The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) presented its annual report to the Select Committee. The Department managed to achieve 72% of its overall targets. A lack of capacity and funding were cited as the main challenges for its under-performance. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges had a significant increase in enrolments, but the Department was yet to finalise the policies governing these colleges. A Ministerial Committee was reviewing the funding frameworks of Community Education and Training Colleges. Considerable efforts were made to refine legislation and policies directives. DHET had launched a social inclusion policy framework to establish disability units in all institutions.
The highlights and performance for each of the programmes were presented. Programme 1 failed to achieve any of its three targets, although it had now put strategies in place to deal with vacancies, the IT framework and awards of bids. It had resolved 99.5% of the queries received including those that came through the Presidential Hotline, and had successfully transferred TVET and CET college staff from a provincial to a national competency. Programme 2 achieved two of its three targets, having managed to migrate and integrate data, and communicated a career development draft policy. The 2014/2015 Ministerial Guidelines to give direction to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and three quality councils were published, to ensure feedback from the system and identify where corrections were needed. Monitoring and evaluation of SAQA and the three councils was completed. A list of occupations in high demand was gazetted. The Social Inclusion Policy framework was finalised and approved by the Minister. The unachieved targets related to late submission of a report on international engagement. Programme 3 provided policy and regulatory frameworks, and 22 of the 26 targets were achieved. Numbers of enrolments and the demographic statistics were presented. The Sefako Makgatho University was established as a juristic person and independent institution. The Department was monitoring the grant for the University of Mpumalanga and Sol Plaatje University. Other policies and spending were described as well as the reasons for under-performance. DHET did not agree with the rationale of including targets such as enrolments, or the success rate,since it had no control over these, but it was bound to report on them. Programme 4 achieved one out of its five targets, and headcount figures were presented. This branch's performance suffered from lack of infrastructure and insufficient student funding. Targets were given and explained, and it was also noted that bursary recipient targets were not achieved. Student, teacher and curriculum-related reasons for under performance were explained. This branch was bidding for additional funding to improve monitoring, support and lecturer development. Provincial figures were presented, with an explanation of the proportional allocation of bursaries. Programme 5 had achieved all six of its targets. Finally, the DHET presented its financial information, and described the Audit Committee report, which was generally satisfied with performance but emphasised instances of non-compliance as concerns. The findings of the Auditor-General were explained, although it was stressed that the DHET had achieved an unqualified audit. R1.16 million was unspent, mostly in employee compensation. An audit action plan had been completed. The Department's surplus declined in this year, because of decline in voted funds. Its sustainability had been called into question because it was involved in large claims from third parties. Measures to avoid over-spending were in place. The DHET staff were under some pressure since the TVET colleges now fell under this Department.
Members asked how the Department funded the community college students, asked about timelines and commented that the Minister of Higher Education and Training must respond quickly to the student concerns. They asked about training and why the targets were not achieved. They wanted to know who funded the trips overseas and what value had been gained. Members questioned whether universities could afford to accommodate students for free, asked where it was drawing its teachers and wondered if the TVET colleges were helping rural and poor students. They asked what outcomes were achieved from prior action plans. Some Members offered to convey their thoughts on possible funding of free education, asked if the DHET used labour brokers, and what the autonomy of institutions actually meant. They commented on prevalent racism still at some universities, and suggested that programme should be offered and any students involved in any racism should have funding withdrawn. Members asked how the over-achievement in some areas had been funded and said this was of concern. They disputed the policy that said that smaller provinces should receive lower allocations of funding, wondered why bids were taking so long, and wanted to know exactly what was being done to address low achievement and to address fraud in bursary applications. Members questioned what was happening with the TVET curricula, wanted a progress report on interactions with the Council on Higher Education, why backgrounds were not checked and vetted why performance awards happened only at upper levels, what would happen where universities failed to submit books for audit, and whether salaries and supervision in the TVET migration had been attended to. The Department answered some questions, but noted that political answers were needed on some, which the Minister would address and that a supplementary report would address the other issues raised by the Committee.
