The Department of Basic Education (DBE) briefed the Committee on the significance of the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) and recommended that it consider the impact of the government’s priorities on the South African education sector over the next five years. There had been a lot of continuity between the 2019 and 2020 SONAs, specifically in relation to progress on robotics and coding, textbooks, technology, Early Childhood Development (ECD), the goal of every ten-year-old being able to read for meaning, and more consistent measurement of progress in Grades 3,6 and 9.
The DBE reported on its performance for the third quarter, giving details of its expenditure and progress with the implementation of the audit action plan of 2018/2019. It acknowledged that there were still issues in respect of the number of schools provided with sanitation facilities through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), as well as water provision through ASIDI. The DBE was not spending as it should on the support aspect of the Second Chance Matric programme, and indicated that infrastructure was the main area where it was struggling with expenditure.
Members’ questions covered a wide range of issues, such as the overburdening of the existing infrastructure system as a result of migration issues; the qualifications of early childhood development (ECD) practitioners; the inadequate absorption of Funza Lushaka graduates; the problematic prioritisation of robotics and coding developments over improving literacy rates; security for computer equipment; new schools being built without internet connectivity; the rise in the unemployment rate, and what the DBE was doing to address the issue; violence in schools; grants for learners with severe and profound intellectual disabilities; schools illegally charging application fees; and clarification on the funding allocations for the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) project.
Mr Hubert Mweli, Director-General (DG): Department of Basic Education (DBE), took the Committee through the plan for the delivery of the presentations, stressing that the focus would be on the outcomes.
It would start with an analysis of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) from 2014, linking it to 2019, and then focusing on SONA 2020. The presentation would be divided into three parts -- the context of the analysis, the linkage between the different SONAs, with an emphasis on SONA 2019 and 2020, and a reflection on the progress contained in SONA 2020.
The second presentation would be the third quarter report, divided into three parts -- the pre-determined objectives, including an overview of the highlights, the financial analysis, and lastly, quality progress on the implementation of the objective plan.
Analysis of the SONA
Dr Stephen Taylor, Researcher and Policy Advisor to the DBE, explained how the SONA fitted into other government plans, and made the point that all the plans were aligned and that there was a growing continuity in what the sector decided to prioritise. He described how the SONA fitted into the DBE’s other strategic priorities, in that the National Development Plan (NDP) was the larger long-term goal. He took the Committee briefly through the seven priorities that the President had given the Department, and the five strategic goals outlined last year.
It had been mentioned in last year’s SONA that half a million children who had special needs were out of school. That statistic had been based on an incorrect report, but had received a lot of attention in the media. An analysis showed that the figure was more around 89 000 special needs children in the age group of 5-18 who were out of school. There was a lot of continuity between the 2019 and 2020 SONAs, specifically in relation to progress on robotics and coding, textbooks, technology, early childhood development (ECD), the goal of every ten-year-old being able to read for meaning, and more consistent measurement of progress in Grades 3,6 and 9.
Dr Taylor recommended that the Committee note the analysis of the education components of the SONAs, and discuss their implications for the sector for the next five years.
DBE’s Third Quarter Performance for 2019/20
Ms Carol Nuga-Deliwe, Chief Director, Strategic Planning and Research, DBE, took the Committee through the Department’s performance indicators and targets.
Programme 1 looked at personnel administration, management and social responsibility, and the work the DBE was doing in bringing information technology (IT) systems up to the required standard to ensure efficiency. They were doing work on improving the way in which they reported on the work they were doing.
Programme 2 involved curriculum development and assessment policies, and implementation monitoring and support. For the Second Chance Matric programme, they had exceeded their targets.
Programme 3 dealt with promoting quality teaching and institutional performance through the effective supply, development and utilisation of human resources. In Quarter 2, there had been concern around the quarterly output for the number of accounting diagnostic analysis reports produced.
Programme 4 looked at planning, information and assessment. Work had been done on district-level planning and implementation support, to consolidate how the district development model would be implemented so that all programmes were aware of the need to report on a district level. Most of the resolutions from the DBE had come from implementing the School Improvement Support Coordinators programme, but there was still some performance that was lower than expected at the provincial level. There were still issues in respect of the number of schools provided with sanitation facilities through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), as well as water provision through ASIDI.
Programme 5 was concerned with educational enrichment services. The Department had monitored more schools in quarter 3 than in quarter 2 to cover the shortfall in the previous quarter. They had not accounted for the September holidays for the drop in participation in the number of learners, teachers, officials, school governing bodies (SGBs) and community organisation members participating in social cohesion and gender equity progammes, and they would take this into account in future planning.
Ms Nuga-Deliwe said the total budget was R24 billion, and was broken down into conditional grants, transfers to public entities and other transfers. The DBE was not spending as it should on the support aspect of the Second Chance Matric programme, rather than the core aspect of the programme. Infrastructure was the main area where the DBE was struggling with expenditure.
Regarding progress on the implementation of the 2018/19 audit action plan, she said the DBE had received qualification on the 2019/2020 audit action plan, but these had been almost entirely on infrastructure issues such as immoveable tangible capital assets, commitments, contingent liabilities accruals and payables not recognized, material irregularity and wasteful expenditure.
The capital assets and expenditure had been adjusted to exclude disbursements and had been classified as an operational expense, in accordance with the AG’s instructions, which was reported as such in quarter 3. The issue of the misstatement of accruals had been resolved in quarter 2, to be compliant with modified case standards.
The DG had signed a letter addressed to the Adopt-a-School Foundation for a claim of irregular expenditure amounting to R7.3 million, and the DBE was still engaging with the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) to recover those funds. Implementing agents had been issued with warning letters to account for irregular, fruitless and wasteful spending.
Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC) questioned the current efforts of the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development regarding their progress on Programme 2 (curriculum policy, support and monitoring), and stressed that the Committee ought to prevent any possible planning and implementation failings that could arise. He proposed that due to the migration of people from where they were housed currently, there could be a potential backlog and increased pressure on the already overburdened infrastructure, such as overcrowded classrooms. He proposed that the Committee guard against overburdening the system.
He addressed the retraining of Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners, and said that to become qualified teachers, they were required to graduate with a National Qualifying Framework (NQF) level 4 qualification. However, the training system did not account for the people who failed to attain this qualification, which further contributed to the issue of unemployment in the country.
He referred to the Funza Lushaka graduates who were unable to be adequately absorbed by some provinces, as indicated in the report. What were the challenges involved? Was it that the programme did not account for the principles of supply and demand? The purpose of the programme was to address scarce-skills subjects and to train teachers, and if there were communities that were dismantling the basis of the programme, the Committee needed to address the issue.
Ms D van der Walt (DA) expressed her dismay at the number of absentees when the Committee went to Limpopo, and said it was unacceptable that the Member of the Executive Committee (MEC), staff members, the acting Head of Department (HOD) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) had not been there. They had been attending a political meeting, yet their presence was crucial for oversight. She urged that the matter be taken up by the Minister.
She commented that in the SONA 2020, basic education had not been adequately addressed. She raised the issue of the 2012 court case, where the court had ordered the Eastern Cape department to deliver desks, and in 2014 the President had committed to fulfilling this obligation by mid-August 2014. She said that the obligation had still not been fulfilled. She asked for clarification regarding the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) project that had been launched and mentioned in the 2019 SONA, involving the President and private donors, and wanted to know how the project had advanced since the announcement. She acknowledged that the President had made a comment about it towards the end of last year, but there had not been any updated feedback on it.
She commended the developments on robotics and coding, but stressed that the experts on education in South Africa had stated that it was more important for children to be able to read. She made reference to an international report that had been released on a survey done in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Gauteng, which showed that more than three-quarters of children aged nine could not read with meaning, and that in the Limpopo province, that figure was as high as 91%. She asked how the Committee was going to do better on literacy rates in order to be able to reach the level to focus on the developing robotics and coding initiatives.
She raised the issue of information communication technology (ICT), where many promises had been made yet another school had been burgled and ICT equipment had been stolen. What were the figures relating to the losses? Was the equipment insured? She drew attention to the fact that in Limpopo, several technologically advanced schools had been built, but there were no possibilities for connectivity. If computer labs were built, as well as the safety infrastructure for them, what would be the use if there was no connectivity?
With the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programme, every year they had largely been short of meeting the goals that were set. How were these problems going to be fixed and be updated? She acknowledged the challenge of budget cuts on infrastructure at different levels, but stressed that this reasoning was not acceptable if education was a priority. The implementing agents were an issue, and this needed to be revisited. The norms and standards in the budgets of all provinces as prescribed by the law were not being adhered to in all provinces. What was being done about it? How plausible was it and how was provision going to be made for it? A certain amount had been transferred to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the training of teachers – what had been the exact amounts that were paid over to those funds from the DBE’s budget?
Ms M Sukers (ACDP) acknowledged the five goals that needed to be achieved by 2015, and said that they were not being met, drawing specific attention to the fact that the unemployment rate increased every year, violence in schools was escalating and the educational goal of every ten-year-old being able to read for meaning was not being met. The NDP goals needed to be reassessed to determine how far they were in achieving them, and whether the goals were realistic.
It had been stated in the presentation that sports, arts and culture, health and the police services needed to be rolled in for social cohesion, health and safety, but she took issue with social development being left out as a key player in ensuring that children’s needs were met on a welfare basis and in dealing with the psyche of a child’s mind by social workers. The Department was doing an injustice by not including social development, and she urged that it be included. She echoed the challenge with the robotics and coding developments, in that connectivity was already an issue and the illiteracy rates of children not being able to read with meaning needed to be addressed.
She raised a new issue of skilled people who were not being adequately recognised because they did not have educational degrees, and were recognised as support staff. To illustrate, she said that a person could be skilled with an engineering certificate, but not have an education degree, or a person could have a Funza Lushaka bursary, but not be properly skilled to be in that discipline. This issue needed to be addressed. It had been found that this was occurring at many special needs schools, and it could not be said that preparation for the next generation was happening without addressing this first.
She said home education should be considered as an alternative form of education. Would the grant for learners with severe learning disabilities go beyond the three-year period, or be stopped due to under-funding or other challenges? Scholar transport was always a challenge, and in the last quarter the Committee had had to prepare for school-readiness, which was under review. The challenge with scholar transport was that there was not a proper funding model for it. Even though there were norms and standards, they had possibly not been set out, because various provinces were using either the Department of Education or the Department of Transport’s funding model. Had the DBE been in discussion regarding a proper scholar transport funding grant, only in the domain of basic education, for all provinces?
In the quarterly report, regarding international relations and multinational affairs, mention had been made of young entrepreneurs from developing countries, Chinese languages for government officials from developing countries, education managers from Belt & Road Initiative countries, and applied Chinese for officials from African countries. She commented that this meant that focus was being given only to the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) countries, China being one of them. What was the purpose of doing this? Was it to increase the Chinese language ability in South Africa, and in South African schools?
With regard to the district model addressed in the President’s SONA and its linkage to municipalities, she acknowledged that in some provinces, such as the Western Cape and Gauteng, it was a good model, but in other provinces such as the Eastern Cape, where district municipalities were not functioning properly, the model was not good as they could not manage their own finances. What was the link between getting municipalities involved with education? The intention was to avoid duplication, but she believed that duplication would eventually occur and at some stage proper funding would not be issued to these schools, especially the ECD schools, which she knew the municipalities did not focus on.
Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) argued that the ability to speak Mandarin meant that people with that skill could navigate the economic space better. China was growing economically, so it acted as an advantage to have it as an additional language in schools. She raised the issue that schools had started asking for an application fee from parents, and asked what the Department was doing to ensure that this was being prevented. If schools required additional funding, other means needed to be explored and provided by the state, as it was unacceptable for these fees to be charged. The amounts being charged were fluctuating and were non-refundable, and this put financial strain on parents who did not have the means to be paying those fees. She suggested that the fees were being charged as a gimmick by the schools to raise extra funding.
She commended the fact that there were special needs matriculants, but stressed that when accessibility was being discussed, the Department prided itself on being able to say that they were meeting accessibility goals by a high percentage, yet it excluded learners with special needs. There were about 89 000 special needs learners who were meant to be included, but the figures did not reflect this correctly and this could not be taken for granted. When the results of matriculants were released, they did not reflect how many learners wrote exams, only how many learners passed their exams. She asked for clarification on those statistics.
She raised the issue of grade 12 learners who had failed but were being turned away from schools. The learners were included by being registered in the school but were later taken off the roll and told they must go to another school. What was the issue of accessibility with these learners being included? Was there a regulation that states what the capacity is, for how many learners a high school may take? The issue was that some schools claimed they had reached capacity, but the situation was that these was an influx of learners moving to urban areas, and every learner wanted to be enrolled in a specific school of a specific standard. Was there a way of expanding the capacity of schools that had that standard, essentially to increase the maximum number of learners a school could take on? Was there a regulation on this?
Dr S Thembekwayo (EFF) said that the ECD programme was currently being implemented autonomously by the provinces, and the practitioners were being paid slave wages, and there was a need for the DBE to address this issue. With the ICT equipment like laptops being installed in schools, was there a concrete plan in place to ensure its safety? Had mobile classrooms become permanent structures for learning, and were they being rented or bought? She urged the Committee to address the issue of sanitation in rural schools urgently. If it was not, there could be cases of children drowning in toilets, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like Equal Education would potentially sue the Department for incompetence and service delivery failure.
Ms N Mashabela (EFF) raised the issue of migration, and said that if migration issues were one of the six priorities and it was being handled negatively, then what bearing did that have on funding and the guarantee that those learners would be accommodated in schools. She highlighted the need for the Department to reassess the model of appointing implementing agents, as they were not actually performing and functioning properly according to their respective plans, which had been illustrated by the findings of the quarterly plan. She used the example of the sanitary facilities that had failed to be provided through ASIDI, as well as the provision of water. She stressed the importance of the implementing agents being accountable to the Department of Education on what they were doing. She drew attention to the challenges of payments for financial expenditure, where it had been stated in the presentation that the over-expenditure was due to theft and losses that occurred in the Department -- for example, when an official was involved in an accident, and so forth. She wanted to know the details of the theft – who was stealing what, where and when, and what was the Department doing to address this? Was money being stolen? What was being done if this was the case?
Ms N Adoons (ANC) acknowledged that a lot of good work had been done. She commended the pass rate that had been achieved and said they were on the right track. She commented on the teachers’ awards being a symbol of progress and hope that the NDP goals would be reached. She welcomed the district programme that the President had introduced in the SONA, and said she thought it was going to solve a lot of problems. Regarding the third quarter report, she noted that there had been an improvement on the 2018/2019 quarterly reports, but questioned whether these improvements would be taken into the fourth quarter. Would there be an improved Auditor General (AG) outcome – would it increase or decrease? The audit action plan had been implemented, so there was an assurance that there would be an improved outcome.
The Chairperson referred specifically to the SONA, and asked what the DBE’s contribution and interventions were to create employment in the country for young people, graduates and non-graduates. She wanted to know what the issues were of reaching the targets in Programme 2 (curriculum policy, support and monitoring), and whether they would realistically be able to reach those prescribed targets in the fourth quarter. She drew attention to the donation of R50 million received by organisations to be used for sanitation, and asked which rural provinces had been focused on, and who the donors were, because they had not been mentioned.
Dr Reginah Mhaule, Deputy Minister of Basic Education, said that the DBE was there to present the third quarterly report, and that this Committee had approved the annual performance plan (APP) of the Department. She appreciated that education had many facets, and that was why Members must not be limited to the scope of the work of the Committee, because sometimes the right people were not present at the meeting to be asked about specific details. She wanted to know whether there was a rule for the expansion of schools.
Mr Mweli responded on the teacher retraining issue, and said the minimum qualification was NQF 6. This was a diploma, which was not to be confused by NQF level 4, which was matric. The intention was for the minimum standard for any practitioner to be NQF 4 (grade 12), but the DBE went with the policy, which was NQF 6. Regarding the Funza Lushaka graduates, Mr Moroatshehla had been right in saying that they were not able to place as many graduates. In previous years, it had been a priority to place these graduates at the provincial and national level. There was a new phenomenon, where there was competition between the placing of graduates who had sold their entire livestock to pay for the programme versus those who had their fees paid through taxpayers money, who were being prioritised ahead of the former type of graduates. Provinces were trying to juxtaposition that as best as they possibly could, with Funza being a priority on the one hand, and the communities who had had to sacrifice all that they had to pay for the programme. These were the kinds of dynamics that had complicated the placing of Funza Lushaka graduates.
He then addressed Ms Van der Walt’s issue, stating that the Deputy Minister was present at the meeting to address her concerns regarding the absenteeism at the Limpopo meeting. He thought the President would have given progress on the 2019 SONA, particularly because the new administration was introduced in June, and say what the focus was intended to be for the next five years. He then summarised what the President had actually addressed in the SONA regarding robotics and coding, ICT equipment provision and technological advances in education.
With the court case decision in the Eastern Cape in 2012, they had appointed a team led by a retired legal expert brought in by the former Deputy Minister, and worked with the court to implement the decision of providing school children with furniture. If the records of the court were checked, it would show that the order had been implemented, and he corrected the notion that nothing had been done about this issue. Ms Van der Walt had contended that the issue was probably not finalised, but he understood that it indeed had been, otherwise there would be legal action pursuant to the matter.
He said that what the SAFE programme had received since its launching from the private sector, the education infrastructure grant and ASIDI, and what was being done in terms of the programme, would be provided. In the current financial year, R700 million had been allocated to the SAFE programme, and 606 schools had been identified. R1 billion had been allocated for the next financial year. He wanted to remind the Committee that this allocation had been confirmed only in February 2019, and to plan infrastructure, at least 18 months was needed to develop a proper plan. He hoped this would contextualise some of the challenges the Department was going through. Even though National Treasury had delayed in allocating the money, they had been reminded that the allocation should have been confirmed much earlier.
He acknowledged Ms Van der Walt’s concerns that robotics and coding were being prioritised over foundational reading skills, although he did not understand the reasoning behind waiting for learners to be able to read to move forward with the plan for robotics.
He said there was a need to be cautious in taking what Amnesty International said for granted, as they did not specilise in matters dealing with education. There was a need to triangulate what Amnesty International was saying with what reports from experts said on the matter. He did not dismiss what they were saying, but advised that one should take what they said with a pinch of salt and be patient, to get the results from experts.
The Department was greatly concerned by the ICT equipment that had been stolen and the investments that were being made into the equipment that was being stolen. There would be a prioritisation of the schools that were considered red flags. They had not had anything tangible on how to provide security in schools, and it was a matter of great concern. The government, however, did not take insurance out on assets because it was not cost effective, so they would need to find money to replace what was lost.
Regarding the new schools that were built without connectivity, he said that sometimes the Department had had to yield to the pressure of communities. By creating the infrastructure, it sometimes put pressure on the Department of Telecommunications to roll out broadband so that there was connectivity.
The update he had received on progress with the ASIDI programme was that they were likely to exceed the allocation for this financial year. They were currently lagging, resulting in a build-up of old projects with new projects.
Although unemployment was increasing, in most instances it was due to factors over which they did not have control. They had contributed to reducing unemployment through internships and fixed-term contracts to employ young people -- for example, teachers who were under 30 years of age -- and there were many other projects in the Department where they were trying to attract many unemployed people, especially the youth.
Regarding violence, he expressed his uncertainty as to whether the reporting of violence was becoming better or whether violence was truly increasing, as he has not come across any report that said that violence had become rampant in schools. He expressed his belief that with the advent of technology, anyone could share anything that became viral. He had not come across any empirical research that indicated that violence in schools had become unprecedented. Compared to other schools internationally, South Africa was seen as modest in terms of violence in schools. He referred the matter to the Deputy Minister, who he believed would have a more qualified opinion about the matter.
He agreed with Ms Sukers on bringing the Department of Social Development into matters of social welfare.
On the issue of skilled people who were not recognised, he recollected that a specific category of professionals needed to be recognised who did not have a formal qualification in education. It had been found that professionals were recruited from the ICT industry and they teamed together to provide skills that were not provided through a certificate of education. A new category was now provided for those who fall within this category.
The DBE’s policies and legislation did make provision for home education as an alternate form of education, in that it was treated as private, independent schooling. Virtual and online schools would help to navigate many challenges of infrastructure which were being faced. They were working with the Gauteng Department to make provision for virtual schools. This would alleviate the issue of travelling time, and was something worth considering.
The DBE was in the third year of the grant for learners with severe and profound intellectual disabilities and had not been warned about the cut-off. Their sense was that the grants would continue for as long as they were needed, and that many other grants that exist operated in a similar way.
The learner transport concern was a ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’ issue. A classic example was where the parent was unhappy with the schooling in the area, so they schooled their child in another area. The government was obliged to provide only for needs, not wants, as money was wasted. He postulated that they possibly had more money allocated to transport than was needed, but he was not convinced that taxpayers were getting value for their money by being transported to far out areas where schools were already overburdened.
He was also dealing with the issue that the schools in the district model could be a unit of analysis for the quality of support that districts were providing the teachers. To illustrate this with an example, ever since the Eastern Cape had moved from the 26 districts model to 12, they had improved drastically – they had been the highest improving district after KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) from last year. He thought that the district model was the best improvement they could have made.
On the issue of the application fee, it was indeed happening, and schools were being asked to stop charging these fees because it was illegal, as it impeded access into schools.
Dr Taylor had explained that the 500 000 figure was erroneous and that 89 000 was the correct figure that they had established in the system. This figure had just been verified, and was collected through censusing.
He attempted to defend the technical report that had been presented on the number of learners who had written the National Senior Certificate, the number of learners who had enrolled and those who had passed. He said that they were not where they should be with those figures, but they had progressed in leaps and bounds from where they used to be to where they were now. The maximum number that a school could take was determined by the capacity of the school – if there was space to expand, then they were able to expand the school’s maximum number that they were able to take on.
Referring to the ECD issue, he said if an ECD practitioner was qualified then they were paid like other teachers, and when they were not qualified, they were paid a stipend. There had been an attempt to regulate the payments at one stage, where a threshold of R5 000 had been set that they could not go below. He agreed that if it needed to be revisited, they would revisit the issue.
Security of the equipment was a challenge. Mobile classrooms were bought, not rented.
On the sanitation issue, money had been allocated for the SAFE project, and one of the major challenges was the implementing agents’ ability to deliver projects on time. If projects would not be completed on time, then they did not allocate money to it. The challenge then was that the projects ended up being piled on to a few implementing agents.
He contended that there was no contradiction, as stated by Dr Thembekwayo, in the presentation as the intention was for Grade R and Grade RR to be allocated to primary schools or satellite primary schools, but the rest would remain in community centres. They were looking for an infrastructure development plan for the whole centre, as it needed to be revamped. They were looking for an agency for infrastructure for education which would coordinate the whole project. For the accountability of implementing agents, the system in place was that if they did not perform, they did not have funding allocated to their projects.
Regarding challenges with the payment of assets, he indicated that the government did not take out insurance on its assets, as it was not cost effective. He acknowledged that they could do a benchmark and check the rate at which they supported other provinces and districts, and see if it showed that they were losing more money in some than in others.
He thanked Ms Adoons for recognising the Department’s various victories.
On the issue of the audit action plan, the Department was trying to ensure that the last findings did not come back. However, the audits might not focus on what had been picked up last time, and they had to ensure everything was acceptable from what had been picked up.
He had already responded to the issue raised by the Chairperson about the DBE’s contribution to reducing unemployment rates.
With Programme 2, it could be that most of the targets were annual targets. The 71% for the third quarter referred to indicators, and not financial performance. In terms of financial performance, they could be far beyond that percentage. There had been changes to the annual target, and there were now more quarterly targets in the year under review. The annual targets had been increased from 70% to 76%, but if one compared the Department’s performance so far, it indicated that they were still doing quite well.
The rural education donations had come from the European Union. The R50 million covered KZN, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. The DBE would provide more information on this.
Ms Nuga-Deliwe had provided clarification on the indicators from the report. They were looking at only six indicators, and of those they had been able to achieve four. The report was not cumulative. He addressed the issue of the use of bucket toilets in schools, saying that their use had been discontinued.
Dr Granville Whittle, DDG: Social Mobilisation and Support Services, DBE, provided clarification regarding Amnesty International, and said that they were working with the correct information as they had acquired it from their data set.
He clarified further that as far as he knew, bucket toilets were not being used in schools any more, and that there were no schools that did not have access to electricity. By March 2021, all schools would have access to water, which may not be sufficient water for sanitation, but rather for drinking purposes. On all the above issues, he asked that if the members had information indicating that these services were not being provided in schools, they should please relay the information. He said that with sanitation, schools were having issues when using long-drop toilets. They had a list of about 4 000 of those schools, which had been drawn up in collaboration with the provinces.
With ASIDI, there were four programmes. 367 schools had been identified, and 234 of those had had a brand-new sanitation and water supply system installed. There had been 312 schools earmarked for the provision of electricity and with cooperation from Eskom, all of them had electricity now. The issue that they were still facing with infrastructure was reliable information. They needed to know what was happening at the schools in South Africa all the time to be able to fix the problems. They had the National Education Infrastructure Information System, which had been developed in 2006/2007. There had been a reasonable update around 2013/2014 by some provinces.
A further issue was that they were limited by the money available. He confirmed that they had had about R2.7 billion allocated, and the ASIDI project would need to be completed by March 2021, and the SAFE project would need to be completed by March 2022. The need for implementing agents was a result of the service delivery failures of the Public Works Department. He confirmed that they were putting pressure on these agents by taking them to task, and that contractors had also been employed to do the work, but they had failed to deliver. They were therefore going to be engaging on the training of contractors and the feedback when they failed to deliver. Local interference on construction projects was also an issue, and mediation had to take place to maintain the peace.
Adoption of reports and minutes
The Chairperson referred to the report on the oversight visit to Limpopo dated 11 February, and said that Members who were at that meeting were not at the current meeting, so she did not know how to go forward with that. They had visited two districts. She then took the Committee through the report to confirm its details.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi said that the only issue she had was that the MEC had not attended the meeting, and she felt that the MEC should be invited to give representations to the Committee.
The Chairperson clarified that those were two separate issues, as the oversight meeting had already taken place. She proposed that the report should be adopted as it was, because the oversight meeting did happen, even if the MEC and other members had not attended that meeting.
The report was adopted without any amendments.
The Chairperson took the Committee through the draft report on the petition of the residents of DryHarts Village on the reopening of Molemoeng School. She proposed adoption of the report as the true reflection of affairs.
Mr Moroatshehla proposed its adoption without any amendments. Ms Shabalala seconded the motion. The draft report was adopted.
The Chairperson took the Committee through the minutes of 18 February 2020, and proposed their adoption.
Mr Moroatshehla proposed their adoption without any amendments. Ms Shabalala seconded the motion. The minutes were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
- DBE: Analysis, Implications and Impact of the President’s SONA
- DBE: Third Quarterly Performance of Department in Meeting its Pre-determined Objectives For 2019/20
- Committee Report on oversight visit to Capricorn and Sekhukhune Education Districts, Limpopo Province
- Committee Report on Petition from Residents of the Dryharts Village calling for the Reopening of the Molehabangwe Middle School
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