South African Council for Educators & UMALUSI 2018/19 Annual Performance Plan; Readiness to administer Sign Language Examinations 2018

Basic Education

27 March 2018
Chairperson: Ms N Gina (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

Members received a presentation from the South African Council for Educators (SACE) on its 2017/18 strategic and Annual Performance Plans and budget as well as a presentation from Umalusi on its Annual Performance Plan. Umalusi also made a presentation on the state of readiness to quality assure South African Sign Language as a home language in the National Senior Certificate examinations.

SACE was working with the State Information Technology Agency to start online registration. Registration numbers had been increased from R1 million to R1.5 million. SACE informed the Committee that on-the-spot registration of educators was being phased out in order to address effective vetting and verification processes, as part of the fitness-to-practice registration process. This would include the submission of a clearance certificate from the South African Police Services and the Department of Justice in relation to the sexual offences register, prior to obtaining registration.

In terms of sexual offences and harassment cases, the Committee heard that SACE was currently conducting research to ascertain whether sexual offences were on the rise in schools in real terms or whether more awareness was leading to higher rates of reporting. SACE reported that the sexual offences and harassment culprits were mostly male teachers between 35 and 54 years of age, with an office or laboratory, or access to learners after school. A key issue for noting was the backlog of 248 educator misconduct cases in 2016/17, of which 146 cases had been finalised.  The Council was conducting a case management review process and developing a strengthened panellist hybrid model made up of peer review and legal professionals to minimise the recurring case backlogs.

SACE was rethinking and redefining the Postgraduate Certificate in Education because of the concerns about the quality of the Certificate. SACE also wanted to address the unintended consequences and perceptions created by the implementation of the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme which included perceived employment preferential treatment and created animosity in Higher Education Institutions between bursary and non-bursary holders.

A code of professional teaching ethics and professional teaching standards would be incorporated into the teacher education qualification programmes. SACE was making progress in bringing everyone into the Continuous Professional Teacher Development system.  The Teacher Development system had a bigger budget in 2018/19. SACE was not experiencing implementation failure but was challenged by the theory of change.

Members asked questions pertaining to the extent of the sexual endemic at schools by teachers on learners. What systems were in place to ensure guilty teachers were suspended and how would SACE ensure that a guilty teacher did not get appointed in another province, by an independent school or a School Governing Body? What were the conditions for endorsing professional development providers, and if the providers failed to meet those conditions and targets, did SACE penalise them?  Members questioned the quality of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education in comparison to a normal teaching degree. How much revenue had been created from the R5 increase per month per educator levy? Members sought details on when the new SACE provincial offices would be ready.

Umalusi was seeking new ways to improve the quality of the qualifications through benchmarking.  The DBE had conceptualised a three-stream model that would have implications for the GFET sub-framework. UMALUSI foresaw the need for alignment with the vocational occupational programmes and technical programmes offered in the TVET colleges as well as the National Certificate (Vocational).

Umalusi reported that their budget had been cut by 2.5 percent as part of the Treasury budgetary constraints. Furthermore, the Council reported a matter pertaining to fraudulent activities related to a tender for the renovation of Building 41.  The tender had been cancelled but payments to the value of R10.9 million had already been made to the Joint Venture.  The case was under investigation and Umalusi awaited the relevant legal processes. The Committee also heard that a total of 69 candidates at 11 schools countrywide had registered to write South African Sign Language as a home language in Grade 12 in 2018. The Committee heard that all processes were in place and Umalusi was ready to quality assure the SASL examinations.

Members wanted to know what the rationale was for National Treasury to cut the budget? What amount did the Council expect to recover from the R10.9 million that had been paid to the service provider? On SASL examinations, Members wanted to know whether the moderators were deaf and which Higher Education Institutions trained teachers on SASL. Why had provinces like Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape not conducted training programmes for the teachers?  One Member asked how DeafSA and the deaf community had been involved in the development of the curriculum.  Members wanted to know what the Committee could do to assist in working with Higher Education Institutions so that deaf students could get into Higher Education Institutions.

The Chairperson thanked Umalusi and praised the credibility of the Council. Umalusi was one of the entities that the Committee was very proud of.  

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed Members and the students from the University of Cape Town who were in attendance to observe parliamentary proceedings.

Mr Llewellyn Brown, Committee Secretary, stated that there were no apologies but Mr I Ollis was stuck in traffic and would arrive to the meeting slightly late.

The Chairperson welcomed the first presentation from South African Council for Educators (SACE). SACE was responsible for issues of ethics and safety. When talking about safety, it was not only about learners, but teachers themselves. It also oversaw the ethics of teachers and people that are found in schools. Members were reading and hearing about a number of issues, so when it came to ethics, they relied fully on SACE to safeguard learners.

SACE’s code of ethics focused on teachers but how was the Council doing when it comes to the issue of learners? An issue that was forever a thorn in the side of Members was the issue of the Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) System. Was there any progress, and if the teachers did not want to participate, were there any consequences? Teacher development formed the basis of the teaching profession. She pleaded with the SACE representatives to merely stick to the main points of their presentation as it was very long.

Presentation: SACE Strategic and Annual Performance Plans 2017/18

Ms Ella Mokgalane, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SACE, introduced the Chairperson of SACE, Mr Mabutho Cele, who greeted the Members and thanked them for the opportunity to present on SACE’s Annual Performance Plans (APPs). He stated that he and his delegation were a new Council that had been appointed by the Minister in the previous year. They looked to improve their operations at SACE and to ensure that SACE played its rightful role as a professional regulatory body. They looked to prioritise professionalism and developing teaching standards.

He had previously discussed with Ms Mokgalane that they needed to start looking at a code of professional ethics, not just a code of conduct. That was an area that he and his council sought to prioritise. Other plans included improving registration of teachers and also dealing with bogus teachers that were found in some schools. 

