CHE, SAQA, & QCTO 2019/20 Annual Reports

Higher Education, Science and Technology

10 November 2020
Chairperson: Mr P Mapulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

2019/20 Annual Reports

The Committee met with the Council on Higher Education (CHE), the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Quality Council on Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in a virtual meeting to receive briefings on their 2019/20 Annual Reports. Members were generally pleased with the performance of the entities, particularly with the clean audit outcomes achieved over the years. 

The Chairperson of SAQA was about to retire from the board, and lamented to the Committee her concerns over its financial position. The entity was on the verge of instituting retrenchments due to the lack of funding to balance its budget. After several attempts to source funding from the Department and engaging with the Minister to halt the retrenchments, the entity had reached the sad situation of having to take a decision to go ahead with the retrenchments. During the engagements with the Department, four options had been presented to SAQA to salvage its budget, but none had enabled it to produce a balanced budget.

Members were seriously concerned about the retrenchments, and resolved to assist the entity by approaching the Standing Committee on Appropriations with a submission for additional funding or a bailout. Retrenchments had to be avoided at all costs, especially in the public sector.

The CHE described how the Covid-19 pandemic had really hit the Council hard, although the resources in the organisation had improved with an additional conditional grant of R20 million and a R5 million grant in seed funding from the University Capacity Development Programme. It had managed to clear the entire backlog for all programme accreditations. Its special audit conducted at the University of Zululand had been concluded, and there were now some changes and good progress being made. There was a serious effort being made to attend to the risks and quality assurance.

Key challenges included the entity’s information communication technology (ICT) requirements, due to the heavy reliance on external service providers; the attraction and retention of critical skills at a senior level; inconsistencies in legislation remaining a challenge for the Council; and funds having to be reallocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The QCTO’s budgets had been significantly cut for 2020/21 and future years. Total revenue for 2020/21 had been reduced by 35.5%, to R 82.5 million. Because its salary bill was R65 million, and rent and other fixed costs amounted to R 14 million, only R 3.5 million would be left to cover all the other expenses, so all recruitment and salary increments had been frozen. The organisation was in the process of securing a loan to purchase its building. This would significantly reduce the rentals. A request for approval of the retention of its cash surplus had been submitted to National Treasury.

Members asked whether the Department had any interventions under way to maintain and save the jobs at SAQA. They asked about the withdrawal of funds from the QCTO; the QCTO’s limitations in using its ICT system for monitoring, and the challenges relating to its implementation; alternative mechanisms put in place to avoid retrenchments; SAQA’s plans for addressing its deficit issues during the next financial year; how QCTO planned on delivering its mandate without filling key vacancies; and whether SAQA would be able to implement the new provisions of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act, as amended.

Meeting report

Council on Higher Education: Annual Report

Prof Themba Mosia, Chairperson, Council on Higher Education (CHE), commenced by introducing the delegation and the management team. He told Members that the previous Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO’s) term had ended, and the Council now had an Acting CEO. The Council would be conducting interviews next week to fill the position.

He outlined the mandate of the CHE and its relevant statutes. This was followed by the policy mandates and White Papers that addressed post-school education. He also touched on the structure of the Council and its management.

During the past year, Covid-19 had really hit the Council hard, although the resources in the organisation had improved with the additional conditional grant of R20 million, and the R5 million grant of seed-funding under the University Capacity Development Programme. The CHE maintained a solid and healthy relationship with its stakeholders. Its research collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) had led to the joint publication of a book.

It had managed to clear the entire backlog for all programme accreditation. Its special audit, conducted at the University of Zululand, had been concluded and there were now some changes and good progress to that effect. There was a seriousness about attending to the risks and quality assurance.

Key challenges included information communication technology (ICT), due to the heavy reliance on external service providers; the attraction and retention of critical skills at a senior level; inconsistencies in legislation remained a challenge for the Council; and funds had been reallocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Dr Amani Saidi, Chief Executive Officer, CHE, took over and presented on the highlights of the organisation.

Dr Thulaganyo Mothusi, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), CHE, referred to the audit opinion, and said the Council had received a clean audit report. There were immaterial audit findings that had been highlighted by the Auditor-General (AG) which had subsequently been resolved. This included the non-payment of one supplier within 30 days – and the reasons had been submitted to the auditors. The second issue had been a lack of verification of an intangible asset, where the verification could not be done due to Covid-19. Thirdly, there had been a recruitment agency that had not verified a qualification of an employee, amongst others.