Department of Higher Education and Training 2014/15 Annual Report briefing
Mr Firoz Patel, Deputy Director General: Human Resource Development Planning, Department of Higher Education and Training, noted that this presentation would cover the programme performance against predetermined objectives, and the financial information of the Department (or DHET) in the financial year 2014/15. He noted that the strategic goals were set out in the 2010 to 2014 strategic plan. The five budget programmes under review had a combined total of 43 predetermined targets. 31 (72%) were achieved and 12 were not achieved. Considerable efforts were made to refine legislation and policies directives. The efforts included developing a new national plan for Post-School Education and Training, review of the Higher Education Act by the Joint Task Team, and the publication of a policy on Provision of Distance Education in South Africa. The Minister of Higher Education and Training had approved the National Trade Test Regulations to be implemented from 1 April 2015. The DHET had launched a social inclusion policy framework to establish disability units in all institutions.
Other performance highlights over the year included an increase in student enrolments at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. Mr Patel said a Ministerial Committee was established to review funding frameworks at Community Education Training (CET) colleges to address student access, economy and efficiency. The Department also published a draft National Articulation Policy and Guidelines to address low articulation levels in the system.
Ms Lulama Mbobo, Chief Director of Corporate Services, DHET, presented Programme 1: Administration highlights. She said the purpose of this programme was to provide overall management and administration to the Department. The three targets set were not achieved as at 31 March 2015, but strategies were now in place to deal with the under-performance. The Department would be trying to fill all vacancies within the stipulated time. It would implement the Information and Communication Technology framework and improve the time to conclude the awarding of bids.
Ms Mbobo presented the Programme's other significant achievements. Programme 1 had a vacancy rate of 10.28%, only slightly above the 10% target. The internship programme gave access to 7% of interns, exceeding the national target of 3%. Eleven of the sixteen disciplinary cases were finalised within the 90 day requirement. The Programme satisfactorily resolved 99.5% of the queries received including those that came through the Presidential Hotline. DHET also successfully transferred TVET and CET college staff from a provincial to a national competency.
Mr Patel presented on Programme 2: Human Resources Development, Planning and Monitoring Coordination. This programme provided strategic direction in the development, implementation and monitoring of Department policies and human resources strategy. The programme achieved two of its three targets. It had integrated data from 50 TVET, 23 higher education institutions, and 21 Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) colleges into the education and training management information system. A draft career development policy was communicated and consultations with stakeholders were completed. The 2013 post-school education data and statistics were published. The 2014 statistics were in the process of being finalised. The Framework on the Skills Supply and Demand annual report was approved by the Minister for public comment. The Department published the 2014/2015 Ministerial Guidelines to give direction to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and three quality councils.
Mr Patel explained that the publishing of policies, gazettes and frameworks was to ensure feedback from the system and to show where corrective measures could be implemented. Monitoring and evaluation of SAQA and the three councils was completed. A list of occupations in high demand was gazetted. The Social Inclusion Policy framework was finalised and approved by the Minister. The unachieved target related to the number of international engagement plans developed and implemented report. The report included details on the International bilateral agreements, renewed agreements, as well as visits to and from partner countries ,but this was completed seven days after the financial year-end.
Mr Mahlubi Mabizela, Chief Director: University Policy, DHET, presented on Programme 3: University Education. The purpose of the programme was to develop and coordinate policy and regulatory framework as well as provide financial support to universities, the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the National Institute of Higher Education. Of the 26 targets set, the branch achieved 22. He explained that the March 2015 report was for the 2013 academic year, which was audited in 2014. The 2015 enrolments would be audited in 2016.