SACE wanted to be the face, the voice and the guardian of the teaching profession. SACE knew that the country was facing that sickness of professionals having sexual relations with children. SACE wanted to take the matter very seriously and to prioritise it as it was a criminal offence. Teachers could not scavenge on children. SACE also wanted to improve advocacy by dealing with such issues through reaching members and teachers. Issues of corporal punishment were also a priority for SACE.

Ms Mokgalane took the Committee through the presentation. SACE’s process of professionalising the teaching profession was progressing well through a multi-stakeholder-driven approach. Due to that, the newly-appointed Council had had some introspection, taken stock of its strategy and core mandates with the goal of repositioning SACE to play its rightful role in the teaching profession.

For the upcoming four years, the Council was prioritising deliverables that it wanted to work on. These included professionalisation of the teaching profession, matters related to research and evidence-based and data-driven processes.  SACE needed to ensure that it improved ICT, strengthened advocacy and communication and provincial offices in order to be able to deliver its mandate.

The annual registration target for 2018/19 was 38 000 new educators registered and 47 000 educators updating and renewing their registration status. On the progress in turning the registration around, SACE was working with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to start online registration. SACE was phasing out on-the-spot registration to address efficient vetting processes. Council also took a resolution to ensure that from the 1 January 2019, all registrations required South African Police Services (SAPS) clearance certificates. 

SACE had also commenced looking at issues of provisional registration to ensure only people that were responsible for teaching and learning in the classroom were registered and not necessarily people simply in the school environment. SACE did not have a mandate over security staff and scholar transport persons.  They were outside of SACE’s scope. He referred to the Soweto case where a security guard was having sex with a learner.  The public was asking what SACE was doing about it but SACE did not have jurisdiction over the security guard.

In the next four years, SACE would be working on defining recruitment and enrolment in terms of who came into the teaching profession and also defining the kind of teacher SACE wanted to see coming into the teaching profession.

SACE was rethinking and redefining the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) because currently the whole system was buzzing around the quality of the PGCE. Evidence-based research was needed with respect to the PGCE. SACE also wanted to address the unintended consequences and perceptions created by the implementation of the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme and PGCE. They included perceived employment preferential treatment and animosity in Higher Education Institutions between non-bursary and bursary holders.

The second programme was ethics. The performance indicator for 2018/19 was the number of educators to be trained on the code of professional ethics and the number of cases to be concluded annually.

The key issue for noting included the backlog of 248 educator misconduct cases in 2016/17, of which 146 cases had been finalised.  The Council was conducting a case management review process and developing a strengthened panellist hybrid model made up of peer review and legal professionals to minimise the recurring case backlogs. The policy on panellists, prosecutors and presiding Chairpersons was being revised to strengthen the integrity of SACE’s case management processes and procedures. The Commission on Gender Equality allowed SACE to use its hotline number for reporting the sexual misconduct cases.

There was a debate as to whether there was a rise of sexual violence cases or there was more awareness and hence people were reporting more.  The Council was collaborating with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to deal with sexual misconduct matters. SACE had compiled a report relating to the sexual harassment and sexual violence cases and male teachers around 35 to 54 were the culprits. It was largely maths and science teachers with laboratories or an office, as well as teachers of Arts and Culture because they had access to learners after school. There was also the issue of collusion amongst educators, and between teachers and parents.

Sexual violence was a more complex issue. The courts needed to deal with the issue, but SACE and the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) also dealt with it and it became a spider web. But all the stakeholders had a meeting on the 19 March 2018 to make a joint effort to deal with the issues.

The third programme was the Continuous Professional Teacher Development system. SACE was making progress in bringing everyone into the system. The Teacher Development system had a bigger budget in 2018/19. In the new financial year, the budget would move from R9.7 million to R16 million. SACE was not experiencing implementation failure but was challenged by the theory of change.

Mr Morris Mapindani, Chief Financial Officer of SACE, took the Committee through the 2018/19 budget. In terms of the budget overview, in 2018/19 there was an increase in revenue because the Council had reached a resolution to increase its annual levy from R 120 per annum per educator to R 180, which amounted to a R5 increase on a monthly basis. The main aim behind the increase was to improve the service delivery, and inflation was also catching up with SACE.

Registration numbers had been increased from R1 million to R1.5 million. In terms of ethics, the Council had taken a decision to review the processes that SACE used to process cases and to build capacity for that function. The Council had started the process of acquisition of three provincial offices in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. The administrative costs for 2018/19 had also been increased because of the three provincial offices that need to be set up.  


The Chairperson thanked the SACE delegation for their presentation. She stated that she was excited about the PGCE initiative with the Department of Higher Education. She invited Members to comment or pose questions.

Ms H Boshoff (DA) expressed her disappointment in SACE because on the 4 May 2017, Ms Mokgalane had promised to provide a written response to the questions that she had been asked but had failed to do so. She still had not received a response from SACE and the conversation was documented in the minutes of that meeting. Ms Boshoff read directly from the minutes, highlighting Ms Mokgalane’s commitment to follow up on the questions raised by Ms Boshoff.

In the Cullinan case, it was found that 17 000 teachers were not registered.  In Cullinan principals were hiring unqualified teachers. What was SACE going to do address those challenges? 593 cases were reported to SACE in 2016/17, 99 were alleged sexual misconduct and 265 were physical or corporal punishment. She asked how many of those had been resolved and how many were outstanding? There was nothing in the report with respect to outstanding cases.

The 593 cases reported could not be the right figure because there were cases where people did not report, so the number should be much higher. What systems were in place to track guilty teachers? What systems were in place to ensure that a guilty teacher was suspended? How did SACE ensure that a guilty teacher did not get appointed by other School Governing Bodies (SGBs) because SGBs also appointed teachers and, unknowingly, they might appoint guilty teachers.

