oversight function. This training will allow the Committee to be better equipped to perform an efficient and effective oversight function, over the Department of Higher Education and Training. Thus the Committee is expected to do an intensified oversight function to ensure an acceleration, in the direction of transformation that is envisioned.

The Chairperson said the second pillar is knowledge acquisition. This requires Committee Members to be briefed on the strategy plan, the Department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP), the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, the Legacy Report and all relevant policies. Knowledge acquisition will improve oversight, it creates a yardstick to measure the Department’s performances and ensures implementation of the White Paper. The White Paper and Legacy Report will be distributed in this meeting, so that Committee Members may prepare before the next meeting. The next meeting will follow with a briefing by the Committee staff on the documentation handed out. Thus the importance of knowledge acquisition is that it will assist the Committee to make informed quality decisions and take the Department of Higher Education and Training to new heights.

The Chairperson explained that there would be additional reading including the 21 Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and the 25 university policies. She expects the Committee Members to be guided by the National Growth Plan and the National Development Plan, regarding the Higher Education and Training Department as well as the President of the Republic of South Africa's marching orders, given at the State of the Nation Address. This illustrates the magnitude of work ahead. The Committee Members are expected to prepare for all meetings, to ensure a meaningful contribution is made towards quality Post-School Training, regardless of race, creed and political affiliation. The Chairperson referred to the Committee as the A-team, which requires knowledge acquisition to achieve fruitful deliberations with the Department, with meaningful contribution and engagement by Members. 

The Chairperson emphasized the importance of self- management in respect of the magnitude of work ahead. She requested self-management in such a way as to prioritise the Committee's work. She explained that the key is time management, to be present, engage and do due diligence at meetings, to achieve quality output. The Committee must embark on forward-looking actions, working together as a team, where she is also a team member.

The Chairperson spoke of her confidence in the Committee Members and her belief that there is no substitution for hard work. She regards this Committee as the engine for the radical transformation in the Higher Education and Training sector. She has further confidence in the Committees support staff capability. The support staff from a research and development point of view, coordinate the Committee's work and provide expert advice to ensure quality outcomes by the Committee. Throughout the Committee's tenure, they will rely on the support staff’s expert knowledge, professionalism, and work ethic to ensure quality reports are submitted on time. The support staff is expected to be timeous in all their operations providing accurate and quality reports. In respect of education, everyone must lead by example and be professional. Committee members in this respect are required to be presentable, a good image and political trust will earn the Committee respect. Once there is trust the Committee will be respected. This will enable influence over the respective parties and make the changes envisioned. She described the Committee as a platform to talk about real issues. The aim is to take this nation to new heights so that we are respected as a country by the international community. Education is the best weapon to change the nation and that is this Committee's strategy.

Introductions by Committee Members
The Chairperson asked the Members to introduce  themselves, who they are, where they are from and their academic background.

Chairperson Y Phosa (ANC), commonly known as Pinkie, has been married for thirty-seven years and has three children. Her first born is thirty-four years old and she has two grandchildren. The Chairperson has been a social worker for eighteen years and has worked in the legislative sector for fifteen years. Academically, she obtained a BA in Social Work from the University of the North in 1981. She then did a short diploma in Business Management from Damelin, has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Pretoria, did a short course with UNISA in Economics and Public Finance and a short course in Good Governance and Public Leadership at the University of Witwatersrand. She was previously a deputy speaker in the provincial legislature, an MEC for finance, and worked last year in the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. 

Mr C Kekana (ANC) comes from Soweto. He is the former Mayor of Greater Johannesburg and Mayor of Soweto. Thereafter, he served two years from 2000-2002 on the Johannesburg Tender Committee. In 2004 he came to Cape Town. He obtained a BA in Political Science at the University of the North, 1979-1980. He did his honours in Development Studies, 1984-1985 at the University of Witwatersrand. In 1986-1991 he did a Masters in Sociology, the title of his thesis was on the African Middle Class.

Ms J Kilian (ANC) said she believes that this is one Committee  where we can actually join hands and have less politics in order to really make a difference to the future of our country. She obtained a BA in Political Science and Languages at the University of Stellenbosch. She then did translations for SABC. She has three kids. Her personal life led her into politics, serving in local government, then as head of school education in Gauteng and then Parliament. She believes that education is a way to change the nation.

Mr E Siwela (ANC)from Mpumalanga is married, with three daughters and is a teacher by profession. He studied at UNISA, obtaining a BA and Bachelors in Business Administration. He also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management. This is his first time in Parliament and he is here to learn and contribute positively.

Ms M Nkadimeng (ANC) said she believes together as a team we are going to ensure this machine in the radical transformation of Higher Education is oiled. She is married with four children and five grandchildren. She obtained a BA Degree, Diploma and Honours in Education. Presently, she is studying towards a Diploma in School Management. She worked as a teacher for twenty-five years, and for ten of those years she was a deputy principal. From 2006-2010, she worked in her Local Municipality.

Ms S Mchunu (ANC) from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, is married, with three children and has been a teacher for fourteen years. She was also a principal and the Head of Department. In 2009, she started working for the Museum, as the Assistant Director of Education. Since 2010 until recently, she was a part-time tutor and supervisor for UNISA. She has a BA from UNITRA in the Eastern Cape, BA Education Honours Degree from the University of Natal obtained in 2002, and has a Certificate in Basic Adult Education from UNISA. She has a Certificate in Management from University of Kwazulu-Natal and a Master of Philosophy in Culture and Education from Saint Augustine College.

Mr M Tshishonga (AGANG) said he believes that education is not a theoretical thing, it must be believed and that is how he obtained his education. He said it is true that education takes one from poverty to another level. He is an example of this because in order to obtain his law degree, he had to leave his studies and work to pay for his fees. He worked as a Clerk of the Court, a Public Prosecutor, magistrate, law advisor, the Secretary for Justice and became the Deputy Director General of Justice. He was instrumental in amalgamating the Department of Justice. He obtained a Diploma in Business Management from Damelin, which sparked an interest in the corporate world. He was the chairperson of a listed company, and the Chairperson of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA). He is the chairperson of four non-listed companies. He then did a Good Governance course with the University of Pretoria and wrote a book, called the 'Whistle Blower'. He is married with three boys, two girls and grandchildren.

Prof B Bozzoli (DA) has been an academic all her life, a sociologist by profession and she has written several books. She was Deputy-Vice Chancellor of  the University of Witwatersrand, a Senior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor and is a part-time lecturer. She believes that higher education is in need of reform and her passion has drawn her to this portfolio. She is married, with three children and lives in Johannesburg.

Mr Y Cassim (DA) from the Eastern Cape is a BCom accounting graduate and is currently doing his Masters in Public Administration. He is a former SRC President at the Mandela Metropolitan University. He aims to ensure as a team we can work for quality, relevant and accessible higher education, particularly for poor students. He is married since September 2013.

Mr M Mbatha (EFF) is from Durban and married with four sons. He studied Business Management at the Peninsula Technicon and is a trained buyer by profession and also an economist. He served as an SRC President, also on several presidential bodies at Peninsula Technicon. He has been serving as a Deputy Chair at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology since 2000.

Due to time constraints, the Chairperson postponed staff introductions until the following meeting. She requested that the Committee to prepare for the meeting on Wednesday, 2 July 2014, by reading the documentation handed out today.  At the following meeting the Committee Members will be briefed by the Committee staff who willl summarise the Legacy Report and provide a Budget analysis, in preparation for the Committee's meeting with the Department.
The meeting was adjourned.

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