Mr Mabizela said 983 698 students enrolled for universities, which was 11 698 more than targeted. 689 503 were Africans (13 503 more than targeted). African students now make up 70% of the system. 573 698 females enrolled (over 9 000 more than targeted) which meant that 58% of enrolled students were female. Mr Mabizela added that for the past 15 years, female student enrolment had been consistently higher than male enrolment. There were 17 960 first time Foundation students, who were targeted for support for their academic achievements. The DHET recorded 50 773 post-graduates which was over 2 00 more than the targeted amount. Doctoral graduates numbered 2 0512, or 101 more than targeted.
Sefako Makgatho University was established as a juristic person and independent institution. The Department was monitoring the earmarked grant for the University of Mpumalanga and Sol Plaatje University.
The National Policy on professional qualifications for Educators in Community and Adult Education and Training was published. R2.2 billion was disbursed for infrastructure development and various projects. Various intervention programme reports had been approved for various universities to deal with financial health and output of scarce skills graduates.
He noted that the Department had strategies to address the under-performance against targets. The targets that were not achieved were due to technical reasons. The target for first time enrolments was 178 000. It was not achieved because of the new system at UNISA that caused a drop in number of first year students. Mr Mabizela said there were some targets over which the DHET had no control. He explained that at times, it would drop the target numbers, so that the universities would focus on achieving quality and not quantity targets.
The proportion of enrolments for business: science: humanities target was missed by 1%. The Minister focused on humanities studies because this had been neglected in terms of funding in the past. There was also a focus on teacher education, with some initiatives already bearing fruits of teacher graduates.
The success rate of students was recorded as 76% instead of 74.6%. Mr Mabizela said even though it was an error, the target was still not achieved by 0.6%. He reiterated that this was an example of a target that should not be set up by DHET. He said the Department had discussed this with the Auditor General (AG) but to no avail. He believed that the universities had better control over the success rate and the Department could set an ideal target around 80%.
Ms Gerda Magnus, Chief Director: Vocational and Continuing Education, DHET, presented on Programme 4: Vocational and Continuing Education and Training (or the Community College branch). This branch set five targets for the financial year end but only achieved one target. The achievements for the year included establishing nine community colleges as planned. The headcount for 2014 enrolments increased by 39 080 but it was still 90 000 off target.
She cited the reasons for the branch’s under performance as a lack of infrastructure and insufficient student funding.
Ms Magnus gave the overall certification rates performance on exit levels. Most of the targets were not achieved. The exception was the N1-N3 level target that was exceeded by 9.5%. She said there was a direct correlation between mathematics/mathematics literacy and the national certificate (vocational) (NV(C)) programme. The measured maths targets showed that NV(C) levels 2 and 4 were below target pass rates and level 3 exceeded the target by 0.4%. Maths Literacy also made the target for one programme, level 3.
The branch also measured the performance of bursary recipients and found that it had underperformed on all three levels. Ms Magnus said the branch was questioning the value for money and also ensuring support for students so that they performed better.
Ms Magnus gave the student related reasons for under performance as:
- Poor attendance and disruptions by strikes. The attendance policy was in its first year of implementation
- Poor profiling of students who are receiving bursaries and those getting into the programmes where they were not well-placed. The DHET was working on application guidelines to deal with this
- Poor proficiency in English and numeracy
Lecturer related reasons for under performance were listed as:
- Lack of pedagogical training
- Unsuitable teaching and learning management practices
- High staff turnover and inability to recruit appropriately qualified staff
Curriculum related reasons were:
- N-programme subjects were outdated and poorly formulated
- Lack of systematic screening of teaching and learning material
Ms Magnus said the branch was now bidding for more funding to improve monitoring, support and lecturer development. It was also reviewing the N-programmes. The development of curriculum frameworks was under way. Lastly, it was ensuring that there would be on-course and non-academic support for students, especially bursary recipients.
She noted that pages 21 to 24 of the presentation highlighted the detailed tables of the TVET College bursaries and subsidies per province. She commented that the number of bursary beneficiaries was below the national target. She explained that KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were awarded bigger proportions, since they had the largest student numbers. Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape received the smallest proportions. The subsidies followed the same proportions per province.
