The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation met with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) for a presentation on the National Plan for the Post-School Education and Training (NPPSET) system. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), together with the Department of Health and students of the Association of Students of Agricultural Training Institutes (ASATI), also briefed the Committee on the migration of Nursing and Agricultural Colleges into national competence. The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) gave an activity report on the Maputo Protocol.
The National Plan for Post-School Education and Training (NPPSET), as presented by the DHET, stated that the goal, by the year 2030, is to have a system that is socially just, responsive, and well-coordinated, which provides access to a diversity of quality education and training opportunities where students have a reasonable opportunity for achieving success, and with vastly improved links between education and the world of work. The key cost drivers of the NPPSET include establishing new universities, constructing campuses, providing ICTs for blended and online learning, improving lecturer-student ratios and quality, supporting student success initiatives, and rolling out fee-free education. The programme was launched on 7 September 2023, alongside the establishment of sub-committees for areas such as expanded access and improved efficiency.
Committee Members raised concerns about the R2.9 billion budget cuts towards NSFAS and how this was going to impact the NPPSET 2030 goals and the 2024 budget allocation for student funding. Questions were raised on the progress of various policy and legislative changes, and security measures to prevent fraudulent NSFAS applications. Committee Members also inquired about the monitoring and evaluation of sub-committee's role, tracking progress alignment, and mitigating factors for goal achievement by 2030. It was emphasised that thorough planning, understanding at grassroots levels, coordination with other departments, and efficient fund use were a necessity in achieving the set goals. Questions arose around the raised accomplishment of targets in due time, the comprehensive funding model's content, and coordination within the PSET system.
The Department did, however, assure Members of its commitment to rationalise and move towards target attainment despite the mentioned budget cuts. This means that the entity will have to maximise its limited resources and hope for future readjustments to be made to satisfy some of the demands.
On the status of incorporating Nursing Colleges into Higher Education, it was mentioned that eight colleges currently offer a three-year Diploma in Nursing, with the Northern Cape set to commence offering in the year 2024. From January 2024, seven public colleges will offer the Advanced Diploma in Midwifery, producing 1368 midwives per year. The Eastern Cape and Northern Cape will commence offering in 2025. In addition, 29 private institutions, 21 universities, and eight colleges offer new nursing programmes to ensure a consistent supply of nurses.
Agricultural colleges were highlighted as facing infrastructure challenges, and DALRRD is said to be developing the Colleges of Agriculture Infrastructure Master Plan (CAIMP) for infrastructure improvement. Agreements have been reached with five provinces on fund transfers, and five provinces have signed agreements on the appropriation of funds. A detailed business plan for migration and upgrading of colleges' ICT infrastructure has also been developed and Telkom is upgrading network connectivity to DALRRD. Challenges faced by agricultural students include poor infrastructure, limited access to bursaries, shortage of transport, and shortage of books. It was indicated that ASATI supports the migration of agricultural colleges to DHET, anticipating improved access to resources and affordability of education. The entity also proposes the urgent migration of agricultural colleges, inclusion of migration in the DHET Annual Performance Plan, and accountability from DALRRD and DHET regarding progress. ASATI also requested the Committee's assistance in prioritising migration to ensure implementation in the next academic year.
Members inquired about the existence of standard Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with private colleges and requested details of partnerships and respective responsibilities. They also questioned whether the Department of Health would be responsible for the quality assurance of nursing qualifications offered by nursing colleges, and if so, whether additional funding would be allocated. The Committee expressed concern about the lengthy process of changes to the Higher Education Act policy and raised questions about the funding handling by various departments, the sustainability of NSFAS, and the ability to cover higher education colleges under financial constraints. Committee Members inquired about the fate of infrastructure after migration and whether it would fall under the DHETs domain or remain the responsibility of the Provincial Departments of Agriculture.
The Maputo Protocol Activity Report demonstrated work done towards the realisation of the objectives set out. It was indicated that the national and provincial CGE offices contributed to ensuring compliance by the duty bearers across various government departments and sectors on promoting gender transformation in the country. The findings revealed that partnerships and collaborations with diverse key stakeholders at various levels of governance in the country had been strengthened.
Members had several questions on the Maputo protocol, which inspected the relationship between the entity, political parties, and district municipalities, as well as consequences faced by those who default on policies. Concerns were also raised around the delays met in attaining DNA results to ensure that a response to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) is fast-tracked.
Opening Remarks by Chairperson
The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee received an invitation to attend the launch of the National Plan for Post-school Education and Training. However, Members could not attend due to parliamentary schedules. Therefore, the Department was requested to come and brief the Portfolio Committee, together with other presentations from different institutions.
Although the Committee’s concern is the migration of the Nursing and Agricultural Colleges to national competence within the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the current state of the colleges is also something that is of concern. She stated that, in the spirit of a coordinated government and district development model, it should be ensured that there is some sort of stability within these colleges in the interim whilst waiting for their ultimate migration.
She stated that the Committee would also receive a briefing from the Association of Students in Agricultural Institutions (ASATI) on challenges students face in agricultural institutions and related matters. The students of ASATI wrote to the Committee requesting its audience, and it happened that the Committee was also scheduled to have a meeting, so the concerns of the students were heard by the office of the Chairperson. This was regarding their current realities and why they are advocating for migration. The Chairperson stated that the Portfolio Committee thought it would be important for the students to share their perspectives because Parliament is a space for the views of all citizens to be heard and in a discussion such as the present one, it would be important for Members to hear their views. In addition, it would also be important for students to come forth with recommendations on how the migration should look like.
The Chairperson said the Committee would also receive a briefing from the Commission of Gender Equity on the Maputo protocol. She then pleaded with the presenters to be short with their presentations and to stick to their allocated times, otherwise, they would be cut short. She suggested that presenters deal with one item separately.
Deputy Minister’s comments
Mr Buti Manamela, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, requested that he be allowed to leave just after 10 am as he had another meeting to rush to. He mentioned that the presentations were happening just after opening the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) applications the previous day. NSFAS was monitoring the first few hours and it was hoped that by the time the applications close, on 24 January 2024, there would have been much traction gained. He urged the Honourable Members to use their constituency offices to help spread the word.
He stated that the Department was also meeting because of the stabbing incident that occurred at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). He said that the Department has been interacting with both the institution and the criminal justice system to ensure that firstly, the student gets much-needed attention, but also to ensure that the law is pursued to the letter. He stated that the incident is concerning given the Department’s focus on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) on campuses, the need to strengthen policies, legislations, and regulations, but also, the need to create institutions that will help respond to such matters. He commented that the Department was confident that the work being done would help in maximising the results being seen in building consciousness and awareness of issues around GBV, hopefully creating zero tolerance on campuses. He mentioned that there is a whole range of issues in the system, but he would start with the mentioned two.
He indicated that the presentation on the plan would be presented by the Deputy Director General (DDG) and it is going to show that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) component has taken up quite a huge task over the couple of years to develop a plan and to look at the different roles that the entity plays in terms of the system. These roles include the responsibilities towards Institutions and other supporting organisations such as NSFAS, the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), and the National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB). He mentioned that the presentation would also look at the role that has been played by qualifications and quality assurance bodies, together with professional bodies. Those that are directly under the Department, which serves the Post-school Education and Training sector but also uMalusi itself which serves the entirety of the education portfolio including Basic Education. The plan also looks at the role of skills organisations, such as the National Skills Authority, the Sector Education and Training Authorities, and the National Skills Fund.
He indicated that the mentioned was the totality of the portfolio of the Post-school Education and Training system and what the plan does is to look at how the Department can integrate, coordinate, and articulate the system so that it yields what is required. It is also to expand access to opportunities, ensure that the system is responsive, and improve relations between education, training, and the world of work. The core of it is quality, efficiency and success of the system.
Briefing on the National Plan for the Post-School Education and Training (NPPSET)
Mr Reineth Mgiba, Director: Strategic Planning, DHET, gave a presentation on the National Plan for NPPSET. The overall goal of the NPPSET is that by 2030, the Post-school Education and Training in South Africa (PSET) system should be a socially just, responsive, and well-coordinated system, providing access to a diversity of quality education and training opportunities where students have a reasonable opportunity for achieving success, and with vastly improved links between education and the world of work.
The system has six goals/objectives set:
To build a PSET system that is integrated, coordinated, and articulated to achieve efficiencies and improve effectiveness.
To provide diverse students with access to a comprehensive and multifaceted range of PSET opportunities.
To provide qualifications, programmes, and curricula responsive to the needs of the world of work, society, and students.
To nurture a stronger and more cooperative relationship between education and training institutions and the workplace.
To build the capacity of PSET provider institutions to provide quality education and training.
To improve efficiency and success of the PSET system.
Resourcing and financing the PSET system
The main cost drivers for implementing the NPPSET are, among others:
The establishment of new universities, construction of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college campuses, Community Education and Training (CET) colleges,
The provision of distance and contact modes as well as information and communications technologies (ICTs) for blended and online learning at TVET colleges and universities,
Improving lecturer–student ratios,
Improving lecturer quality,
Improving student success initiatives and student support services,
Rolling out fee-free education for specific groups of students and improving access to student accommodation.
PSET funding frameworks will be reviewed and redeveloped for each sector, considering enrolments, outputs, joined-up fiscal and skills development levy (SDL) funding.
Establishment of stronger partnerships with the private sector, foundations, philanthropies, and other donors to ensure alignment of efforts towards achieving NPPSET goals.
The implementation of the NPPSET is a joint responsibility of all stakeholders in the PSET system.
Chapter 8 of the NPPSET, provides high-level implementation strategy to address key areas for implementation, beginning with the transition from current plans to the National Plan for Post-School Education and Training (NPPSET).
The Department and other post-school education and training (PSET) institutions and entities will draw on the NPPSET to develop detailed sector and operational plans for implementing the Plan, in line with existing planning processes.
Intervention to improve implementation
On 7 September 2023, the Minister launched the National Plan for PSET. At the same time, he also announced the establishment of the Planning Committee.
The Committee held its inaugural meeting on 8 September 2023 and resolved to establish sub-committees to operationalise its work.
Sub-Committee 1: Expanded access and improved efficiency of the PSET system.
Sub-Committee 2: A responsive Higher Education Science and Innovation (HESI) system.
Sub-Committee 3: Improved relations between education and training institutions and the world of work.
Sub-Committee 4: Improved quality of PSET provisioning
Sub-Committee 5: Monitoring, Evaluation and Oversight
[See presentation for more details]
The Chairperson expressed that she thought the plan aligned with the annual performance plans that the Portfolio Committee had received and spoke a lot about what the Committee had been worried about. From a coordination perspective, she mentioned that the presentation spoke about the curriculum and how it is responsive to the world of work, the needed relations between institutions of higher learning and industry, particularly in terms of research and innovation, and investment into Development and innovation (RDI).
She mentioned that from her side, it reaffirms all of that which was highlighted to be important, and what is going to bring meaning to the plan in implementation.
Ms C King (DA) thought that the Minister of Finance’s R2.9 billion decrease, specifically regarding NSFAS, was a major concern for the NPPSET moving forward. She wanted to know if the budget cut was going to have any negative impact on reaching the 2030 goals and how it was going to affect the 2024 budget allocation, specifically regarding student funding.
She stated that the Committee recently had a discussion with certain stakeholders regarding the intuitional types and what is envisaged for them. She asked about the progress of the process and whether there would be further discussions regarding the issue.
She inquired about the input of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and Cabinet regarding the draft policy on higher educational institutional types.
She mentioned that there were conversations about duplications when it comes to processes of the quality councils and asked when this would be reviewed or if there has been a review taking place to streamline the roles and responsibilities of the quality councils.
She highlighted that there was mention of cost-drivers to implement the NPPSET. She asked for a proper breakdown of the costs needed to implement the plan fully and whether there is financial capacity specifically for fee-free higher education.
She asked about the measures to be put in place to ensure that private higher education institutions are accredited at a much faster pace. She also asked about the measures in place to ensure that the curriculum of the private higher education institutions is in line with the PSET sector and inquired about the direction the country is moving toward in narrowing the gap of critical skills.
In a question session the previous week, Ms King recalled that the Deputy Minister mentioned that the comprehensive funding model had been presented to Cabinet, to which the Deputy President also alluded. She asked when the Committee would have sight of the comprehensive model for proper engagement and discussion now that the presentation has been made to the Cabinet.
She said that the inset has probably already been involved with policy legislative and regulatory changes and asked which policies might be changed and what legislative changes will be coming. She inquired whether there would be changes to the NSFAS Act concerning the way funding has been done because until presently, fee-free higher education has not been incorporated into legislation.
Mr K Pillay (ANC) wanted to know, in respect of the 2030 vision, if the Department and sector believed they would be able to achieve the set goal by 2030. He recommended that there be a roadmap or timeline that could be presented to the Committee with details and specific timeframes on specific achievements. He encouraged the Committee to request further funding because he felt that funding was going to be a challenge, especially after the budget reductions. He also encouraged the Department to accelerate in achieving and accomplishing its goals.
He asked if the Minister approached Cabinet for the proposal to consider the master skills plan, and if so, what the outcome was.
Mr M Shikwambana (EFF) needed clarity on the fee-free education, in terms of who the beneficiaries are. He asked whether this would be a holistic approach process where all university or college students qualify or whether a strategy would specifically focus on certain individuals based on their backgrounds. He added that the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF’s) understanding of fee-free education is that there should be free education for all.
To the DHE, he said that the Minister announced the opening of NSFAS applications, however, there had been issues in the current year around students allegedly fraudulently submitting documents that did not speak to their home conditions. He inquired on whether there were security measures to prevent the same from happening again. If not, he asked if the Department was not running the risk of accepting students only for them to be defunded mid-year which ultimately affects their studies.
Ms T Makata (ANC) wanted clarity on the sub-committee that spoke to monitoring and evaluating. She mentioned that she was posing the question because of the recent news outbreak on the assessment done that South Africa is likely not going to meet the goals set in terms of the National Development Plan (NDP). She asked if there was a system that tracks progress in alignment with what has been envisaged to be achieved by 2030. She added that this is to at least have key indicators to say by the end of the current year. For example, a certain milestone should be achieved. She asked about other mitigating factors brought in to ensure that the plan was on track.
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) thought that one of the factors faced by the sector was bogus fly-by-night institutions that prey on unsuspecting students. He asked if the plan dealt with or addressed the problem, and the measures which have been put in place.
On the CET colleges enrolment targets, he said that since the 2019/20 financial year, the Department has been struggling to meet the CET colleges enrolment targets. He asked about the measures that will be put in place to ensure that targets are met as per the plan.
Ms J Mananiso (ANC) requested that the Department send the Committee a written response on the programme of action on their highlighted six goals as per the presentation. This would allow the Committee to hold the Department accountable for what it had committed itself to. She also requested that the recently formed sub-committees also submit their programme of action in terms of their work from the present time until the following year. She suggested that the Department indicate if it had a plan in terms of public-private partnership. She felt it was important that the Department has one because, for the presented plan, the entity would need industries and people with money to be able to fast pace the plan.
Regarding the involvement of the TDM champions, she said locals needed to be brought along to prevent delaying the process. She also felt that it was important that the advocacy and lobbying aspect of the plans needed to be strengthened because everybody would need to be involved to achieve the set goals. She advised that the issue of civic education to start until 2030, to ensure that people are knowledgeable on the issues of agriculture and health and the access thereof on TVET colleges that are identified to be partners.
The Chairperson thought that the plan almost encompasses all that the Committee spoke of, and said that implementation was going to be the most important. She mentioned that the success of the implementation relied on thorough planning, the ability to break down the broader plan into action which must be in the annual performance plans, and to determine how the institutions do their work. She stated that understanding and appreciation of the grassroots level would be critical in implementing the plan. She added that this type of plan needs everyone on board including departments, outside of the sector, that will better coordinate with the Department to achieve the set plan.
Regarding the one million targets, she asked how this was set given the challenges faced in terms of enrolments. To highlight what was said by Ms Mananiso, the Chairperson said it was a norm to always want to react when it is too late. Therefore, mitigation, monitoring, and evaluation are important. She added that funding is going to be important, including the efficient and effective use of funds already in possession.
With the comprehensive funding model going to Cabinet, she mentioned that the hope was that it speaks to ways of strengthening the coordination of funds within the PSET system because there are leaks. When funds within the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) are considered, perhaps some of the duplications seen could help increase access at an undergraduate level but even more importantly, at a postgraduate level.
Deputy Minister Manamela appreciated the recommendations and concerns of the Committee Members. He said that the thrust of the idea is that there are targets that need to be met, and most are imposed on the Department by the NDP. Meeting the targets means that there is a need to work within the limited resources, assuming that, hopefully, in the future, there may be readjustments made to satisfy some of the demands.
He mentioned that in the previous week, a research seminar looked at the TVET sector and how to position it, both qualitatively and quantitatively, at the heart of the PSET system. The initial projections for the Department to be able to meet the targets set in the NDP and some of the plans articulated is close to R78 billion. He stated that the plan can be done, however, the Department can do more if resources can be saved, mobilised from elsewhere, and also if there are further injections from National Treasury. He said the concerns that some targets may seem less ambitious were understandable. He highlighted that the Department has drawn on lessons from over the last few years in terms of the investments that were made, and what has not worked.
Mr Mgiba emphasised that the plan was not static, and the intention was to consider ways and means to improve implementation using the comments and feedback received, especially from the Committee. He requested that the Committee allow the Department to respond in writing at a later stage to questions that cannot be answered.
Regarding the decrease in funding for NSFAS, he said that it goes without saying that there is a ripple effect on the Department’s plans in general. He said that the entity has always sought to work within its means to stick to the target it commits to. Most of the targets are dictated by the country’s NDP, and the funding that gets to be appropriated to the Department to deliver on is not adequate for attaining the targets. Therefore, the decrease will negatively affect the targets but the entity plans to rationalise from what is available to ensure a move toward attaining targets. He added that this is a matter that the Committee has looked through and resolved, to do a thorough analysis in terms of implementation and the kind of challenges the system faces.
On the question around the duplication of quality councils and whether there were any reviews concerning the legislation, he stated that the plan, being the implementation for the White Paper, recommends that there be an overhaul review of the legislation. If the current Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) is considered, there is a specific reference to the review of the legislation, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), the Skills Development Act, but also CETA as it relates to the CET and the TVET sectors. He added that the NQF review has started and there is going to be a second round that will deal with issues of articulation in the system.
He commented that the Department welcomes the proposal to investigate the breakdown of the costs for implementing the plan, and will look into it and come back at an appropriate time to reflect on how it all went. He said that the hope was that this would also assist in the next planning cycle as the entity deals with the next MTSF for the next administration.
Mr Mgiba also appreciated Mr Pillay's recommendation to the Committee to motivate further funding because the Department had been asking for a while. He mentioned that the plan was called a roadmap, but there must be a roadmap of the roadmap, clearly articulating the targets as they relate to the broader targets of the development plan and the White Paper. He said that the roadmap should also clarify the short, medium, and long-term achievements, and accelerating the achievements of the targets is very close to the heart of the Department. He added that this was a matter that aligned with funding availability, as the funding was rationalised, and the matter was prioritised to ensure a move towards attaining the 2030 targets.
He stated that the issue of the beneficiaries of the fee-free education is a subject in the current processes as it relates to student funding policy and a matter that will, at an appropriate time, be pronounced. He further explained that the engagements at a Cabinet-level, regarding the comprehensive student funding model, are a step in the right direction, particularly for the topic at hand.
Regarding the monitoring and evaluating the sub-committee, he said that one of the things that will be discussed upfront is strengthening the current M&E systems to ensure that as the implementation of the plan moves forward, the entity can track the progress on the indicators, the targets, and where there are deficiencies. This will ensure the Department can mitigate and move towards a successful implementation. He stated that this was being prioritised and the committees themselves were aligned with the goals. He mentioned that the entity saw it fit that there is a subcommittee to deal with the matter directly, and it comprises of stakeholders that are relevant to government M&E processes, DPME, and the National Planning Commission.
Mr Mgiba said that the issue of bogus institutions is a work in progress and annually, there is an inspection blitz managed and led by the Department to ensure that such institutions are rooted out, especially during the beginning of the financial year. This is an area that the plan itself has prioritised in that the presence of such institutions compromises the quality of post-school education and training provisioning. Therefore, it cannot be a matter that can be left unattended.
In terms of the enrolments within the CET sector, the NDP requires that there should be one million enrolments by 2030, which is a target that the entity aligned itself with through the White Paper and the NPPSET. He indicated that the current trends are not encouraging but measures are being put in place, one of them being ensuring a proper funding model for the system. This will assist in inviting funding towards student enrolments in the sector. He also mentioned that infrastructure has not been accommodating the requisite numbers, and for that reason, there is funding earmarked for infrastructure to mitigate that.
Ms Nolwazi Gasa, Deputy Director-General: Planning, Policy, and Strategy, DHET, promised the Committee that the Department was going to indicate in writing the targets and respond to the questions around ‘million target, million indicators and the extent to which they monitor and evaluate accordingly. She appreciated the requests around one - returning to the Committee about the Cabinet for the comprehensive funding model, two - the progress made regarding the private higher education engagements and where the Department is at, three - the CHE and institutional types and progress made in that regard, four - the request made to the National Treasury, and lastly, the issue around the NSFAS Act and the legislative issues pertaining to it.
She appreciated the questions raised regarding monitoring and evaluating processes and took the Committee in confidence around the process and how the Department handled it. She requested that the Department be allowed to provide progress in the next engagement with the Committee regarding the reconceptualised human resource development process and the master skills plan.
Mr Shikwambana asked that his question, which had not been answered, be attended to regarding the security measures taken to address the issue of students applying for and submitting fraudulent documents.
The Chairperson asked Ms Gasa to respond to all the questions that had not been answered in their next scheduled meeting with the Committee the following Wednesday.
Briefing on the Nursing and Agricultural Colleges
Ms Pretty Makukule, Chief Financial Officer, DHET, and Dr Nonhlanhla Makhanya, Chief Nursing Officer, National Department of Health (NDoH), jointly led the presentation on the migration of nursing and agricultural colleges to national competence. They also gave an overview of the state of nursing and agricultural colleges in relation to governance and administration.
Status of incorporation of Nursing Colleges into Higher Education
Eight Colleges are offering a three-year Diploma in Nursing.
Northern Cape will commence offering in January 2024.
Colleges are producing more than 2000 students per year.
From January 2024, seven public colleges will offer the Advanced Diploma in Midwifery, producing 1368 midwives per year.
The Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape will commence offering in 2025.
29 private institutions, 21 universities, and eight colleges offer new nursing programmes towards ensuring that there is a consistent supply of nurses for optimal performance of the health systems towards universal health coverage.
Progress on function shift of Colleges of Agriculture into National Competence
Colleges of Agriculture have three sources of funding, i.e. equitable share (PDAs), Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP by DALRRD) under the pillar: College Revitalization Programme (CRP), and Programme 7: Skills Development Funding.
Some colleges have requested part of their revenue collection through their Provincial Treasuries.
Currently, the governance models of the Colleges vary:
Of the eleven Colleges, nine are entirely administered by the Provincial Departments of Agriculture and have limited institutional decision-making powers.
One college, Fort Cox in Eastern Cape, is semi-autonomous, and Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute (GADI) reports directly to DALRRD for various historical and boundary reasons.
All colleges have advisory councils/boards appointed by respective Members of Executive Council, and the Minister of ALRRD with respect to GADI.
Programme offered by the Colleges of Agriculture are higher education qualifications on the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework, but also include a variety of skills training and vocational programmes accredited by the Agricultural Sector Education Training Authority (AgriSETA) - being phased out.
All ATIs espouse the integration of theory and practice as their distinctive approach to teaching and learning. This integration is pursued through Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in the curriculum, laboratories, and workshops that facilitate practical application, and engagement in some entrepreneurial activity on a piece of land specifically designated for this purpose, while others arrange for their students to participate by means of exhibiting in agricultural shows and expos.
Two Colleges are accredited by QCTO as Skills Development Providers and Skills Assessment Centres, others are in the process of application.
Majority of these colleges were established many years ago, hence their infrastructure is either in poor condition or non-functional. Almost all the Colleges are in severe need of major infrastructure upgrades.
The DALRRD initiated the work of transforming and repositioning the Colleges of Agriculture through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) conditional grant in 2011. The College Revitalization Programme pillar aimed at the improvement of the status of colleges was implemented.
Currently, DALRRD, in collaboration with Colleges of Agriculture, is developing the Colleges of Agriculture Infrastructure Master Plan (CAIMP). The Master Plan provides a framework for a determined effort to improve the teaching and learning, farming, lodging, and recreation infrastructure within the 11 colleges of agriculture.
This will allow the colleges to grow the graduate output significantly and provide quality education and training through several infrastructure improvements that will be implemented over several years.
Status on migration
Agreement has been reached with five Provinces on the funds to be transferred.
Five provinces had Signed off agreements on Appropriation of Funds (EC, FS, LP, KZN & NW),
The process of movable assets verification was undertaken towards the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year in NW, KZN, LP, EC and FS, and verifications were again undertaken at the end of the 2021/22 fiscal year.
A determination was made in terms of post establishment of the eleven colleges; this includes both filled and vacant posts.
Fort Cox is semi-autonomous; it is recommended that Fort Cox remain semi-autonomous as this is the ideal future model for all the Colleges.
A detailed business plan for migrating and upgrading colleges’ ICT infrastructure has been developed with specifications per college.
Telkom is upgrading network connectivity to DALRRD.
[See presentation for more details]
Briefing by ASATI
Mr Zukisa Tshotyana, Secretary General, Association of Students of Agricultural Training Institutes (ASATI), gave a brief presentation on the migration of agricultural colleges. Some of the important points from the presentation are as follows:
Agricultural colleges are currently funded by:
Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DARLLD) through the National Skills Fund
Agricultural Sector Education Training Authority (AGRISETA)
Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA)
Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA (FPMSETA)
Challenges currently faced by students in Agricultural colleges:
Limited access to bursaries
Shortage of transport
Shortage of books in our library
The reason the students of ASATI are supporting the migration of agricultural colleges to DHET:
It will improve access to resources in general (NFSAS) which will provide students with the affordability of education, career-focused education, industry-relevant curriculum, practical hands-on training, and flexible study options.
Therefore, ASATI is proposing:
Migration of agricultural colleges should be effected as a matter of urgency as it is long overdue.
DALRRD has promised to finalise migration with no luck – therefore the request to the Committee to assist in prioritising the matter so that all the plans are implemented for students at all agricultural colleges.
The Committee should ensure the migration issue is in the DHET Annual Performance Plan with clear milestones.
The Committee should call DALRRD and DHET to account for progress to date and their plans going forward.
ASATI wishes to see migration happening in the next academic year so that students from disadvantaged backgrounds can access quality education and improve their wellbeing.
See attached presentation
Ms Mananiso suggested that the Department of Health and Department of Rural Development submit the specific timeframes and the plan itself in writing to allow the Committee to track their progress easily. She said that the issue of DDMs should be carried through as one of the parts and parcels of task teams in areas where different provinces are worked with. She asked if the Department of Health has a programme for those working as community development workers, and caregivers that can bring such individuals up to speed with those of a four-year course. If not, she said that the Department could have some lower levels for those doing caregiving.
With private colleges, she asked if there is a standard MoU signed in terms of the responsibilities of public and private sector relations. She asked that the Committee be provided with the partnerships and their respective responsibilities, if there are.
She advised both entities to have a strong marketing and publicity strategy to ensure that the public knows of the work being done and to prevent the vulnerable and marginalised from being victims of bogus institutions.
She asked if the Department of Health would be responsible for the quality assurance of the nursing qualifications offered by the nursing colleges. If yes, she asked if additional funding would be allocated, given that the current budget allocation is not sufficient.
If the Department will not be the quality assurer, she asked about the arrangements in place for such.
Ms Mananiso asked the DHET to provide the Committee with a written plan for the mitigation of challenges that ASATI has presented. This is to make clear how an integrated programme approach can be forged to ensure that ASATI’s issues can be attended to promptly. She asked if the ASATI knows of any cases of GBV, and if so, the number of cases and what it is that they could have done as students.
Ms King said that the presentation boiled down to the fact that most of the implementations can only be in motion when the changes to the Higher Education Act policy have been discussed in the National Assembly and promulgated by the President. She added that this could be a long process.
She mentioned that the Committee noted the collaboration between the various departments with the DHET, but concern needs to be raised in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) in terms of how the funding will be handled by the various departments concerned. She said that involved parties needed to be mindful and asked whether it would be possible to cover higher educational colleges moving forward, considering the financial constraints and the sustainability of NSFAS to currently cover the current institutions. She indicated that this was her concern when looking at the migration that still needs to take place, especially with the agricultural colleges.
Referring to the infrastructure, she highlighted that normally there are norms and standards and asked what happens to the infrastructure after the migration, whether it would automatically fall under the domain of the DHET, or would it would remain the competency of the provincial Department of Agriculture to maintain.
She mentioned that another concern was that when centralisation of various institutions takes place, there is an erosion of the institution itself. She asked whether centralisation should take place and how collaborations would occur. The question arose because there was a mention of Western Cape Nursing College merging or collaborating with Stellenbosch University. She also asked if this would be the case with other provinces. She gave an example of two institutions and asked if Lilitha Nursing College in East London would then be in collaboration with the University of Fort Hare.
Dr Makhanya responded that several development workers were appointed across the provinces at the peak of COVID-19. There are mechanisms in place in most provinces to prioritise them as they get funded posts across all levels of functional areas. In terms of getting opportunities for continuing training and becoming professional nurses. Like all citizens, they are free to apply for nursing in any of the colleges in their provinces in line with the various programs in the sector. She added that these ranged from a Higher Certificate (Level 5) to a General Nursing (Level 6), provided they meet the entry requirements. She said that the Department has been recruiting since 2020, for higher certificates and diplomas, and there are people in the system who meet the criteria and are often prioritised in terms of recruitment and selection.
Regarding MoU’s between public and private colleges, she mentioned that the process for private colleges is slightly different from the public colleges process. Private colleges first register with the DHET, however, in terms of programme accreditation, their programmes are still accredited by the Nursing Council which is responsible for quality assurance and ensuring that the programme leads to a professional qualification that leads to registration in any of the prescribed categories of nurses. This is the same with DHET; the entity does the quality assurance in terms of academic integrity of the programme submitted by private colleges. With the MoUs in place, in view of the provisions of the transitional arrangements, she mentioned that the Department was working together between the two quality councils. The MoU had to be developed in terms of sequencing the accreditation process between the Nursing Council who first need to ensure that the programme is required in terms of human resources for health and thereafter, the CHE can then look at it in terms of academic integrity.
The second MoU in place is between private colleges that are placing their students for clinical training in public facilities within the provinces. This MoU is also provided as an integral part of the assessment of their application for endorsement by the Nursing Council. She said that if a specimen of the MoUs needs to be provided, a prototype can be sourced from any province, and the DHET can assist with getting the MoU between the Nursing Council and the Council on Higher Education.
Concerning marketing and publicity strategies, she indicated that fake adverts remain a recurring problem, but there are mechanisms in place in each of the provincial and national departments. At the peak of unregistered public and private colleges, she said that the Department had a working arrangement with a section in the DHET that was responsible for private colleges, and there was a programme that ran on an annual basis, particularly towards the registration period. She indicated that she was not sure if the programme was still ongoing, but it used to be beneficial. She added that when the entity sees a communications peak from any social media platform, the false advert is immediately stamped and communicated throughout all the platforms.
Regarding the quality assurance between nursing and CHE, she stated that these have distinct but complementary roles in terms of quality assurance of the programmes. The Nursing Council ensures that it leads to registration in prescribed categories and scopes of practice and the CHE looks at the academic integrity. Both CHE and the Nursing Council have an MoU to guide the process. In addition, as part of the transitional arrangement, the entity has established an interdepartmental committee comprising technical heads between higher education, CHE, and the Nursing Council. She added that meetings are held quarterly to look at the problems affecting the system introduced in 2020. The latest of these was the impasse between CHE and the council regarding the articulation passway. Through the engagement of this structure, a joint communication was offered which led to clarifying the process. Currently, nurses can enrol for postgraduate specialisation programmes.
Addressing the collaborations between nursing colleges and universities, she mentioned that since 1998, nursing colleges have been offering programmes under the affiliation of their local universities. This arrangement came to an end in 2019 when the Department finalised the preparation of an interim arrangement where the colleges were designated by higher education to directly offer these programmes independent of the affiliation with colleges. This was on the basis that the colleges were compliant with higher education in terms of quality assurance processes.
The Chairperson asked why the Western Cape Agricultural College remained of provincial competence when a decision was made for all colleges to be of national competence. She also asked if the conditions of service of the employees at the various colleges would remain the same across all provinces. She asked if the colleges have asset registers that have been audited and if they own the facilities or the land they are built on.
She indicated that the Committee’s concern whilst trying to ensure the migration of these colleges towards national competence, is to ensure that the cohort of students at the colleges are catered for.
Dr Makhanya responded that the colleges have an infrastructure plan that includes all the assets of the colleges and they get audited. She indicated that she was not sure how frequently audits were being done. She said that the colleges in all the provinces, excluding the Northern Cape, North West, and Free State, continue with nursing college structures built when colleges were the responsibility of the Provincial Department of Health. These are under the infrastructure plan of the NDoH where there is a dedicated grant, in terms of infrastructure maintenance plan, where colleges make their submissions on an annual basis. As a result, by July, colleges had submitted to the provincial support team at the national office, which does provincial support across all infrastructure. The conditions of service remain in the payroll of the provincial DoH. However, colleges have their own budget that comes through the National Treasury.
Mr Nasele Mehlomakhulu, Deputy Director: Food Security and Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD), responded that the Department noted the issues raised about connectivity and promised to engage with the HODs and provinces to give that matter a priority through the conditional grants that are allocated to provinces to maintain and keep colleges in operation. He said that everyone can acknowledge the complexities of not having connectivity in institutions.
Regarding the policy approval processes that could take a long time, he said that the entity received a legal opinion from the chief state law advisor, which indicated that the policy and the proclamation should be concluded before proceeding with the matter. Based on that legal advice, the process must see through its natural conclusion before moving forward; any other protocol agreements are not encouraged.
He said that the Western Cape opted to be excluded in the process, but the letter received from the legal advisor empowers the national ministers to direct as such when the engagements proceed in that regard. He mentioned that the legal opinion will be brought to their attention so that the Western Cape may be persuaded and brought on board.
He indicated that the work done to date has some agreements and protocols in place, one being a delegation agreement between the two ministers where the Minster of DALRRD will receive the operational delegation which will empower the Department to oversee the day-to-day operations including maintenance and revitalisation of the colleges’ infrastructure.
Mr Mehlomakhulu told the Committee that he could not answer the question on the timelines to conclude and secure approval of the policy which was currently holding back the finalisation of the process and added that this was solely in the hands of the DHET.
Ms Gasa denied that the delay of the policy solely laid on the DHET and said that the Department was going to respond in writing within seven days to inform the Committee where exactly they were with the process.
The Chairperson emphasised how important the conclusion of the work was. She said that the Committee had had an interaction with Minister Didiza, who said the DALRRD had been working hard to ensure the migration did happen. The previous presentation on the national plan for PSET indicated that these institutions are the direct beneficiaries of the success of such a plan. Therefore, coordination is cognisant of trying to deal with the silent approach of doing work as a government. She added that this is skill development, and ultimately, the DHET needs to be at the forefront of it. She said that this did not mean that other spheres of government could not contribute to skills development, but the route identified is seen as best.
She said that there is societal pressure to resuscitate colleges to ensure they are given the support they need for them to provide the needed skills, therefore, there needs to be deliberate effort and intentionality towards ensuring that set timeframes are met and commitments are implemented.
The Chairperson asked Mr Mehlomakhulu if the agricultural colleges had asset registers and if the colleges owned the land they were built on.
Mr Mehlomakhulu responded that various subcommittees were established during the process preparations. The subcommittees looked at issues such as human resources, ICT, assets, funds, and others. He mentioned that asset registers were done and submitted and that land ownership varies from college to college. Some of the land is owned by the province and some by the DALRRD.
The Chairperson recommended that partnerships with TVET colleges should also be considered in the process of the migrations because she believed that TVET colleges had been doing great work in agriculture and made an example of Lembe College in Limpopo, whose agriculture campus is advanced.
Briefing on the Maputo Protocol
Dr Dennis Matotoka. Acting Chief Executive Officer, Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), gave a presentation on the Maputo Protocol which is an instrument that seeks to protect women’s rights and which South Africa is obliged to observe its implementation because the country has signed and ratified it. The report focused on the work done by the CGE concerning the various Articles of the Maputo Protocol.
Data was collected from all nine provinces and secondary information sources were also used to track progress made by the CGE over the last two financial years in doing work that strengthens and supports the implementation of the Maputo Protocol in the country.
Findings: Elimination of discrimination
The CGE runs an ongoing programme of analysing and assessing existing and proposed legislation from a gender perspective to contribute towards ensuring that policies and legislation are not gender-blind but that they effectively promote and protect the right to equality.
Legal Department made submissions to Parliament and other legislation-making organs to improve the country’s legislative framework - 22 submissions in 2020/2021 and 12 in the 2021/2022 financial year.
Findings: Elimination of discrimination
In terms of awareness raising and public education on existing legislation, the CGE’s PEI Department in KwaZulu-Natal partnered with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the Department of Employment and Labour to conduct workshops on the Code of Good Practice on handling sexual harassment cases in the workplace and on compliance with the Employment Equity Act.
Findings: Access to justice, including legal aid and the training of law enforcement officials
The CGE ran legal outreach activities with the objective of equipping the public with knowledge regarding their right to access justice.
The legal outreach sessions were conducted collaboratively between the Legal and the CGE PEI Departments across all SA provinces during the two-year reporting period.
The CGE PEI Department also engaged in public education outreach programmes focusing on access to justice, educating communities about various legislations on gender equality and justice services available, and raising awareness on the mandate of the CGE.
The CGE PEI unit in the Free State, specifically, rolled out a programme on educating communities in the province about the role of the criminal justice system in cases of sexual offences.
Advocacy for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) services and the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community.
Regarding Article 12 on education, investigative transformation hearings were held in November 2020 with institutions of higher learning. The rationale was to establish compliance regarding gender transformation in the country.
The institutions included:
University of Mpumalanga
Nelson Mandela University
Sol Plaatje University
University of Johannesburg
University of the Free State
University of Zululand
There was a lack of compliance and the reasons provided included a lack of budget, however, a lack of willingness was also observed.
Findings: Protection of women from violence
Mpumalanga conducted radio presentations discussing issues related to equality and the Promotion of Equality and Protection from Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA). That led to increased reporting of gender discrimination cases to the CGE.
The Eastern Cape conducted investigations on the heinous GBVF cases that occurred within the province. One of these cases was about a female councillor in Amathole District, who was assaulted by two men and a woman. Another case was about a male supervisor in a private company who strip-searched women to check whether they were menstruating.
The CGE monitored a case of a fourth-year law student who was killed and dismembered.
The CGE monitored and investigated a similar case of femicide, where a man killed his wife and burned her body.
The CGE also intervened in a case where a young girl was allegedly raped by her father.
Findings: Practices harmful to women, including female genital mutilation
The CGE has been conducting awareness-creation dialogues on issues such as:
Female genital mutilation,
Forced marriages (Ukuthwalwa)
Findings: Practices harmful to women, including female genital mutilation
CGE has been conducting awareness-creation dialogues on issues such as:
Female genital mutilation,
Forced marriages (Ukuthwala)
Other issues that the CGE has been addressing through different advocacy programmes are issues related to:
Domestic violence - The Act was amended to incorporate provisions that include exposing a child to domestic violence, spiritual abuse, sexual harassment, related personal abuse, controlling behaviour and coercive abuse.
Findings: Support to victims of violence, including health services and psychological counselling
The CGE submitted a report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women titled Obstetric Violence in South Africa: Violence against Women in reproductive health & childbirth.
CGE undertook investigations into the forced sterilisation of women.
Findings: Rights relating to marriage
Evidence shows that unmarried and divorced women and widows are often denied land or land ownership access in some parts of the KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, and North West.
Women were denied by some municipality certificates for water and electricity.
CGE took these matters to the Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), and the Premiers’ offices.
Findings: Economic, social and cultural rights
The Commission conducted many programmes seeking to inform and educate women about their economic and welfare rights.
Northern Cape conducted seminars in partnership with Isihlangu events on the following:
Provide a platform for women to discuss funding opportunities
Network with other women-led businesses
Identify and address barriers to funding opportunities.
CGE participated in Fair-Trade Africa, right to food security
Findings: Right to peace
The CGE participated in the formulation of the Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan (WPS NAP), launched in March 2021.
The Research Department participated in technical groups responsible for the formulation of the four NAP pillars, which are participation, prevention, protection, relief and recovery.
The CGE is responsible for the following through its Constitutional mandate as aligned with the AU Continental Result Framework Key Indicators for Member States:
Assess the existence of laws and policies that integrate a gender perspective
Establish the proportion of the national budget allocated to security cluster government departments that drive the WPS agenda
Monitor the number and percentage of women in decision-making positions in peace and security institutions.
Findings: Rights of specially protected women’s groups
Widows, including their inheritance rights.
Women with disabilities.
Women in distress.
[See presentation for more details]
The Chairperson appreciated the work done by the CGE and mentioned that the Committee had been interacting with the entity on the challenges faced by the higher education sector relating to gender. She said that it is important that institutions of higher learning exude a culture of non-sexism and become safe spaces as a microcosm of society. She acknowledged the investigation done by the CGE and acknowledged that it was not only in legislation that the entity implemented the Maputo Protocol but also in their oversight work. She said that when the entity goes to institutions of higher learning to do investigations, it should go on behalf of the Committee and Parliament as part of enriching the accountability ecosystem.
Even from an infrastructure perspective, she said that the CGE’s submissions become crucial because then investigations can be done to determine whether the security infrastructure in institutions is sufficient. She said that this is about ensuring that institutions are safe spaces for all, and ensuring that the inability to follow disciplinary processes is addressed. She added that this is what the work of the CGE, together with the Committee, in following gender-related issues in the sector ought to address.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee acknowledges the CEO’s remarks about policies that are not in place such as sexual harassment policies. She made an example about a case that the Committee was dealing with, involving a lecturer alleged to have harassed a student. The college stated that there was no case and no one was found guilty, and as such, the institution did not know what to do because there were no policies in place. She said that such challenges continue to exist in institutions and are not being resolved. These are also creating great anxiety in students, particularly female students, and are making it difficult for everyone to comfortably exist within the space.
She said that the Committee was aware of these challenges and that the DHET had had its training last year to discuss some of these matters. The Committee informed the DHET that many recommendations were coming from the CGE towards TVET colleges and the Department and needed to be followed through. As such, the Committee has been waiting for a report from DHET on how far they were with some of the recommendations.
The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee had also called for strengthened relations between the CGE and DHET because, in the last presentation the DHET had, the entity was unaware of the work being done by the CGE. She added that the DHET felt that it could have supported the CGE in some matters. She said that the Portfolio Committee was aware that DHET recently launched the “Changing the transforming mentality programme” and has put together the civic education programme. She indicated that these are spaces where the CHE could also have input based on their investigations. She added that the collaboration will also help with the lack of funding issues the CGE has.
She felt that there should not be duplication in important research studies like Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), instead, all institutions researching the same topic should be able to collaborate and, in that way, costs can be saved.
Ms Mananiso wanted to know when the CGE last interacted with political parties on gender mainstreaming issues. She felt that the CGE was not doing very well in working with district municipalities, especially on issues of DDM.
She asked what the consequences of those who are found to be defaulting or doing cut and paste on policies are, how the CGE selects cases that it attends to in courts, how the entity selected the seven institutions chosen to do the investigations on transformation, and if there were plans to involve other institutions.
Regarding advocacy and lobbying, she asked how far the CGE went in teaching communities about the three new bills on sexual harassment, criminal law, and domestic violence.
Concerning DNA delays, she asked what the CGE was doing to ensure that the departments involved ensure the fast-tracking of the DNA process for fast response to GBVF.
Ms Mananiso suggested to the CGE that they partner with the DSTV channel Moja Love as she believed the channel was doing a lot of work on social justice that both the channel and CGE could benefit from. She asked if the entity has a strategic document that speaks about public-private partnerships on issues of social justice.
Mr Pillay wanted to know if a partnership existed with Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) and victim-friendly rooms at police stations. He suggested that there be victim-friendly rooms in institutions as well so that victims do not have to travel far when an incident occurs, and perhaps partner with the relevant law enforcement. He said that these would prevent secondary abuse of victims.
He asked about the role of the Student Representative Council (SRC) and student movements in terms of their participation and support or programmes and assistance on these challenges.
Ms King wanted to find out if the CGE has ever looked at how Ombudsman in universities can also be roped in regarding GBV reporting and counselling. She asked the Ombudsman's role in counselling referral to higher health.
Dr Matotoka responded and said that the CGE had two political engagements around the issue of gender parity within the political parties. The intention was to continue having round table discussions to ensure that this issue is not treated as a ticking box exercise but that there is an intentional commitment to have women also take key roles in political parties.
He agreed that the CGE’s offices are not localised, and that the entity wishes to expand should it be graced with funding because it cannot reach all corners of society where greater human violation is happening. In the interim, he mentioned that the CGE was relying on stakeholder relations and Nonprofit Organisations (NGOs) who can identify issues even in areas the entity cannot reach. He added that this is why the entity can bring the issues to the forefront and said that the provincial managers are the champions of the process, but the plan is to reach district municipalities to attend to the issues properly.
He responded that in the current financial year, the CGE had a programme that focused on sexual offences courts, and these were selected to test how effective the courts were. He added that the CGE’s commissioners and staff, in different provinces, attend to these various courts. The court's selection was informed by various issues, apart from being a sexual offence court, there are reported cases regarding ill-treatment of complainants by courts and these are the issues targeted by CGE.
He said that the entity came to a decision that all institutions would be undergoing investigative hearings by the CGE. The findings from the past financial year have been reported to both the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science, and Innovation and the Portfolio Committee on Women and Persons with Disabilities.
Regarding the teachings on the different bills, he said that the CGE had started the advocacy when the legislation was still a bill because they strongly felt that there were a lot of issues on the ground undermining the fight against GBV. He said that the CGE was extremely happy when Parliament decided to enact all three legislations formally into acts of law.
The entity’s advocacy programmes are squarely focused on a variety of issues, and situational analysis is done to determine what would be communicated to communities. Dr Matotoka added that GBVF forms an integral part of public education across.
In addressing accountability with DNA delays, he said that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is the duty bearer of ensuring that the DNA is readily available. As such, the entity is contemplating a process with CGE’s legal advisors to see how best to deal with DNA backlogs in the country and whether there should be a push for an order that makes it compulsory to have more laboratories dealing with DNA.
Concerning the CGE’s relationship with media houses, Dr Matotoka was glad that Ms Mananiso was aware of their partnership with the Dumisa channel. He stated that this was one of the entity’s innovative ways to get the message across to the broader community. Unfortunately, due to PFMA regulations, a bidding process needs to be followed and the hope is to have a broader audience with the channels chosen. He stated that the decisions are always largely informed by budget constraints, however, the impact that the current programme on Dumisa is adding, is huge and hoped will be everlasting.
He addressed the question on the link between the existing TCCs and the victim-friendly rooms and informed the Committee about a programme the CGE has where SAPS is monitored to understand and ascertain the extent to which the infrastructures are accommodating the needs of the marginalised in society. The programme looks at whether there are precise standards that bring confidence that someone who comes to report an issue will receive the necessary attention from the TCCs or the victim-friendly rooms. He said these structures need to be strengthened and enhanced to ensure they do not perpetuate secondary victimisation. Dr Matotoka indicated that a report will be released at the end of the financial year to inform the country about the state of TCCs and victim-friendly rooms as part of the mechanisms to fight GBV.
Dr Matotoka answered the question on the role of the SRC in addressing GBVF and said that CGE’s engagements with SRCs had not been adequate to understand their role as a structure to deal with GBVF. However, the entity was able to unearth from university reports that even in their representation, SRCs’ representation of female leaders in their constituencies is minimal. He said that this was not just about the SRC; the universities and unions have a role to play as far as the achievement of gender equality equity within the workplace. There needs to be a coordinated, concerted effort from all key role players, and the SRC plays a critical role. He confirmed that he would be taking the recommendation into their team planning sessions to say how the CGE can bring the SRC forward to understand to what extent the SRCs could be held accountable around GBVF on campuses. Or to even partner with the SRCs in the CGE’s outreach programmes so that they cascade the message from orientation level all the way to graduation. Similarly, with the Ombudsman.
He said that what he took away from the session is that there are key role players that the entity could partner with to have a greater impact.
Ms Dibeela Mothupi, CGE Commissioner, said that with the Maputo Protocol, the entity continues to hold institutions responsible for ensuring that gender is mainstreamed into government programmes and policies, and holding those within the justice cluster accountable in terms of ensuring that there is equitable access of justice for victims and survivors of GBV. She indicated that she was happy that the Chairperson alluded to the fact that the entity operates within limited resources and believes that if this continues being echoed, it would reach those responsible. Hopefully, they would respond accordingly and ensure that resources are given to the CGE.
The Chairperson thought that the science and innovation landscape needed a lot of work regarding intersectionality and representation. She said it is nowhere near where it needs to be, especially looking at the number of young people registering as professionals in the science and innovation professions. She stated that some sectors get away with a lot because they are not closely monitored and that it would be important in the future for the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) entities to be investigated on how they are performing in terms of transformation.
Ms Gasa agreed that GBVF was disturbing the DHET in their pursuit of the national plan and said that the Department was concerned. She confirmed that the Department had indeed launched a transforming mentality as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) global-wide initiative. She said that this scourge directly affects women and young children who are in the PSET system; it also affects young boys.
She mentioned that the PSET system cannot proceed if this is not managed. The DHET and PSET system are working with higher health and societies, and are investing resources equally with the DSI. She promised to keep giving the Committee an indication of the efforts and interventions that the Department keeps making throughout.
[The meeting was adjourned.]
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