In the 2018/19 budget, the ethics programme had been cut by 13 percent whereas all the other programmes had increased. SACE had suggested that it did not have capacity in the ethics department. Currently there were three permanent prosecutors and two permanent investigators.  She did not know how SACE was going to survive. DBE needed to intervene.  If the other programmes had been increased, why cut the ethics programme?

With regards to CPTD, there was no mention about a programme for disabled learners.  What systems were in place to ensure those teachers had access to relevant programmes?

On the budget, what were the increases in salaries? What were the sundry expenses? Why had travel expenses depreciated? Rates, water and electric costs had declined.  Why? Databases and maintenance have declined.  Why?  SACE had increased subscriptions by only R5. Why? She requested an amount of R5 multiplied by all the teachers in order for Members to know the total amount that SACE was getting. Would it not be appropriate to have the buildings in SACE’s name rather than having it in someone else’s and paying monthly rentals?

Mr X Ngwezi (IFP) noticed that teachers were being registered while they are still studying, which he felt was a good move. When he had registered in 2007, he had paid his registration fee of R60 approximately three times and he was yet to receive his SACE certificate. How would SACE ensure that those who had registered really received their certificates?  He suggested that SACE should negotiate with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to use that money for registration of student teachers who were poor.

He was concerned about PGCE.  He questioned the quality of the PGCE. He believed that a person who had been trained as a teacher for four years in comparison to a person who trained for a year in teaching methods would not deliver the same quality lessons to learners. He had a brother who was studying hydraulics and when he asked him what he would be doing for the following year, his response was that he would study for a PGCE. He had never seen his brother trying to explain hydraulics to his sister.  Why then had he developed a love for teaching? Mr Ngwezi concluded that some of the people who turned to teaching, were teachers by default. In most cases they could not be employed in their fields and they turned                                                                         to teaching in order to get employment.

He referred to goal number 16 which spoke to teacher development and computer skills.  The Department was beginning to put subject matter onto digital platforms. But, there are quite a lot of teachers who did not know how to use computers.  All universities or teaching colleges offering a teaching qualification should ensure that aspiring teachers completed a computer module. On the clearance certificates linked to registration, he asked if there was a list of offences that prohibited SACE from registering an applicant?

Teaching was not only about teachers. There were incidents created by learners. Three weeks previously, there had been a video of a learner throwing a book at a teacher. SACE should intervene in terms of getting teachers to do the right thing, but also learners too. SACE was a council for education, not for teachers.

In respect of n recruitment, he noted that, for example, in Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) one did not find district municipalities employing staff for local municipalities. There were provinces that were not doing interviews. He himself did not have an interview when he was employed as a teacher in 2008 and that was caused, in part, by poor planning in the DBE. Teachers were employed on an urgent basis and there was no time for interviews and inductions.

Mr H Khosa (ANC) thanked SACE for their presentation. He asked why learners had to become members of SACE before becoming teachers. When one was at university, one was not yet a teacher and if one did not end up getting employed, did SACE reimburse the registration fee?

With regards to registration and renewal of registration status, SACE had targeted 47 000 registrations.  Why was the targeted number the same for a period of three years?  What criteria was used for educators to re-register and how effective and accessible were those criteria?

Lastly, SACE was still to establish offices in some provinces.  How effective was SACE with regards to delivering their services and mandate? What was the backlog of unresolved cases caused by the shortages of offices?

Mr I Ollis (DA) apologised for being late for the meeting.  Referring to the presentation, he asked for clarity on the statement: “Do away with the registration of people who do not have any impact in the school/TVET/CET curriculum and teaching and learning.”

On the section of the key issues worth noting for ethics, it was mentioned that the Council had allocated financial resources to address the backlog. Ms Boshoff had already addressed the 13% drop in the amount of money allocated.  In the medium-term budget figures, R4 million was allocated for the code of ethics item in 2017/18 but in the following year it went down to R3 million. That was more than a 13 percent drop. How would SACE do more work with less money?

In a previous presentation, when he had complained about cases of misconduct of teachers and principals, the gentleman had stated that SACE received the files too late.  By the time SACE received the file from the school or the provincial department, that educator had moved to a new province and had already taken up a position in another school.  So, for example the teacher commits an offence in the Eastern Cape and by the time SACE received the file, the person was teaching elsewhere in Limpopo. What could SACE do to make sure they received files on time to deal with the issue of ethics?

With regards to Information and communication technology (ICT) for the CPTD system, it was not only that teachers could not use computers but also some teachers did not have computers or laptops and some schools did not have electricity. What could be done for schools that did not have equipment or electricity? That occurred most frequently in the rural schools where they needed the intervention the most. What could be done?

Mr A Botes (ANC) asked, in the context of the public fiscus having shrunk, what were the other income streams of the Council that ensured its own sustainability? The sexual predators were a matter that was paramount in everyone’s mind. He requested the exact number and detail of the sexual offences executed by teachers on learners at schools. He requested the number of suspensions, the number of those referred for criminal prosecutions and if any of those persons had been convicted.

The Council was responsible for post-training development of teachers which was an important aspect of education.  He asked what the relationship was between the human resource development unit and Further and Higher Education?  Was there dialogue with Further and Higher Education and Training to make sure that skills were relevant to Higher Education? He was confident that the Council was a team that could take the Department forward.

Ms J Basson (ANC) referred to the three cohorts on the CPTD system and asked what successes SACE could report on with respect to the first cohort which had completed the cycle of 2014 to 2016. What power did SACE have in order to recruit educators for inclusive education or learners with disabilities.

Had did SACE ensure that, in serious cases, a teacher was never employed again? Or did SACE give teachers a period of suspension and then the teacher could return to the profession?  The presentation had indicated that SACE would receive TVET and CET cases.  She expressed concern about the capacity to deal with the additional cases. Did SACE think that following the addition of TVET and CET cases they would now get more resources? Was SACE going to be able to address the backlog that it was faced with? Were there are any statistics on the teachers that have been verified or vetted?

Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) thanked the Chairperson and SACE. She stated that she had previously commented on the presentation style.  Seeing that the Committee did not see SACE often, it would be appreciated if slides covered very important issues concerning SACE.  The majority of the presentation slides spoke about SACE’S vision and mission.  By now the Committee knew what SACE was responsible for. She would also appreciate it if SACE’s presentations also included updates and progress on previously identified cases.  She urged SACE to have presentations that were concise and that covered important issues.

On the training programme, SACE had developed a programme to train teachers and yet the slides in the presentation did not state what role SACE played in the training and how many teachers were trained. regarding vetting, there were no numbers and targets. It was understood that SACE had a very small budget and she requested SACE to share their constraints and what they would find very difficult to accomplish.  

Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) stated that SACE was responsible for registering teachers and monitoring their professional development. There were 48 teachers of the deaf and 129 deaf teaching assistants. She wanted to know whether the 48 deaf teachers were registered or not. Deaf teachers had often sent her messages and they had varying concerns which was why she had attended the meeting. The concerns were that deaf teaching assistants did not have qualifications and the teachers did not sign which was why the assistants worked with the hearing teachers. Sometimes qualified teachers were not in class, owing to union meetings, etc, and the teaching assistants had to teach the classes although they did not have a qualification. What could SACE do to get teaching assistants qualified? SACE could provide input so that deaf teaching assistants could get a qualification as well. The deaf students could not understand teachers that could not sign but they understood the teaching assistants who used sign language.

She stated that she was hugely concerned that some schools had no teachers for three months at a time. Deaf children were preparing for matric, but their workbooks were empty. When speaking about teacher professionalism, SACE needed to look at schools for deaf learners and schools for disabled children as well.

Many deaf teaching assistants could not access university because there was massive competition and deaf Matrics received their certificates last of all, which meant that they were the last to be considered by universities. Could SACE give input so that the universities set a quota for deaf students that obtained a matric?  One teacher, based in the Western Cape, had been a teaching assistant for over ten years and was trying to get into university but she had heard many excuses such as, “you have passed the deadline” or “there is no interpreter”. She urged SACE to look into that as deaf people should not get left behind.

The Chairperson stated that the first sign language examinations would be taking place this year and it is important to focus on the issue of special schools. More especially those schools offering grade 12.

Ms C Majeke (UDM) referred to TVET colleges. She had visited a college in East London where, in the engineering faculty, the students were taught to maintain a diesel engine. However, the diesel engine was so obsolete it probably belonged in the 1930s.  Her problem was that most companies hired people that had some sort of training in the latest technology of engineering. SACE was developing professional teachers who had certain teaching standards but how did a teacher continue to train the students to be career engineers when the certificates they received would not be considered because they were trained on an old model. Surely SACE should intervene because a professional teacher should not be teaching something that he/she knew would not be of any use after students received their certificates?

Ms N Mokoto (ANC) thanked the Chairperson and welcomed the new Council. She was happy that the DBE had ensured that the CPTD system had been funded and new expectations had been created with that funding. She asked what was going to be the new approach, because there was money, but what was the money going to be used for? What were the plans with respect to expenditure?

What were the conditions for endorsing professional development providers, and if the providers failed to meet those conditions and targets, did SACE penalise them?  Had SACE disqualified any provider for a lack of implementation?

She asked about the status of those who were not practicing currently, such as Ms Basson, Mr Ngwezi, the Chairperson and Mr Khosa who were teachers.  If they decided to revert to teaching, did SACE register them or did they renew their membership. Also, for those who did home schooling, because home schooling was emerging in South Africa, how did SACE approach that? It was mentioned that on-the-spot registration would be phased out.  Would that apply to rural provinces?

On the new provincial offices and the new resource centre that SACE wanted to open, was it not possible for SACE to latch on to what already existed in the sector, such as the teacher development centres.  There was nothing about Value-Added Tax (VAT) in the finances.  SACE provided and consumed a lot of services. Was SACE not getting VAT?

The Chairperson requested a record of teachers that had applied for, but were not considered for, registration. On Mr Ollis’s question about a teacher moving to a different province after committing an offence, did SACE follow up on the perpetrator or did they charge him/her? On page 15 of the APP document, there were targets regarding the number of educators that needed to be trained on the code of ethics.  She was alarmed by the drop from 2016/17 of 57 000 teachers to 10 000 teachers in 2018/19. Why was there a drop in those targets in the APP document? How many cases did SACE receive per year?  That would speak to the targets.

The Chairperson indicated that the SACE delegation had 15 minutes to respond to the questions.


Mr Mapindani responded to the issues affecting the budget. On the issue of the R5 increase per month per educator, he calculated that that provided a revenue of R26 million per annum. In terms of the salary budget, it stood at R49 million.

On the purchase of properties in provincial offices, he said that the first approach was to lease them, but they realised that in some provinces, such as the Western Cape, leasing property for just two years amounted to paying the purchase price. The Council had reached a decision to purchase properties because by purchasing them, SACE would not be losing value and money could be recouped in the future. The purchase option brought about new expenditure line items like security services which would be required for the buildings.

The Chairperson interjected and asked how soon SACE would acquire those buildings.

Mr Mapindani stated that SACE should have acquired the offices by the beginning of April. The adjudication process is expected to be concluded before the end of April. Between May and September those building should be prepared for use and by October they should be occupied. 

In terms of the streams of council funding. Council was funded through registration fees. The main funding was the membership fee which was recently increased and when SACE was in dire need, it made requests to the fiscus to have additional funding. Currently, the Council was not in financial constraints. SACE was not a registered VAT vendor.

Ms Mokgalane responded to Ms Boshoff’s comments regarding SACE not answering questions from the Committee. She stated that SACE had sent the responses through to the Committee Secretary’s office. She said that she would resend the responses and the date would show that SACE had responded.  Her office sent responses to the Committee Secretary’s office so that he could share the email with all the Members.