A total of 3 271 Community Colleges were established. All small centres were grouped together under one administrative function. Gauteng only had 47 centres yet the majority of students came from this province, because of the size of the centres.
Ms Magnus then showed the enrolment numbers per province and per programme. Total enrolments were 709 535 students, with Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal having the largest numbers.
Mr Zukile Mvalo, Deputy Director General: Skills Development, DHET, presented Programme 5: Skills Development results. This programme achieved all six of its set targets, and he highlighted a few. The artisan learners target was exceeded. The target for competent artisan learners was also exceeded by 1 389 students. The target number of graduates receiving structured work place learning was exceeded by 3 383 students. 52% of Indlela national artisan learners passed trade tests. 60 audits were conducted at SETA or QCTO accredited centres.
Mr Lucian Kearns, Chief Director: Supply Chain Management, Office of the CFO, DHET, took the Committee through DHET's financial information. The Audit Committee report reflected its views on the effectiveness of the internal controls of the Department, the quality of reporting as well as internal audit and risk management. The Audit Committee was satisfied with all of these points. The Audit Committee had emphasised the instances of non-compliance that were raised by the Auditor-General (AG) and raised concerns regarding the collation and reporting of performance information.
The AG had given the DHET an unqualified audit opinion, but there were some findings. The finding of significant uncertainty related to the Department being a defendant in a lawsuit. The Department was opposing the claims and the outcome could not yet be determined. There were no material findings under Programme 3: University Education. The AG was unable to obtain information on the reliability of the performance information under Programme 4: Vocational and Continuing Education and Training. Programme 5: Skills Development had insufficient evidence on the achievement of certain performance targets. The AG also found misstatements on the reported performance information.
The AG reported on non-compliance issues in the risk management and internal controls of performance information. There were misstatements in the financial statements and procurement procedures regarding quotations were not complied with. The AG also flagged the insufficient verification process before appointments are made. It raised concern about the inadequate consequence management, insufficient implementation of action plans, and funding and human resources capacity constraints.
There was R 1.16 million unspent. Mr Kearns showed the under-expenditure per programme, with the largest portion coming from employee compensation.
He then outlined that, in order to improve on these findings, an audit action plan had been completed. The Department branch heads would be reporting on the progress of the plans, bi-weekly, to the Director-General. Due to insufficient staff capacity, there were already delays in implementation.
The general impact of the financial year's activities on operations was reflected upon. The Department surplus declined, due to improved utilisation of donor resources and decline in utilisation of voted funds. Most of the voted funds were used and strict measures to avoid overspending were put in place. The Accounting Officer emphasised the capacity constraints in the Department.
Pressure on the economy and limitations on resources could mean the Department will report similar results at the end of the current financial year. The management staff were also under pressure due to the additional responsibilities following the inclusion of TVET colleges to DHET's portfolio.
Mr H Groenewald (DA: North West) asked how the Department funded the community college students. He said that the Department reported that the policies were not in place yet, leaving room for corruption to take place. He asked whether a timeline for the policies was in place. He added that the DHET was clearly “in a mess” in relation to the funding of students, hence the protests. Mr Groenewald believed the Minister needed to give quick answers.
Mr Groenewald asked if the educators who were appointed were sufficiently skilled to conduct the programmes. He commented that it was unacceptable for a branch to achieved none of its three targets.
He enquired about the visits to other countries, how many visits there were per year and the cost, and also asked who bore the costs of hosting. He asked what had been achieved with these visits and what had been implemented, saying that if there were not significant results this could amount to fruitless expenditure.
He then asked if universities could afford to accommodate all students for free, doubting that this was possible, and if the Department was considering this, he wondered how this would be done and where the money would come from. An answer was needed before 2016.
