Committee Reports

Basic Education

20 June 2017
Chairperson: Ms N Mokoto (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

Apologies were received from the Minister, Ms Angie Motshekga.

The Committee adopted outstanding minutes of meetings as well as Reports prepared after oversight visits. All minutes and Reports were adopted, some with minor amendments. There was discussion on the absence of the Minister in the meeting; and also, discussion on various approaches on how to conduct oversight visits. The Committee also raised issues of foreign learners and teachers.

Meeting report

Mr Llewellyn Brown, Committee Secretary, informed the Committee that the Chairperson, Ms N Gina (ANC), was absent. He asked for nominees for acting Chairperson for the meeting.
Ms N Mokoto (ANC) was nominated and appointed Acting Chairperson for the meeting.

Apologies were received from the Minister, Ms Angie Motshekga.
The Acting Chairperson informed the Committee of a new Member, Mr I Ollis (DA).

Draft Committee Report on Oversight Visit to Ekurhuleni North, Ekurhuleni South and Tshwane North Education Districts, KwaZulu-Natal Province
Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) requested that the 10-km walking distance to school must be noted as a challenge the learners.  She noted that recommendations made had no timelines, which meant challenges as to how the recommendations would be undertaken.

The Acting Chairperson thanked Ms Tarabella-Marchesi for raising that and asked Mr Brown to note that valid point about the time frames. It must be a standard, perhaps for the future.

The Ms N Mokoto noted that pages 22 and 23 were missing from the report and asked Mr Brown to get them.

Ms J Basson (ANC), supported the addition of the 10 km challenge raised by Ms Tarabella-Marchesi.  She also moved for the adoption of the report.
Mr T Khoza (ANC) raised concern that there was no recommendation on removing asbestos roofs.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi responded pointing to page 38 bullet 8.3 to which recommendations on asbestos roof is highlighted.
Ms Mokoto asked the Committee to hold on adopting until the missing pages from the reports are back.

Draft Committee Report on Oversight Visits to Ekurhuleni North, Ekurhuleni South and Tshwane North Education Districts, Gauteng Province
Mr T Khoza said  page 5, paragraph 4.1 seems misplaced.

The Acting Chairperson asked paragraph that 4.1 to be expunged from the document.
He raised an omission on Page 25 paragraph 6.3, noting that learners are learning in Tswana and yet they need Tsonga. The language of instruction in the school is Tswana. However, we need to align the language of teaching with the language of the area which is Tsonga. It must form part of the recommendations.  There was also a general concern on orientation of teachers. There was a recommendation that it be reflected that the district focus the teacher centre to achieve the desired outcome. It seems they are just working without particular direction.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi noted a typographical error on page 31.
Ms C Majeke (UDM) noted a typographical error on page 30.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi asked for clarity on whether the storage referred on page 34 was for food or other things.

Ms Basson responded that it is related to food.

Ms Mokoto added that the connecting word was wrong and needed to change to show that the storage is for food.

Ms Mokoto asked Mr H Khosa (ANC) about the school with overloaded transport

Mr Khosa responded that he did not know the name of the school.   

Ms Mokoto asked that the last paragraph on page 42 bullet 6.9.2, be rephrased.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi said although she was not on the oversight to Gauteng, it seemed what schools were evaluated on differed from province to province. She suggested a template, and an example of Gauteng, saying the Committee is looking for computers whereas in KwaZulu-Natal it is on infrastructure. She asserted that it seems the Committee lowered standards when it went KZN. There should be a standard of things to check otherwise some things may be left out.

Mr Khoza recommended that Ms Tarabella-Marchesi joins oversights to aid her in seeing what was happening. It was not a question of template; a report was developed on what was observed.

Ms Basson clarified that when the Committee goes on oversights they already know some of these challenges. Gauteng, for example, is best performing, thus the Committee went to know and learn the best practices. What has Gauteng done different to be able to attain some of these resources. The Committee does not only look for negatives but also for positives.

Ms Mokoto asked the drafting team to explain what happens on oversights.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi responded that she had been oversights. The Committee must develop a template that speaks to expectations.

Ms Mokoto explained that when starting in Parliament there is always a template. The template never changed. The template was used to check the schools on whether they have the things required and other things required to make education feasible. Provinces differed that is why reports differed, there is a slant in particular areas. This is because of different situations. On oversight, one will discover areas where there are problems hence dictating where one goes and what to look for. Even in Gauteng the Committee came across schools without toilets. Other areas are behind. Ms Tarabella-Marchesi’s point was a good point that needs to be taken into consideration. The Committee needs a template. The Committee was encouraged to agree on that a point

Mr Dennis Bandi, Committee Content Advisor, said when the Committee goes on oversight, they have standard items used to monitor schools. This includes the state of school environment, provision of LTS, staff establishment, school improvement plans, availability of learner transport, functionality of SGBs (School Governing Bodies) and the state of infrastructure. These are standard items drawn from the Medium Term Strategic Framework and the National Development Plan. However, the period that is used to visit provinces differ. At the beginning of the year the standard practice has been to focus on school regulatory issues which refer to issues like are learners are at school learning. With regard to Gauteng, there has been addition of roll out of ICT, given they are advanced. Part of the objectives was to learn best practices.

Mr Khoza asked if there were any update on vacancies as these are key posts for schools to function on page 60 paragraph 8.2. He asked if the Committee would have access to such information.

Ms Mokoto responded that there would be feedback on that after the report has been submitted to Parliament. It becomes the responsibility of the Committee to make a follow up. There are several schools with positions that have not been filled. Furthermore, the report has not been elevated to the provincial department. Scholar transport was not mentioned. There is a school where learners were awarded bicycles but they lay idle because scholars were being attacked. Also issue of repair of bicycles was a matter to be reflected in the Report.
The report was adopted with amendments.

Draft Committee Report on the Third Quarterly Report on the Performance of the Department of Basic Education in Meeting its Strategic Objectives for 2016/17
Ms N Mokoto noted a typographical error on page 16.
The report was adopted with amendments.

Draft Committee Report in respect to South African Human Rights Commission report on the National Investigative Hearing into the Impact of Protest-related Action on the Right to a Basic Education in South Africa.
The Report was adopted.

Draft Committee Report on Oversight Visit to Ekurhuleni North, Ekurhuleni South and Tshwane North Education Districts, KwaZulu-Natal Province
Members were asked to refer back to the KZN Oversight Report so as to adopt the Report.

Ms Basson asked if the Principal was invited.

Mr H Khosa responded that he was invited and attended.

Ms Mokoto raised the issue foreign teachers in KZN especially teachers of Math and Science. She noted that there is a school that is likely to lose a Math and Science teacher because he was a foreign national asked for clarity.

Ms Boshoff added that foreign learners cannot write matric because they do not have IDs. The Committee asked to follow up.

Ms Mokoto said that was a separate matter however it was critical and should be followed up.
Report adopted with amendments.

Adoption of minutes
Minutes of Committee meetings dated 17 February 2017, 2 May 2017, 4 May 2017, 17 May and 30 May 2017, were adopted without amendments.

21 February 2017
Mr T Khoza raised an issue of the need to keep track of improvements with regard to the performance of Maths and Science.
The minutes were adopted with amendments.

14 March 2017
Mr Khosa raised an issue on page 7 of the above minutes. The word ‘learners’ to be replaced with the word ‘educators’ on bullet 8.
The above minutes were adopted with amendments.

2 May 2017 (morning session)
Ms Ms Tarabella-Marchesi noted a typographical error on page 3.
The minutes were adopted with amendments.

3 May 2017
Ms Basson requested that both her initials of her two names should be reflected.
Mr Khoza requested that both his initials of his two names should be reflected.
The minutes were adopted with amendments.

16 May 2017
Ms Boshoff asked whether there had been feedback from the Minister on the seating highlighted on page 4 of the minutes. She asked when there would be engagement with the Minister.

Mr Brown responded that the matter will be tabled in Parliament.

Ms Mokoto further clarified that the engagement queried by Ms Boshoff was supposed to be that day. The Committee would be advised as to when to expect the engagement with the Minister. The Minister was unavailable for this meeting because she travelled to Swaziland for a meeting. Engagement was supposed to be today but the Minister was unavailable.

Ms Boshoff asked the feasibility of the engagement to be on another date. Flying into Cape Town for this engagement with the Minister is an expense for tax payers.

Ms Mokoto responded that Parliament’s programme was changed, therefore making Committee meeting weeks a week longer. She also asked Mr Brown to enquire the possibility of engagement with the Minister to be next Tuesday and to inform the Committee Members.
The above minutes were adopted with amendments.

Draft Committee Minutes dated 23 May 2017
Ms Mokoto noted that the meeting of the 23 May was supposed to be a joint meeting with Transport.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi asked when the Committee will be meeting with the Transport Committee given that it was supposed to be a joint meeting. When are they going to come and give the report?

Ms Mokoto responded that this Committee has no jurisdiction over another Portfolio Committee, so they can merely ask them to come and work with the Committee. There is no dispensation which can force them. There was a representative from Department of Transport. An official presented. The presentation was part of a joint report dealing with Basic Education. She asked if Ms Tarabella-Marchesi was proposing a follow up on the said meeting. The Accounting Authorities were a different matter because at the level of Accounting Officers there was a report that was presented jointly by the two departments.

Ms Boshoff said engaging with other members the Transport Portfolio Committee they were not informed of a joint meeting, which was worrisome. It is not going to happen. The Department of transport cannot consist of one person.

Ms Mokoto said the matter was raised just that it was not captured in the meeting. The Chairperson and other Members had said they were having a debate and preparing for it, hence their absence. The initial impression was that they were going to be in that meeting.

Ms Boshoff raised the point that there needs to be a report on the last paragraph of page 9.

Ms Mokoto responded it was clear and undisputed, a report will be coming.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi asked how the Transport Department would know of the Committee meeting if they say they were not invited.

Ms Mokoto responded that two points were highlighted by Ms Boshoff. Concerns were highlighted in the meeting. On page 3, she said she was not in a position to give clarity as she was not the one who was dealing with the matter. She agreed that there needs to be follow up. If officials are doing work the Committee should have reports because they also have Accounting officers to account to. There should be follow up on the Authorities

Ms Boshoff highlighted that there was similar situation last year, however transport policy was passed by Cabinet. She expressed concern that it may happen again. To this, she insisted the meeting happens so that there was input. Every interested party must give input.

Ms Basson asked that the Committee proceed and the matter be taken up with the Chairperson.

Ms N Mokoto asked Mr Brown to identify areas where we have other departments having a stake within the operation as a Portfolio Committee and develop a programme based on those items. There are several, health, transport, social development, telecommunications. Fortunately, with telecommunications we just need an update. There must be a specific way in which they must brief. The Chairperson must facilitate the meetings.
The minutes were adopted with corrections.

The meeting was adjourned.


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