Ms Boshoff stated that it was not the first time that had happened.  Even with the former CEO of SACE, the same thing had happened, and nothing had been sent to the Committee. If it had been sent, SACE could have copied her and Ms Basson who also had questions that required written responses after that meeting.

The Chairperson asked Mr Brown to check on that email and to send it to Members.

Ms Mokgalane responded to the comments relating to the presentation.  The presentation was about planning so most of the things highlighted were about looking forward. Referring to the 17 000 unregistered educators, she said that there was a specialised project for making sure that SACE cleared educators that were already practicing. For the new educators, she did not foresee a problem because SACE was working through the Higher Education system to make sure that they were registered at universities. When the teachers registered whilst at university, it was a provisional registration, not a full registration.

SACE would look into the suggestion made by Mr Ngwezi on requesting NSFAS to pay for registration. On Mr Ngwezi’s certificate, she stated that it might be an issue of postal services.  Furthermore, most of the educators changed addresses without informing SACE. On the backlog of 2016/17, SACE was left with 99 cases that had not been touched. 52 had been investigated.

Ms Boshoff requested that the figures be incorporated in SACE’s report as was done previously.

Ms Mokgalane said that on the matter relating to tracking of misconduct perpetrators, there were three different issues. Firstly, SACE had reached an agreement with DBE in terms of blocking them on the Personnel and Salary Administration System (PERSAL).  Every quarter SACE uploaded individuals on the list and then sent the list to the Director-General (DG) so that all provinces could access the names. That process was fine for public schools, but when it comes to SGBs and independent schools, it became a problem. Secondly, the current Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) process was not yet finalised, but it was dealing with the possibility of gazetting those names.  At least those people would be named and shamed. Thirdly, it was also the responsibility of the employers.  Employers needed to check with SACE before they employed teachers.

Regarding CPTD programmes for inclusive education, SACE had endorsed a sub-register of endorsed professional development for inclusive education.

She agreed with the comment made by Mr Ngwezi on the PGCE.  After conducting research on PGCE, the Council would report back to Members on how SACW would deal with it.  The CPTD system caters for both online and manual scenarios. There were places like the Western Cape which was 100 percent online and then there were places like the Kwa-Zulu Natal which was 80 percent manual. So SACE accepted manual forms as well as online processes.

With reference to Mr Ngwezi’s comment on student teachers needing to have ICT skills, she explained that the minimum requirement for teacher competencies required that all student teachers completed ICT in their curriculum.

On deaf teaching and teaching assistants, SACE had taken note of the issues raised. Some issues were not in the scope of SACE, but the SACE Act gave SACE a mandate to advise the Minister on a number of issues. SACE would be able to engage the Department on those issues.

The criteria for endorsed professional development activities lasted for three years. Whether former educators would need to renew their registration or not, as part of redefining the scope of registration, was an area that SACE was looking at.

SACE was registering fully qualified teachers so that there were no cases like Cullinan where schools could employ unqualified teachers.  There was no way that SACE could register everyone in the school environment, such as the coaches and assistant teachers that were taking care of children without a qualification because SACE did not have jurisdiction over them. SACE needed to focus on its on mandate and the persons it had jurisdiction over.

On the targets for signing up, they were reducing because SACE had started off with big numbers and now the numbers were declining. Next year the numbers would be around 20 000 because everyone would have been signed up and SACE could focus on monitoring and evaluation.

On-the-spot registration was being stopped because people should come to SACE at the beginning of the year. SACE was stopping all walk-ins with respect to submissions, so basically SACE could no longer accept a document from, say, UCT and then SACE would automatically registers one. There were other steps such as clearance certificates and other verification processes to be completed before a person was registered.

The reason behind the drop in the targets around ethics was that, in previous presentations, SACE’s targets were not realistic. So SACE had gone back, re-defined and looked at their capacity and realistic targets were established.

Generally, the number of cases that SACE received directly ranged from 500 to 600. With cases submitted by provinces, that number would be around over 1000 cases.

The Chairperson thanked SACE for their presentation and contributions.  In summary, SACE was sufficiently funded for the year under question and she was satisfied.  

Mr Ollis asked if the summary given by the Chairperson was the view of the Committee going forward.

The Chairperson responded in the affirmative based on the discussions that had taken place.

Mr Ollis stated that he would like to add a comment.  He and other Members believed that more effort needed to be put in place by SACE with regards to vetting, particularly relating to sexual offences. He felt that the vetting was taking too long, and people were falling through the cracks. It was also taking too long to get the file to SACE which was not only SACE’s problem, but also that of provincial departments and other role players.

Ms Tarabella-Marchesi said that in addition to what Mr Ollis had just stated, she thought that vetting should take place during the registration of teachers, if possible. It should be a simultaneous process.

The Chairperson welcomed the UMALUSI delegation and stated that they would be presenting on their annual performance plan (APP) and the Sign Language national examinations. She invited UMALUSI to present.

2018/19 Annual Performance Plan and Budget

Prof John Volmink, Chairperson, UMALUSI Council, said that the term of the current Council was about to come to an end. The term had started in June 2014 and it would officially end on the 7 June 2018, so it was the last APP to be presented by the current Council. He thanked the Committee for a wonderful relationship on behalf of the Council and the UMALUSI staff.

Dr Mafu Rakometsi, CEO, UMALUSI, stated that the presentation would focus on the APP targets for 2018/19 and the Budget for 2018/19 to 2020/21.

Ms Stella Mosimege, Senior Manager: Strategic Planning, UMALUSI, continued with the presentation. Page 7 of the APP provided an updated situational analysis in terms of the performance delivery environment.