Mr Groenewald asked in which towns were the nine newly established TVET colleges. He said if these were mostly in urban areas, they were not serving the purpose of the TVETs as helping the rural communities. He wanted to know how the Department was supporting rural and poor people.
He said there was already a shortage of educators in schools, so he wanted to know where the Department was getting educators for the 2371 community colleges.
Lastly, he said that there was constant talk of action plans and turn around policies but the actual outcomes were not being reported on. He asked what the outcomes of action plans actually were.
Ms L Mathys (EFF: Gauteng) said she would be happy to give some possible plans on how to fund free education. She asked whether the vacant positions were administration functions or referred to vacancies for educators. She said it was of concern, because there was a high unemployment rate but departments were not able to fill positions.
She wanted to know whether the Department used labour brokers and how it managed them if it did so. She said that even though there were attempts to give universities autonomy on how they were to manage their budgets, there would come a time when the Department might need to force universities to act in certain ways.
She asked how the university education programme set enrolment targets and what informed these targets.
Ms Mathys said she had not seen any report on what was being done to absorb students who were not able to get into universities even though they may have qualified to do so, and wondered what could be done for them other than sending some overseas. Even the new universities were too small to accommodate all students.
Ms Mathys said that the Committee had been on an oversight visit to the University of the Free State (UOFS) and found that nothing had changed regarding race relations. She noticed that all this University had done was to increase numbers of black students, yet the university was still predominantly white. She suggested an integration programme that would teach students to live together because the so-called “born-frees” were still racist, and she suggested that any students refusing to integrate should be refused access to higher education.
Ms Mathys finally asked how programme 4 set TVET colleges targets, without a budget.
Ms L Dlamini (ANC: Mpumalanga) said she appreciated the effort made by UOFS. She believed that racism in students was taught from home, and she supported the idea of a bridging course for integration.
She asked that the Department standardise the format for all reports because it improved the decision making process. She said she too was worried about areas of over-achievement because without wanting to discourage hard work, she wanted to know where the money for additional activities was found – and if this was funded by unauthorised expenditure. Ms Dlamini said the national monitoring and evaluation office, if there was one, was not strong, as if should assist with reporting standards. The report did not show the total percentage of expenditure in relation to performance. The AG's report raised the issue of inadequate information on performance, and that was something with which that the national monitoring and evaluation programmes could assist.
She believed that the Department was not taking risk management seriously. She asked how the Department was currently managing risks and if it had a risk committee or a risk management unit. She said that it would be critical for unforeseen events - for example the recent student protests.
Ms Dlamini asserted that there was no such thing as “a small province”. She suggested that all students of provinces with low numbers should receive bursaries. She said it was not acceptable that some provinces were getting 2% and 6% because they had fewer centres. Free education was a policy decision, and that would not be made by the Department, which did not have the capacity to do so, but would be a Parliamentary decision taken after recommendations from its stakeholders. She said the DHET was in trouble because the decision was taken by Parliament, and must see to it that it is implemented. The Department must make provision to achieve this.
Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA: Western Cape) wanted to know why the Department was taking so long to award bids. She asked if the budget meant for bids was rolled-over or used for other functions where bids were not awarded. She noted that Programme 4 achieved only one of five targets; and she suggested that the Department assign a team to find out what the problem is. She asked what the Department was doing regarding the problem of low attendance and numeracy levels at colleges. She said that the Department should be able to assist at the provincial departments, it could not sit with problems and not have answers. She said that even though the Department had bursary policies which were investigated, the student protests were still happening. She had found that some students were fraudulent in their claims and had seen students at her son's college using their grandparents' details to apply for bursaries. She said that the money allocated to bursaries was huge but because the DHET was careless in addressing the root causes, it was still sitting with problems.
Ms T Mququ (ANC: Eastern Cape) noted that four senior managers had not signed their performance agreements and she wanted to know how they were to be assessed during performance reviews.
