Committee Reports on : WCED Annual Report; PSC Investigations Report; Oversight Visit Reports
30 November 2021
Chairperson: Ms L Botha (DA)
The Committee met virtually to consider and adopt a draft report on the 2020/21 Annual Report of the Western Cape Education Department; a draft report of the Public Service Commission’s investigative reports; and a draft report on an oversight visit to schools in Robertson and Worcester. The minutes of previous meetings were also adopted.
In subsequent discussions, concerns were raised about the role of schools in Covid-19 vaccinations. A Member said he had received complaints that schools were circulating letters that mentioned non-requirement of parental consent for vaccination of learners aged 12 to 17. However Members had received assurances at a previous meeting from the Western Cape Head of Education that no learners would be vaccinated without parental consent. It was agreed that clarity should be sought from the Education Department.
The Committee agreed to seek an update on the conversion of the Graafwater High School into a special school. It was noted that there had been a lot of controversy and questions about that and the matter had ended up in court.
The Committee also discussed a proposed international schools visit and the effect on this of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The Chairperson asked Members to introduce themselves and welcomed the Procedural Officer. There were no apologies.
Members were informed that the purpose of the meeting was to consider and adopt reports and minutes.
Committee Report on the Annual Report of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for 2020/21
Mr R Allen (DA) moved for the adoption of the Report.
Mr G Bosman (DA) seconded.
The report was duly adopted.
Committee Report on the Public Service Commission’s investigative reports
Mr Allen moved for the adoption of the report.
Mr Bosman seconded. The report was adopted.
Mr Ben Daza, Senior Procedural Officer, joined the meeting and was welcomed by the Chairperson.
Committee Report on the oversight visit to schools in Worcester and Robertson on 7 September 2021
Mr F Christians (ACDP) noted he was not present on the oversight visit and the report attendance should be amended.
Mr Allen moved to adopt the report.
Mr Bosman seconded.
The report was adopted.
The Chairperson notified Members that the adopted reports would be sent to the Department. Members were requested to put forward a timeline for feedback after their submission. She asked the Procedural Officer when the reports would be submitted.
The Procedural Officer said the Public Service Commission report had two recommendations. She had provided hotline numbers for further engagement. The WCED report had a deadline of 15 January 2022.
The Chairperson confirmed that the Committee would adhere to that date.
The Committee adopted the minutes for its meetings of 15 June, 22 June, 10 August, 24 August and 31 August 2021.
The Chairperson invited Members to propose resolutions or make recommendations.
Mr Christians said the Committee had discussed the issue of Graafwater High School becoming a special school. There had been a lot of controversy and questions about that and the matter had ended up in court. He asked for any updates.
The Procedural Officer said no information had been received but she would request urgent feedback from the WCED so that Members could have the information before the end of the week.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee could get feedback by Friday, 3 December. The Procedural Officer confirmed that it would.
Mr Christians said that during the meeting on the WCED Annual Report, he had raised the issue of vaccination in schools. Members had been assured by the WCED Head of Department that no learners would be vaccinated without parental consent. Mr Christians said he had received complaints that schools were circulating letters that mentioned non-requirement of parental consent for learners aged 12 to 17. That was alarming, as the Department could be taken to court by parents who felt that their rights were being violated. The HOD should communicate with the schools to reinforce the assurance given in the previous meeting.
The Procedural Officer asked the Chairperson if she could write a letter to the Department for further clarification.
The Chairperson and Mr Christians agreed.
Mr Bosman said no vaccines were administered in schools. The current regulation for vaccine rollout overruled parental consent on vaccination of learners. Therefore, the decision was not up to the schools or the Department.
The Chairperson said Mr Christians had a letter from a specific school on the day of the Annual Report meeting.
Mr Christians confirmed that the information was in the letter which had the school’s letterhead.
The Chairperson said it would be wise to get more information from the Department.
Mr Bosman said it must be kept in mind that the Children’s Act did not require parents’ consent, but it would be better to get more information from the Department.
The Chairperson agreed, saying there was so much hesitation about vaccination in the communities.
Mr G Brinkhuis (Al Jama-ah) asked if it was possible for the Committee to receive an update early in the new year on the international school visit that had been discussed in the previous meeting.
The Chairperson confirmed that it was a good idea to ask for an update, but Members should bear in mind that, with the new Covid-19 variant, it was not clear whether the visit would take place.
The Procedural Officer said the first countries considered were Brazil and Columbia and they were currently not open. She would enquire whether Tanzania and Kenya were still open following the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant.
The Chairperson added that Tanzania included Zanzibar and Dar-es Salam. She noted the Standing Committee on Education included the Chairpersons of two other Committees, Mr Bosman and Mr Allen. Mr Bosman was the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Social Development. There was an agreement that the two Committees would work together, and her proposal was to have a cluster visit instead of individual Committees visiting. The Committee could request the Deputy Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) to approve the cluster visit in the current financial year if permission to travel was granted.
The Chairperson said the Committee had adopted a programme which provided for a cluster visit week from 8 to 11 February 2022 which would include other Standing Committees. She asked Members to propose that the Committee stick to the agreed content and location of the visit.
Mr Brinkhuis asked if the Standing Committee on Education was financially capable of conducting a study tour on its own if the cluster visit did not materialise.
The Chairperson said the agreement was to conduct the visit with the Standing Committee on Social Development.
Mr Daza agreed with the Chairperson and said it would be easier for the WCPP to approve a cluster visit, considering financial constraints. The number of people would be the same because the Committees had common Members.
The Chairperson asked if she could approach other Chairpersons to discuss the matter going forward.
Mr Bosman agreed and added that the content and location of the visit should remain unchanged.
The Chairperson reminded Members to prepare for the Standing Committee on Appropriations meeting in the following week.
The meeting was adjourned.
No related documents
Botha, Ms L
Allen, Mr R
Bosman, Mr G
Brinkhuis, Mr G
Christians, Mr F
Sayed, Mr MK
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