Umalusi was seeking new ways to improve the quality of the qualifications through benchmarking.  The DBE had conceptualised a three-stream model that would have implications for the GFET sub-framework. UMALUSI foresaw the need for alignment with the vocational occupational programmes and technical programmes offered in the TVET colleges as well as the National Certificate (Vocational).

In terms of the organisational environment, 2018 was the fourth year of the five-year term and things that impacted on UMALUSI’s delivery included Human Resource Management (HRM).  At Umalusi, females were 15 percent above the Employment Equity (EE) target, especially in the lower levels and senior management positions. Males were mainly represented in middle management positions. In terms of vacancy rates, 2016 had a very high vacancy rate of 24 percent at Umalusi and upon closing of the final APP in December 2017, the vacancy rate was 5 percent. In 2016, compliance with ICT governance framework was very low but it had been pushed to 83 percent. In terms of compliance around infrastructure, Umalusi’s health was at 99 percent. On automation of business processes, Umalusi did most of its business processes using ICT.

On finance and supply chain management, Umalusi was still working hard to comply with legislation and currently councillors had just approved a number of policies in that area. With respect to payment for services within 30 days, Umalusi was performing at 99 percent. Umalusi had strengthened management capacity with respect to finance and supply chain management as a manager and two assistant managers had been appointed. UMALUSI was challenged with respect to office space and the organisation was looking into renting a portion of a building nearby or renting mobile structures.

In terms of corporate governance, Umalusi’s risk management profile had improved. More Audit findings had been addressed than previously.  There was also a gradual improvement of performance targets achieved year on year. In terms of managing the sub-framework, more independent school were accredited and provisionally accredited in 2016 than in the previous years.

Ms Jacomien Rousseau, Chief Financial Officer, presented the budget for 2018/19 to 2020/21. In the first week of December 2017, Umalusi I was informed that it had to implement a budget cut of 2.5 percent over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. That resulted in R10.9 million less being allocated by DBE. Cabinet had approved the reductions. Umalusi I was not registered for VAT and in terms of its budget, the organisation was really stretched.

The expected revenue 2017/18 was R163 million. For 2018/19, revenue was expected to be R176 million. In terms of estimated expenditure for 2018/19, goods and services were estimated at R95.13 million and the compensation of employees at R77.57 million.

Relating to the transfer from accumulated surpluses in 2016/17 and 2017/18, National Treasury and the DBE approved Umalusi’s request to retain surpluses for three projects: the renovations of the purchased building, contingency expenditure and the Enterprise Content Management system.  A request to retain surpluses will be made to National Treasury in May 2018.

Ms Rousseau brought a reportable matter to the Committee. Umalusi had awarded a tender for the renovation of Building 41 to a Joint Venture with three separate entities in March 2017 to the value of R36 million. The project had started in May 2017 and payments were made to the value of R10.9 million. Umalusi became aware of allegations of fraud regarding the submitted tender documents. One member of the Joint Venture reported an allegation of the forgery of a signature through his lawyers early in November 2017. Umalusi followed due process with advice from legal counsel but the providers did not respond to Umalusi’s request for further information on the matter. Consequently, the contract was cancelled on the 23 November 2017. The matter had been reported to National Treasury, DBE and the South African Police Service.

Umalusi was in the process of instituting a civil claim against the Joint Venture. While pursuing the case, the Council would initiate a new tender process for the renovation of Building 41.

Dr Rakometsi presented the controls for managing the APP and Supply Chain Management. Senior and Executive Managers had signed a pledge with the CEO to obtain a clean audit. Senior and Executive Managers had signed for the achievement of APP targets as suggested by the EXCO. Standard Operating Procedures were being developed. Performance outputs were verified on a quarterly basis through Quantitative Risk Management. Achievement of APP targets was part of the SMS Members’ Performance Agreements. Umalusi I had strengthened its capacity by appointing a specialist on performance information in the Audit and Risk Committee. Supply Chain Management Policies had been updated and aligned to legislation.

State of readiness to quality assure the South African Sign Language Home Language National Examinations

Dr Rakometsi indicated that he would start the presentation and then allow Ms Mary-Louise Madalane, Senior Manager Evaluation and Accreditation for UMALUSI to continue. The Constitution of South Africa recognised the presence of the Deaf community in the country.  The South African Schools Act also recognised South African Sign Language (SASL) as a Language of Learning and Teaching. From 2010, DBE had developed the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). SASL Home Language was introduced in the Foundation Phase and Senior Phase in 2015 and in the Intermediate Phase and FET Phase in 2016. Grade 12 deaf learners would matriculate with SASL as Home Language in 2018.  UMALUSI was required by legislation to quality assure curriculum and assessment.

Dr Rakometsi referred to the roles and responsibilities of the DBE and the role and responsibilities of the Umalusi in respect of assessing SASL Home Language.

Ms Mary-Louise Madalane continued with the presentation. Slide 7 documented the Provisional Registration data for schools offering SASL as a subject in six provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and the Western Cape.  There was a total of 11 schools and 69 learners. The quality assurance process for the 11 schools included the moderation of question papers the moderation of School-Based Assessment. The process also included verification of marking.  The monitoring of the state of readiness to conduct SASL HL November examinations would include the audit of SASL laboratories and monitoring the conduct of June internal examinations.  Umalusi would present its findings on the State of readiness of DBE to conduct SASL HL 2018 Examinations to the Umalusi Council and the DG of DBE.

In relation to standardisation, the Assessment Standards Committee (ASC) was informed about the unique nature of SASL HL assessment.  Examples of assessment practices and the implications thereof were discussed at the ASC meeting and further investigation on the standardisation of SASL HL was in process.

The Chairperson thanked the UMALUSI delegation for the presentations. She invited Members to comment on the presentations.


Ms Mokoto asked about the rationale from National Treasury for cutting the budget. Throughout the years that the Committee had worked with UMALUSI, there had only been a few hiccups and the organisation had been working above board in terms of performance and expenditure.  So, what necessitated the cuts? Which of UMALUSI’s nine functions had been affected by the cuts? On the legislation review by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), what were the implications for that and was UMALUSI participating in the process?