The Chairperson said that ii was problematic that no political leadership was present at this meeting because there were political questions being raised that could not be answered by the officials.
The Chairperson noted that Sefako Makgatho University was the first of its kind in the country to be registered as a juristic person and being autonomous, and thus wondered what the Department’s role was going to be in the administration of the university, and how this would match with its autonomy. She wanted to know the extent of the Department’s involvement in the targets the universities would set.
She recalled that the NC(V) programmes were introduced as an alternative to the outdated programmes offered at TVET colleges, but the old curriculum had to remain because the industry preferred them. She wanted to know if the students had any options or whether there was any combination of curriculum at the colleges.
The Chairperson said that the Department had appointed people to assist with capacitating the colleges. She recalled that the Department was supposed to work with the Council for Higher Education and industry leaders. She wanted to know the progress of that, noting that the Committee had not received feedback. She added that the DHET must ensure that lecturers are qualified for what they were doing.
Ms Mbobo said that there was a collective agreement to shift funds from Programme1: Administration, hence the vacancy rate. She said it was a political decision.
The Chairperson wanted to know if the Department must remain with the vacancies and what effect this had on salary upgrades. She appreciated that there had been successes with the bursaries at the TVET colleges but there was still not enough, and the money invested compared to the output shows that the Department was not getting a good return for investments. She asked who was checking learner progress and if the Department was able to recoup the funding from students who dropped out.
She also enquired why the Department employed people whose backgrounds had not been checked.
The Chairperson noted that it appeared that performance awards were confined to upper levels, as she did not see awards for levels 1 and 2.
She also wanted to know what happened to universities who did not meet the audit requirements or who did not submit books for auditing.
She noticed that the report book reflected amounts that provinces returned to the Department. Since those amounts were planned for certain programmes, she asked how these programmes were affected by the funds returned.
Lastly, the Chairperson said that TVET staff migration was finalised in April 2015, and she asked if the issue of salaries was attended to. She also asked about some staff members with degrees being supervised by those with lower qualifications. Her question was whether salaries were rationalised.
She said the DHET may reply in writing to any of these questions.
Mr Firoz Patel said the questions were quite substantial and could need another session. He said that some questions would be followed up on, as the Department would have to get the extra details required, but he suggested that perhaps the officials should go through and answer what questions they could at the meeting, then send a further report addressing any unanswered questions.
Ms Dlamini asked if there was coordination of bursaries and whether the Department knew how many students held bursaries from the state, municipalities and para-statals.
Mr Patel said there was a joint meeting going on to understand the shortfalls of the current year. The discussions included where to find money for the 0% increase and how to reprioritise the budget. The outcomes would be set, with a short term, medium and long term trajectory to deal with the problem. He asked the Committee to bear in mind that the Department needed some time to deal with the problem.
Mr Patel said he had just come back from Brussels, and the costs of this trip were covered by government. He said he returned with 26 000 euros and with a plan on education for Early Childhood Development. He only had to pay for refreshments. When official government delegations came to visit South Africa, the Department provided ground transport only. There was a similar arrangement when the Department's officials travelled overseas.
He noted that there were different plans for free education but the Department needed to see how it could shift and reprioritise funding. He said he was looking forward to the document with suggestions from Hon Mathys. He assured the Committee that there were processes taking place.
Mr Patel said that the Department does not outsource or involve labour brokers and all services provided were sourced in-house. He explained that the National Skills Fund recently moved into new offices and took over the security contract, only until it could get into its own cycle.
Targets were set according to what was deemed correct and according to what the Department could afford out of its budget. He explained that some points on which the Department had fallen short were not money related but were process issues, for example, awaiting approval from the Minister. He said that with other targets, the Department was unable to convince the Committee on Monitoring and Evaluation to revisit, despite the fact that some were not within the control of the Department. All targets were normally reported on in the dashboard format but some programmes had too much detail and were therefore compressed.