The Chairperson welcomed and appreciated the consistent clean audits that the CHE had received. He said the top leadership had set a good tone for the organisation on matters of consequence management. If things were messy at the top level, it trickled down to the entire organisation.

South African Qualifications Authority: Annual Report

Dr Vuyelwa Toni-Penxa, Chairperson, South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), said it had been an honour and a privilege to have served SAQA for the past ten years, first as a Deputy Chairperson and then in the current position as Chairperson. She was presenting her last report as the Chairperson of SAQA.

Things at SAQA these days were bleak, and it was facing financial constraints that had forced the board to face difficult challenges. Highly skilled staff members were leaving the organisation, but the new members of the staff were dealing with the new challenges. She wished the new board the best of luck and sound terms of office.

In the previous engagements, there were four questions that SAQA had been asked to respond to. These questions included budget cuts, the audit findings, the remedies put in place to address the audit findings, and irregular expenditure.

The highlights of the 2019/20 year included SAQA adapting to deliver services in the context of the Covid-19 lockdown, which had been difficult.

As for the audit opinions for the decade, SAQA had had a 23-year history of unqualified audit opinions. In 2011/12 and 2013/14, 2018/19 and 2019/20, it had achieved clean audit reports. She was proud to be leaving SAQA with such a legacy.

The focus areas in terms of the strategic plan were articulation, recognition of prior learning (RPL), genuine qualifications and simplification of the qualifications. SAQA had a robust risk management protocol.

In terms of governance, there had been no reported cases of fraud and corruption, or conflicts of interest and infringement of the code of conduct.

For the health and safety of the environment, SAQA had diverted 78% of its operational waste through a recycling project partnership. It had also implemented a green cleaning and purchasing strategy. The recycling project partnership had resulted in the employment of a community member.

The SAQA board consisted of 10 members who were appointed by the Minister in their individual capacities. The board had one vacant seat, with 11 sub-committees reporting to it. The term of the Board would soon end, in December 2020.

She once again thanked the Committee for the appointment of the board, and bade farewell to the Members.

Dr Julie Reddy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SAQA, briefed the Committee on the entity’s highlights. It had met about 94% of its targets. The presentation contained performance achievements, and reports on its human resources management and employment equity.

SAQA’s expenses were nearing its revenue. The organisation was sitting with a 3.3% surplus, which meant that it had an unbalanced budget for the 2020/21 financial year.  

The Chairperson expressed concern about the looming retrenchments at SAQA. These retrenchments were on-going, and hopefully the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was facilitating a way forward to address that. One job loss was one too many. One job loss affected possibly other five people, but it seemed inevitable during these difficult times in the country.

Quality Council for Trades and Occupations: Annual Report

The Chairperson welcomed the recently appointed Chairperson of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), Mr Sam Zungu.

Mr Zungu thanked the Chairperson, introduced his delegation and commenced the presentation with his opening remarks.

Mr Vijayen Naidoo, CEO, QCTO, took over the presentation and presented on matters of governance; the senior management structure; the service delivery environment; the organisational environment; strategic outcomes; strategies to overcome areas of under-performance; and human resources management challenges.

Mr Innocent Gumbochuma, CFO, QCTO presented on the financial position of the organisation, providing reasons for under-expenditure of R10 million, which had been due to three tenders that were cancelled due to non-acceptable bids, and reporting on the audit outcomes.

As for the future outlook, the budgets had been significantly cut for 2020/21 and future years. Total revenue for 2020/21 had been reduced by 35.5% to R82.5 million. The salary bill for the QCTO was R65 million, rent and other fixed costs amounted to R14 million, and only R3.5 million would be left to cover all the other expenses. Thus, all recruitment and salary increments had been frozen. The organisation was in the process of securing a loan so as to purchase its own building. This would significantly reduce the rentals. A request for approval of its cash surplus had been submitted to National Treasury.

Discussion

The Chairperson said he was pleased that all three entities had obtained or achieved clean audits. The Committee appreciated where entities got clean audits, because it meant that they were managing the finances of their organisations properly, including their performance.

The kind of audit outcomes that the entity had received was really attributed to the stability at the top, which in turn trickled down the organisation.

He extended appreciation to the Chairperson of the QCTO, whose term had also ended.

One of the features that cut across all three entities was the concern over the lack of funding. SAQA had stated that it could not cope, but the Committee would ascertain from the Department whether there were any interventions under way to maintain and save the jobs. If it was the public sector that was now shedding jobs, and it was extremely concerning.

A discussion at a strategic level with the Department and the Minister to discuss the future of these entities was needed. These entities guaranteed quality assurance in the post-school education and training (PSET) sector, and when they were affected by budget cuts, the Committee needed to ascertain what was being done to ensure that they continued to exist.

The Chairperson said that he would like to get the perspective of the Department on the situation affecting the three entities. 

Ms J Mananiso (ANC) said that the Committee was indeed known for appreciating and acknowledging the entities’ work. However, when conducting oversight, this seemed to work against the Committee.

When people came before the Committee, most of them attributed their challenges to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet the financial year had started before its onset. She applauded SAQA for speaking on issues of gender-based violence, and that the transformation of gender in key positions had come to fruition.

QCTO had confirmed the receipt of R25 million that had been withdrawn. Who had withdrawn this R25 million, and where was the additional funding going to come from?

What was the QCTO’s limitation in utilising information communication technology (ICT) for monitoring, and was it ready to be implemented? If there were any challenges, what were those challenges, and how best would they be addressed to ensure that they were ready?

On the issue of retrenchments, were there any alternative mechanisms that the entities could come up with to ensure that these retrenchments were avoided? Those who had co-morbidities and were much older should perhaps consider opening up the space for the young ones.

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) expressed her gratitude for all the good work that the entities had done. Did SAQA plan to deal with the deficit issue in the next financial year?

How did the QCTO plan to deliver its mandate without filling the key vacancies?  

Mr W Letsie (ANC) thanked the three entities for doing what they were meant to be doing, even in the midst of tough issues such as achieving targets they had set for themselves. With the use of public funds, the entities had done very well.

He also thanked the SAQA’s board, and asserted that it had done extremely well. The majority of the members of the board would do well in the near future. He advised anybody coming into that space to learn from their colleagues that a public servant could be clean -- a public servant that put the interests of South Africans first.

There had been a problem at SAQA in April. The Committee had had an interaction with SAQA where it had made recommendations with the Minister present. It had asked the Minister to intervene on the impact of the entity **in doing its job and making money. This entity received very little funding from the government, and the Committee had asked the Minister in anticipation about what was happening now. Could they get a clear indication from the Department on what happened to this?

Almost two-thirds of SAQA’s employees were women. This was very good. The human resources function had indicated that the entity was losing three capable young black senior managers. This was extremely concerning. They needed to take a moment to reflect on how this would affect the public service and the organisation. There were 71 other individuals which the board had indicated that it had no choice but to retrench. This was a direct indictment of the public representatives of this country.

For SAQA, given the current budget cuts and inadequate revenue from services rendered, would SAQA be able to implement the new provisions of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act as amended, which required it to develop and register for professional designation and misrepresented, fraudulent qualifications and pre- and part qualifications? Members had been given the number of qualifications that had been checked and found to have been fraudulent. How was SAQA going to be able to achieve this with the budgetary constraints?

How was it planning on funding an additional mandate? Had the IT structure been put in place to adequately maintain the register?

The SAQA board had indicated that it had held numerous meetings with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), and had had two meetings with the Minister. Subsequently, the board had decided to retrench about 71 staff members. What had SAQA been hoping to achieve from the engagement with the DHET and the Minister? What had been the Minister’s response to the financial constraints of the organisation? Members would appreciate a confirmation from the Department as to whether a possible bailout for SAQA was being considered.

The South African NQF was one of the best on the continent and highly esteemed internationally. What were the risks of inadequate funding on the overall implementation of the NQF, and how could SAQA assist the Committee in its lobbying attempts to source funding for it?

Tomorrow was the last day for the Standing Committee on Appropriations (SCOA) to receive public comments. He proposed that the Department should write to the SCOA to seek money for the organisation. The Committee should also perhaps write to the SCOA. This organisation had had clean audits, and it could not be allowed to fail. Members also had a responsibility to worry about the staff morale of those employees who would be left at the entity.

There were many entities that were using state funds as if it was their own money. Meanwhile, one of the best performing entities was having financial constraints. The Committee needed to find a way to intervene, because he was uncertain whether the Department was going to intervene.

He welcomed the new board members of the QCTO, and said funding for its sector education and training authorities (SETAs) had been severely impacted by the skills levy ‘holiday’ that had been implemented for four months. How was the reduction in the skills levy going to impact on the funding of the QCTO in the short to medium term, and would it be able to implement its business case to increase its quality assurance? The business case had been with the Department since 2017, and an approval was yet to be granted. The Department needed to tell Members why it had taken so long to approve this business case.

He also wanted to know whether any progress had been made on the purchase of the premises, because in the previous year, Members had grilled the board about the exorbitant rental costs that the QCTO was paying.

Mr S Tambo (EFF) welcomed the presentations from the entities after the horrific stories that Members had heard last week. It was a relief to hear such good news, and it went to show that there were people who were committed to ensuring the higher education sector was operational, functional and performing to the best of its ability.

He echoed the concern over the loss of capable young black women in senior managerial positions. On the matter of under-funding, it was important to declare that there was a divergent perspective on the causes of under-funding within the entities. There was a rising trend in South Africa of placing the economic burden and challenges of the country on the doorstep of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) because of the bailouts and interventions. This was a wrong attitude, and SOEs should never be undermined in terms of their potential contribution to economic growth and development. These SOEs needed to be capacitated at the level of management. The Committee should be able to contribute constructively towards ideas around innovation and economic growth. Members were in a position to provide such guidance for the entities that they oversee.

They had to have a different perspective to the notion and perception that sought to suggest that SOEs were an economic burden. They needed to stop viewing SOEs as a terror to the economy. As a Committee, they needed to come up with perspectives on how Members could ensure that entities under its oversight could come up with progressive prospects for funding, instead of relying on the fiscus.  

The Chairperson said there had been areas of improvement, and overall the Members were pleased with the work that the entities had achieved. The entities were serving as a good example in this sector.

He invited the Department to comment on future scenarios in dealing with the challenges of these entities, particularly regarding the retrenchments.

DHET’s responses

Ms Nolwazi Gasa, Deputy Director-General: Planning, Policy and Strategy, DHET, responded on what the Department was trying to do with regard to the key issues that had been raised pertaining to SAQA, which she described as one of the most critical institutions in the country. The DHET recognised the role that SAQA played in terms of delivering on its mandate.

The Department had met with SAQA to discuss its financial situation, and in that meeting the need for a long-term, sustainable solution was discussed.

The Department had raised the management of financial resources by SAQA as a cause for great concern. The fact that its budget remained unbalanced was a grave issue. It had cut SAQA’s budget by less 1.5%, but although this may seem small for an institution that had been hit by Covid-19, it was a big deal. The Department had also requested the reprioritisation and cutting of all non-essential expenses, and the movement of all non-core expenditure to the following financial year. This had not been taken up by SAQA, and the Department had suggested that it should not go through the route of retrenchments.

Be as it may, moving forward between today and tomorrow, it should be receiving a transfer that could help manage some of the challenges that it faces. As a last resort, the Department could approach National Treasury about what could be done about an additional tranche, but this could be effected only next year in February.

Ms Pretty Makukule, Chief Financial Officer, said that the issue of funding was a serious challenge for many entities in South Africa. The 2020 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) guideline had put emphasis on the reprioritisation of funds by some of the entities. This may include having to restructure some of the programmes or functions, or even having to merge some of them. These discussions at the Departmental level had not yet reached the strategic level, but the Minister may provide details on this at an appropriate time. Keeping the status quo for these entities would mean that the Department would have to increase the transfers and funding for these entities. This meant that the Department would have cut some of its programmes, and there would be no new money in the foreseeable future.

In this financial year, there had been two rounds of budget cuts. However, on the second one, the Department had decided to absorb the budget cuts because they would have crippled the entities severely. This was a short-term remedy. The Department was also finding it difficult to continue committing to bailouts when there was no money available.

For SAQA, the Department could only initiate a once-off transaction to bail out SAQA. The budget cuts were being implemented perpetually, and SAQA may just be in a position where it could only afford to pay salaries.

On the R25 million for the CHE, the money had been approved through a ministerial funding statement years ago, but there had been a challenge over moving it from the universities’ subsidy budget to the CHE. It needed to be done through National Treasury, with adherence to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The Department had not received a favourable response due to Covid-19, the budget cuts and the extension of the academic year. Treasury had also stated that it had reviewed the current spending of the CHE, and there had been some under-spending. The Department was yet to engage the entity on this.

CHE’s response

Prof Mosia noted the concerns raised, but said the CHE was doing the best it could under the circumstances. The withdrawal of funds may lead to revising the annual performance plan (APP) and some of its goals. Things were not as critical as at SAQA, but it would still affect the organisation.

SAQA’s responses

Dr Toni-Penxa said that the board was hoping that it was going to be thrown a lifeline when it met with the Minister and the Department. The board had been told that there was no funding available to bailout SAQA, so the budget had to be streamlined and changes had to be effected internally. Subsequent to that, the only option that was left was to retrench, because the bulk of the budget was going to salaries. The longer it had to wait, the more employees could end up being retrenched. If the funding became available, the retrenchments would halt.

SAQA would continue with its restructuring and redesign, which may result to some jobs becoming redundant, especially if the investment in automation happened. SAQA would implement its alternative funding strategies to raise funds for specific projects. The Department had also mentioned that there would be some realignment and partnerships on some programmes. The assumption was that SAQA would be in a position to balance its budget by 2021/22, as other processes unfolded.

Advertisements for the Acting CEO position had been sent out and interviews had been conducted. However, after conducting the interviews, the board had realised that it was going to face legal action because SAQA could not afford the salary of the newly-appointed CEO. The board had decided to abandon the position of the CEO until the financial situation was clear, and the process would resume.

Dr Reddy said that the entity was mourning its loss of senior staff members.  Regarding the budget for 2021/22, the entity had seen what would happen early in the lockdown because it had had to curtail its income generating services in April. Most of SAQA’s management had worked and continued to offer its services, even when the demand had decreased. The board had been informed that the organisation may not be able to balance its budget.

Last year, when SAQA submitted its balanced budget for this year, there had been no issues or concerns over not meeting the income streams. The situation that had presented itself from March this year was that SAQA might face serious financial constraints. Meetings with the CFO of the Department had been held, and multiple measures and options had been considered with the Department. The operational expenses were cut to the bone and frozen as early as March on the 14 vacancies that were available. This was also indicated to the Committee in May.

When the management met with the Minister, it had presented four options, but none of those options would have enabled SAQA to produce a balanced budget. A salary freeze had been imposed on all management salaries, as well as on recognition bonuses, in spite of the achievements. Senior managers had not had a salary increase for two years. The budget had been rationalised and salary cuts proposed, and they had looked at voluntary retrenchments and early retirements. Unfortunately, none of these options would have led to a balanced budget. SAQA had R37 million after speaking to the DHET, and had cut the R5 million that was recommended. In a subsequent meeting, they had only agreed on R300 000.

The reason the board was advised and been presented with a retrenchment plan was that it realised that given the crisis in the country, it would not get anywhere with obtaining a bailout. The team realised that if it did not cut the personnel expenses this year, it would have the same problem next year with a R15 million cut. Even the 2% cut that had been imposed was not enough. The cost of retrenchment for SAQA was in the region of about R12 million, if the labour relations provisions were adhered to thoroughly. It was a very expensive cost. There were 145 people who had been proposed for retrenchments earlier on, but due to the rationalisation and the board working closely with management, this had been reduced to 71 people. If the staff was streamlined in January, fewer positions would be affected. Unfortunately, in the third quarter of this year, most of the money allocated to salaries had already been spent because there were no savings on that line item. The only savings envisaged, if the cuts happened in December, would be the four months that those salaries would not be paid, and which would contribute towards the retrenchments’ payout.

On delivering on the mandate, the registers had already been developed for the misrepresentation and fraud. Unfortunately, there was a lot of work required for capacity, but the management was uncertain whether it had the skills needed and enough people to be doing the regular reporting required in terms of the amended Act. The team was hopeful that at the beginning of the year it could hire the contracted staff, but the organisation was adversely affected by financial constraints.

The team was concerned about SAQA as a going concern. A bailout would help SAQA, and management had a plan for alternative funding sources to become sustainable. These things took time to materialise, and for the organisation to start realising the benefits.

When it presented the APP and strategic plan for the next five years, it had mentioned to the Committee that automation was a big part of the work SAQA wanted to do as part of the redesign and streamlining of the functions of the organisation. Unfortunately, the redesign process had been halted for various reasons. A lifeline or bailout would buy the organisation some time, but the redesign and restructuring would result in the unintended consequence of redundant positions in the organisation.

Chairperson’s comments

The Chairperson reiterated that what SAQA was dealing with was very serious. Having listened to the Department and SAQA’s responses, it seemed that further discussions were necessary. There must be other planned strategies to save the jobs. It was clear that a financial injection was needed to buy the organisation some time. The major impact had been the revenue stream that was seriously affected due to the national lockdown.

They had to try to avoid job losses in the public sector, and the Committee was convinced that there was a need to support an additional allocation for SAQA. It would support any submission to the Appropriation Committee for this. In any case, it would be consistent with the framework of the medium term budget policy statement (MTBPS) that the bulk of the allocation would go to learning and culture. This was part of the portfolio of the Committee. This was one of the priorities identified in the MTBPS.

He was slightly concerned that the Department was implying a silo working relationship, as opposed to all stakeholders working together. Salaries were not an item that could be arbitrarily cut. People were bound by contracts. The salary expenditure of the budget was very difficult to reduce unless through retrenchments, and this was something that they were trying to avoid. They all needed to think outside the box to try and save SAQA.

The leader of this portfolio was also a leader of the union party that did not believe in retrenchments, so it would be sad if this happened under the watch of the Minister. Part of the reason there were public employment programmes was to ensure that people had something at the end of the month.

QCTO responses

Mr Zungu said that with the budget constraints, the QCTO had been able to fill all the vacant posts, but with the fiscal constraints, it might find itself in the same position. The organisation had a budget of R82.5 million, and about R65 million went towards labour costs. If the vacant posts were to be filled, that could push the labour costs towards 90%. This was why it was important to invest in an ICT system that would enhance efficiency in delivering its mandate.

Mr Naidoo responded to the question of ITC, and the limitations at the QCTO, the limitation being that they would need a further enhancement of the system that they had. They had been working with its ITC system for years now, which would allow the teams to work remotely and pilot some of the monitoring and accreditation using the available platform. They were happy with the success of those that had been piloted. The IT system would need to be strengthened. The organisation had employed IT developers who would strengthen the platform.

As for the posts and the business case, these were interlinked. It was true that the QCTO had submitted a business case, and at this stage it would have required the QCTO to be funded for about R240 million to R450 million in order to take back all of the quality assurance functions that had been delegated to the SETAs and the professional bodies. It was clear that the business case had not been approved, because the funding had not moved to that level. However, what had been approved was the Vision 2020. There had been long engagements led by the DHET with the organisation, together with the SETAs, to revoke the functions that had been delegated. The QCTO had entered into service level agreements with the SETAs so that the accountability for quality assurance rested with the it, while the execution of the function lay with the SETAs. The SETAs were still funded for those functions -- the funding had not been transferred to the QCTO.

Ideally, the QCTO would have about 246 staff and this would have to be implemented in three phases. With the funding not being realised, it could fund only 114 posts. Between the 114 posts that were filled, which were all almost permanently filled in conjunction with the service level agreements with the SETAs, the QCTO would ensure that there was continuity in the provision of the necessary quality that was required to be put in place.

As for progress with the building, the QCTO had written to the Department, and had since received all the required documentation. The team had also tried to look at whether it could secure some funding, but nothing could be done until the ministerial approval had been received from the Minister of Finance.

Chairperson’s concluding remarks

The Chairperson referred again to the issue of retrenchments at SAQA, and how this could not be avoided. The organisation could not afford to lose the skills and expertise it currently had. The Committee would support the submission for an additional allocation to the Appropriation Committee to seriously consider.. Almost all entities had experienced budget cuts, but they could all agree that this organisation had to be assisted.

This was a discussion that had to be elevated to the highest level in the Department.

The meeting was adjourned.

Present

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