Ms Boshoff commented that, in the previous year Dr Rakometsi had stated that schools were allowed to run without being accredited; they just had to be registered.  Why was there an increase in schools accrediting themselves? 

She asked Ms Rousseau, how much did they expect to get back from the R9.7 million that was paid to the service provider? With regards to SASL, was the curriculum a uniform language because there were 42 sign language schools across the country which used a variety of sign languages. She applauded the DBE for bring the SASL examinations to the table because they were long overdue. The first five years of a child’s life was the development stage and they needed to be developed from years one to five before they could go to school. Deaf learners were not idiots and could tell when the content did not add up, so the Department had to make sure that everything was correct. She asked how DeafSA and the deaf community had been involved in the development of the curriculum.

In 2015, the University of the Witwatersrand had been tasked to teach and train teaching assistants and teachers.  How many had been trained in basic skills to date and how many were fully fledged SASL teachers and teaching assistants?  Which other tertiary institutions were also training SASL teachers? How many accredited moderators and external examiners were there? It was said that the training for teachers and teaching assistant covered the entire SASL Curriculum CAPS.  How many years’ training did that entail? A teacher could not stand in front of a class after a four-week course.

Of the 11 schools that would have grade 12’s writing, how many learners were there.  She had different figures. The DBE had informed her that there were 61 learners and the presentation showed that there were 69 learners. Of the 69 or 61 learners, how many of them would be sitting for the standard matric, the diploma and the bachelor’s degree? How many of the 11 schools had done renovations to teach SASL CAPS in each grade?  How many have had to substitute SASL with another subject due to it not being available. For instance, Maths and Biology were not taught as subjects because of the limited number of teachers. What was going to be done to ensure Maths and Science subjects were presented in SASL? Training had not been undertaken in provinces like Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Northern Cape.  Why not, and would there be future training? With regards to deaf learners in Mpumalanga, where were they going to be accommodated because they did not have a school because there was a fight over a piece of land.

Ms Basson asked about finance and supply chain management.  What was the hiccup that had prevented Umalusi I from performing as expected in that area? She was glad that the CPTD system had been mentioned in the presentation.  What measures had been put in place to ensure that all the teachers appointed as examiners and markers were professionally qualified? SAQA was launching or had launched a digital certificate. How involved was Umalusi? On accreditation for private education, what was the relationship between Umalusi and SACE in granting accreditation to private institutions? Especially, seeing as the bulk of expelled and unqualified teachers seemed to be in private institutions.  Where would Umalusi get the capacity to quality assure inclusive learners?

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked if the number of staff of Umalusi met the two percent requirement for persons with disability and of the two percent, how many were deaf? What qualifications did the moderators require? Were any of the moderators deaf? SASL laboratories were mentioned in the presentation.  Which schools had laboratories?

The presentation showed that the DBE was responsible for the curriculum development and Umalusi handled the quality assurance. The concerns that had been raised to hear by the deaf community were that the videos used were in American and British sign language while the examination was in South African Sign Language (SASL). Why were videos in American and British sign language? The learners were concerned because they did not know American and British sign language. When UMALUSI did the quality assurance, how would the moderators know that American or British sign language was being used?

South Africa had Sign Language Education and Development (SLED).  Deaf people worked in SLED and they developed material for the education sector. The DBE was not using SLED and SLED had South African material.  It might be expensive, but it was South African. How much was being paid to use videos from overseas?

In terms of numbers, there were 51 deaf teachers and 159 deaf teaching assistants.  How many of them were involved in the development of the curriculum material? The information she had received was that they were not involved at all. Were they involved in the moderating? They were the expert signers.  They had grown up with SASL.  DeafSA has been lobbying since 1996 to put SASL in the Constitution and to have sign language as a home language. From her knowledge DeafSA was not involved in that process.  Why were they not involved?

She expressed concern with the SASL report because her own child was a hearing child and she had been expected to read and write before the end of grade two but in the Umalusi SASL Report, Foundation Phase had no text. Before her return to Parliament, she had worked for High Hopes which was an early intervention programme.  She had worked with a 3-year-old child. She showed the child’s cards with text and she could finger spell before going to school. It was alarming that in the Report, it stated that by the Foundation Phase students should not read and write, they only do that in the Intermediate Phase.

Some deaf teaching assistants had matric, and some did not have matric. They faced barriers to higher education because their matric was not good enough or their matric only contained one language. What could Umalusi do to assist in working with Higher Education Institutions so that deaf students could get into Higher Education Institutions?

There are two matric examinations for deaf leaners.  There was an internal one prepared by teachers and an external one which was done across the country.  Did Umalusi do quality assurance for the internal matric? DeafSA and the deaf community had one priority and she urged Umalusi to please consult them. She said “nothing about us, without us” was a motto supported by the President of South Africa. In the CAPS training the hearing community was there but the deaf teachers were not involved, why?

The Chairperson stated that a session was warranted where Umalusi, the deaf Community and the DBE were present.

Mr Botes seconded the Chairperson’s proposal. Umalusi had raised a matter on the benchmark of the quality of education.  A Global Competitiveness report had been released and what was worrying was that out of the 137 countries profiled, South Africa ranked at 61. Ten years ago, South Africa was ranked 35 out of 137 countries, which meant that there has been a downward spiral. The matric pass rate was increasing, but the Global Competitiveness Report indicated there was a problem with quality.

He asked whether Umalusi had placed a preservation order against the alleged perpetrators because almost R10 million of taxpayers’ money was in the hands of those people. If there was no preservation order, these criminals could consume the money because the court case could take the next five years. Umalusi should freeze the money.