He said that the universities did not have a capacity problem, but the issue was finding funding for expansion. The universities would need to increase lecturers and infrastructure budget to increase enrolments.
Mr Patel said that the AG's report indicated the lack of a National Monitoring and Evaluation office in the management report. He stressed that the Department was getting these reports due to being underfunded in terms of monitoring functions. He said it was reporting and evaluating 101 entities, and the restrictions and cost cuts made this task even harder. The staff were trying their best but he described it as an almost impossible task. He explained that non-delivery against targets would not always result in a saving. For example, not delivering a document did not result in savings.
The Department would monitor the bursaries through the unit for coordination and he said he would make that information available to the Select Committee.
He agreed that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFS) issue was very disheartening because the policy agreed that funding should go to poor students, but sometimes undeserving students would get funding. He said there was a new Chairperson at NSFAS and a forensic audit was under way.
The DHET had a Performance Management Toolkit, but AG wanted a computerised system. The Department procured it and it was being implemented.
In response to questions on the autonomy of universities, Mr Patel said the Higher Education Amendment Bill talks of academic freedom (which is non negotiable) as a constitutional right. However, where public funds are used, the universities should then answer to government. This meant that universities would get autonomy on management decisions, but would not have autonomy around the non-negotiable constitutional matters, and this would deal with things like racism.
Mr Patel said NSFAS conducted research on bursary recipients and the Department would follow up on that.
Mr Patel said that when TVET colleges did not submit documents for audit, the process was to send a letter for the Council on Higher Education to investigate the problem.
Mr Patel addressed the funding that was returned by the provinces, and agreed that a lot was not delivered, especially in regard to the Foundational Grants. He said this was one of the sections inherited in April, and if the Department moved money from one area to another, it would create problems. He explained that the Department was unable to equalise allocations immediately across colleges in the province, because where it moved money, this would affect people too.
Mr Patel agreed that, when looking at the required skills of lecturers and their qualifications, there was a big mismatch and up to R4 million was missing in this regard. He explained that it sometimes did happen that some staff members were supervised by lesser qualified managers because older people in the industry generally had fewer qualifications than younger employees.
Ms Mbobo responded on questions to do with when the TVET colleges policies would be in place, and she explained that the Administration programme had developed 48 policies altogether. The DHET was in the process of consulting with the relevant structures for implementation. She said when staff moved to a new employer, they would bring along the conditions of service from their old employer and the new employer had 12 months to regularise these conditions of service into the new environment.
The vacancies reported upon related to the Head Office vacancies and not colleges.
She said the Risk Management Committee was in place, and it was chaired by Mr Patel. The Department also had a unit in the office of the Deputy Director for fraud prevention, risk management plans and operational risk plans. She explained that some of the problems were picked up by the Department and for three years, it had been coming to Parliament asking for more money to deal with these concerns.
Ms Mbobo responded to concerns about the Department’s capacity. She said the Department had been upfront about not having adequate capacity for growth and expansion. The administration capacity had not improved either, despite increasing responsibilities.
The Chairperson requested that Ms Mbobo respond to the rest of the questions in writing.
The Chairperson raised a few concerns in her closing remarks. She said the Select Committee had always advised against using college staff to do the administration of NSFAS applications, and that NSFAS should do its own administration for accountability purposes.
She said it was improper for the DHET to have litigation to the value of R3 million. She asked that it look into this figure, as it seemed far too high.
The Chairperson also said that the targets for Programme 4 were too low. She understood the Department’s challenges but it said it needed to ensure that Programme 4 was properly funded in the next human resources, administration and financial planning strategies.
She advised that the DHET should take note of the AG's findings. She congratulated the Department on having achieved an unqualified audit since inception. She added that it should improve performance and attend to the AG's issues to move towards a clean audit.
Adoption of minutes
The Committee adopted minutes of meetings on 14 and 28 October, with a few corrections of minor grammatical errors.
The meeting was adjourned.