Mr Khosa noted that the presentation reported that unaddressed audits were decreasing.  He wanted to know the rate of the decrease. What were the reasons behind the vacancy rate of five percent?  Was it because there was no office space available? What was the impact caused by the five percent vacancy rate? He requested clarity on the programme two indicators, specifically why the percentage remained the same in 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.

The Chairperson asked about the implications of the 2% budget cut and the implications of the three-stream model.


Dr Rakometsi said that in terms of the legislation of the NQF Act, Umalusi was looking at a number of issues relating to how the different Quality Councils have to act in the NQF space. The Act dealt with matters relating to what the reporting lines were, who could report to the Minister and who could not.  The NQF Act also dealt with gaps; one of them being the proliferation of foreign qualifications. The Amendments that were being proposed could be a whole presentation on its own. Umalusi had commented on the Act but it did not know what the uptake of the comments were as yet so and what was going to crystallise in terms of the Bill.

On Ms Boshoff’s question about the rush of schools to be accredited, he said that the reason behind that was because Umalusi had indicated that if a school was not accredited, they were not going to write the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination. The schools had been taking advantage of running with registration with the provincial departments and then they ignored being accredited by the Council so Umalusi had had to say that they would not write examinations without Umalusi accreditation. 

On SASL, he could only briefly comment.  Ms Madalane and Dr Mchunu, who had conducted the research on the SASL report, would give detailed responses. Being that SASL was new area for Umalusi, there were going to be areas where there are gaps. Umalusi was accommodative to any comments and advice. Already Umalusi had received a letter from DeafSA stating that they would assist in problem areas.

On barriers for deaf learners to get into university, it was a very critical issue. Umalusi would write to Universities South Africa (USAf) formerly known as Higher Education South Africa (HESA) and would inform them that there were deaf learners who were going to qualify for SASL as a home language and ask what the admission requirements were for those learners?  Of course, the qualification would be the same as that of other learners in that deaf learners need to have a bachelor’s, diploma or higher certificate pass. He fully agreed with the statement, “nothing about us without us”.

On financial impropriety and the fraud experienced with the Joint Venture, he noted that it was a sad case for Umalusi. The Council had received plenty of legal advice, but this was the first time they had been advised about a preservation order.  He added that they would take it seriously. On the preservation order, Umalusi was going to plead for R6 million.

On the vacancy rate, the staff of Umalusi had grown.  When he started in 2009, there was about 70 staff members and now Umalusi was at 140 staff members. The vacancy rate was influenced by the small numbers that Umalusi has, one or two resignations had a huge impact. When a person resigned, that person gave one month’s notice but the turnaround time to advertise and interview for the vacant position could take months. Senior managers gave three months’ notice. The financial implications of SASL were not huge. The external moderators would be paid like everyone else.

Prof Volmink, responding to the question on the global rankings, stated that when the Council started 24 years ago, they had faced two challenges. The one was the post-apartheid challenge which involved social justice issues, a change in a culture of learning and issues of provision. The second challenge was the Global Competitiveness challenge, so it was two-fold challenge. It should be acknowledged that in a non-racist and non-sexist society, massification was a natural outcome and it was a big challenge in the system.  Dealing with massification and quality was like chasing two rabbits. Umalusi was chasing the rabbit which was quality and the organisation had to remain focused on quality. If Umalusi were to ask itself, given its own aspirations, had it done its best, the answer would be it could have done better. However, the purpose of education was not to do better than somebody else; the purpose of education was to do the best one could.

Ms Rousseau responded on the budget cuts. Umalusi was not the only entity that had had budget cuts. Even the Department of Justice had to implement budget cuts which were across the board. The Council planned to make a request to retain savings from the current year’s budget and make a case to argue that the money was being used for specific identified projects.

In terms of the civil action against the Joint Venture R5.9 to R6 million was expected to be returned. Unfortunately, there was no disabled staff member employed at Umalusi. Part of the building tender was to ensure the building could accommodate disabled persons.  That needed to be done in order for Umalusi to meet that 2% requirement.

Ms Mosimege responded on the APP in terms of the audit findings that had not been addressed. Regarding the indicator that had been set at 95 percent throughout the years, she noted that in 2016 the performance was at 88 percent and the target for 2018/19 was set at 95 percent.  Once that period had been concluded, then only would they change the 95 percent target that had been set for 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Ms Madalane responded on SASL questions. There was one deaf moderator, a coder and two other individuals who taught at schools offering SASL. Those are the four moderators. Umalusi quality assured the external matric examination but she was not aware of an internal matric examination.

On SACE accreditation, she explained that Umalusi had a number of stringent criteria for schools to be accredited. Part of the criteria looked at the teachers in those schools that were going to be accredited and whether they were registered with SACE. There was a relationship between Umalusi and SACE in that regard and there were regular meetings between the two. 

Dr Stephan Mchunu, Assessment and Quality Assurance of Assessment of SASL, Umalusi, responded on questions raised regarding SASL. On Higher Education Institutions that were training teachers on SASL, it was only Wits University and the University of the Free State. 11 schools would be ready to write exams that year and some schools would only write in 2019 because they offered grade 12 over two years. On the learning/teaching support materials at the schools he visited, DVDs from SLED were used. He was not aware of any schools that were using American and British sign language material. He was shocked to hear that and would investigate the matter.

There was a team teaching model in the classroom so there were three kinds of the teachers: a qualified SASL teacher, a hearing teacher and a deaf teaching assistant. It was true to say that some of the teaching assistants did not have matric because of capacity issues. The qualified teacher came with methods of teaching and the deaf teaching assistant has the signing skills.

At the CAPS training, the group of teachers that was there composed of hearing teachers and deaf interpreters. The moderators that had been appointed included people from the University of the Witwatersrand, some were from the provincial department of education and some of them are from schools of the deaf. 

The Chairperson thanked Umalusi and praised the credibility of the Council. Umalusi was one of the entities that the Committee was very proud of.   

The meeting was adjourned.

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: