Petition to Eradicate Pit Latrines; Committee Reports

Basic Education

20 February 2024
Chairperson: Ms B Mbingo-Gigaba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education held a virtual meeting to address Committee matters.

The Committee adopted its Report on the Pit Latrine Petition and the Annual Report on its 2023 activities.

The Content Advisor presented the Committee Strategic Plan for 2019-2024. Members provided input on issues like dropout rates, infrastructure assessments, and the National School Nutrition Programme.

Members raised concerns about recent statistics and comparisons with past administrations. The Chairperson clarified the purpose of the upcoming legacy report. The Committee adopted the Strategic Plan Report.  

Meeting report

The Committee Secretariat, Mr Llewellyn Brown, confirmed the presence of a quorum. He also conveyed an apology from the Deputy Minister's Office, explaining that the Deputy Minister was engaged in departmental work in KZN.

The Chairperson, Ms B Mbinqo-Gigaba (ANC), conveyed displeasure regarding a Member's utilisation of another Member's device and alias, particularly highlighting that the Member whose device was being utilised was not a part of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education.

Ms N Mashabela (EFF) reported that her device was not functioning. She clarified why she was using another MP’s phone, as hers was currently inoperative after falling and becoming unusable.

The Chairperson then addressed Ms Mashabela, suggesting that interruptions should not be used to seek recognition. She assured her the issue had been resolved and encouraged the meeting to proceed.

Ms Mashabela responded that the Chairperson should listen to other Members before making judgments.

The Chairperson responded by advising Ms Mashabela to maintain propriety and take action rather than just thinking about it. She warned that lack of cooperation would be addressed within the Committee.

Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC) intervened, urging against conflict in the morning and suggesting it be saved for later in the day.

Opening remarks

The Chairperson addressed the meeting, acknowledging they were a week behind schedule due to attending the previous week's State of the Nation Address (SONA) debates. Despite this, she noted that the State of the Nation Address had proceeded peacefully. Recognising Parliament's busy schedule, especially with the looming end of the 6th administration, she emphasised the importance of catching up on missed tasks. She outlined the agenda for the day, which included reviewing the Strategic Plan for 2019-2024, adopting the Committee report on the petition to eradicate pit latrines, and approving minutes from previous meetings. She requested starting with the adoption of these reports to ensure they were addressed before moving on to other agenda items.

Mr Moroatshehla expressed his support for the proposal to begin with the adoption of reports, citing the prolonged postponement of this task as a reason to prioritise it.

Mr T Letsie (ANC) expressed his support for the proposed agenda, emphasising the need to move forward with adoption.

Mr S Ngcobo (IFP) clarified that there is no individual referred to as "the Father" in the Portfolio Committee, alluding to the Chairperson's addressing of Mr Moroatshehla.

(After some back-and-forth banter, the meeting proceeded.)

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education concerning the Petition from Nguvu Change Leader calling for the Department of Basic Education, and National Government to eradicate pit-latrines in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo Rural Schools, referred to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education by the Speaker of the National Assembly on 24 July 2023 for consideration

Members moved to adopt the Report, and the Report was duly adopted.

See full Report here

Annual Report on the Activities of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education January 2023 to December 2023

The Chairperson then moved to introduce the annual Report covering the Committee's activities from January 2023 to December 2023. She outlined the Report's sections, including an overview, key highlights related to legislation, public participation, oversight, accountability, and cooperative governance. She mentioned changes in Committee membership, including resignations, appointments, and removals. The Chairperson discussed the Committee's mandate, strategic priorities, and the referral of Bills, particularly the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill. She highlighted oversight trips, associated costs, and the number and subjects of meetings held without cancellations.

Mr Moroatshehla moved for the adoption and Mr Letsie supported.  

See full Report here

Committee Minutes

 Minutes dated 14 November 2023

Mr Letsie proposed the adoption of the minutes, which Mr Moroatshehla seconded.

The minutes were then duly adopted.

Minutes dated 06 February 2024

Ms M Moroane (ANC) moved to adopt the minutes as a true reflection, which was seconded by Ms N Adoons (ANC).

The minutes were duly adopted.

Draft Presentation for Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Portfolio Committee on Basic Education Strategic Plan Annual Performance Plan 2022/23

Ms Portia Mbude-Mutshekwane, Committee Content Advisor, outlined the purpose of the Report, which was to reflect on the strategic plan of the Committee from April 2019 to April 2024, including the Annual Performance Plans (APP) for the financial years 2022/23 and 2023/24.

The presentation highlighted various aspects, including the mandate of Parliament, the vision, strategic outcomes, sector-specific priorities, and budget scrutiny. It also covered the Committee's meetings, monitoring, and oversight responsibilities from the years 2019 to 2022.

Ms Mbude-Mutshekwane emphasised the importance of aligning the Committee's strategic plan with the vision, mission, and mandate of Parliament, as well as with key policy priorities such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union agenda. She discussed the strategic objectives and oversight priorities of the Committee and how they align with national development goals.

The presentation also touched on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Committee's work, including monitoring COVID funds expenditure and the realignment of the curriculum in response to the pandemic. It highlighted the Committee's oversight visits and meetings held to assess the impact of the pandemic on schools and education.

The Report further highlighted the Committee's plans and targets regarding education-related priorities, oversight tasks, and strategic goals. It outlined specific objectives such as legislative processes, public involvement, and cooperative governance. The focus was on detailing the Committee's planned activities and targets over a five-year period, acknowledging the support of various individuals within the organisation. The aim was to ensure effective oversight and address any gaps or mistakes in the Committee's work for continuous improvement.


Mr B Nodada (DA) began by expressing his appreciation for the Report and then raised several points for clarification and additional information regarding the strategic plan. He noted that recent statistics, such as the 33% dropout rate between grades 10 and 12 for the 2023 cohort, were not included in the Report, which only indicates a 2014 figure of 1% up until Grade 9. He questioned why more recent statistics were omitted and inquired about the Committee's engagement with the Department of Education to track learners attending Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges (TVETs).

Additionally, he asked about the Department's utilisation of the Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS) to track and trace learners dropping out and the strategies employed to encourage continued education, stressing the need for a more thorough indication in the Report.

Moving on, Mr Nodada addressed the issue of pit toilets, particularly in the Eastern Cape, highlighting the importance of ascertaining timelines from the Department for completing infrastructure assessments and oversight. He also queried when the Department of Basic Education last conducted a complete infrastructure assessment through oversight.

He emphasised the importance of taking stock of schools with and without libraries, measuring timelines for stocking libraries, establishing reading corners, and ensuring access to the National School Nutrition Programme. Referencing a previous presentation on the 9 Million project, he underscored the need to indicate in the strategic plan how many schools offer one or two meals a day as part of the programme and measure outcomes to ensure primary school learners receive adequate nutrition.

Mr Nodada expressed his interest in receiving clarification on most of the identified areas, particularly emphasising the need for updated statistics.

Mr Letsie said he was concerned about Mr Nodada's earlier comment about the 33% dropout rate for the 2023 cohort, particularly emphasising the need to correct this statement. Mr Letsie argued that labelling it as a dropout rate could be misleading, as some students might have pursued education through other channels such as TVET colleges. To ensure accuracy, he stressed the importance of clarifying this aspect, especially in this forum.

Regarding the National School Nutrition Programme, Mr Letsie indicated that his initial reason for raising his hand was to inquire about it. However, he expressed his satisfaction since Mr Nodada had already addressed the topic. He suggested focusing on obtaining clear indications of how many schools in each province provide two meals a day as part of the programme for future reporting purposes.

Ms Adoons began by expressing her appreciation for the presentation and offered some input. She acknowledged that the Report largely covered the Department's plans, monitoring, and oversight activities. However, she felt it lacked a comparison between the achievements of the 6th Parliament administration and those of the 4th and 5th administrations. Ms Adoons emphasised the importance of reflecting on the work done by previous administrations to track contributions to the National Development Plan (NDP) goals.

She highlighted the significant achievements made during the 6th Parliament administration, particularly in achieving more than 80% in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results for the class of 2019. Ms Adoons suggested including references to documents and meeting dates rather than personal views in the Report to maintain accuracy and reflect the collective agreement of meetings.

Ms Adoons appreciated the smooth operations during the five-year term, attributing it to the leadership of the Chairperson, the Minister, and the administrative leadership within the Department. She commended the Committee staff and colleagues for their hard work and noted the challenges faced, including those brought about by COVID-19, which required adaptation and adjustment.

Despite these challenges, Ms Adoons highlighted the Committee's efforts in visiting provinces to assess school readiness and appreciated the collective contribution of everyone involved.

The Chairperson thanked the Members and clarified the purpose of the upcoming legacy report. She mentioned that in a week or two, the Committee would be dealing with its Legacy Report, which would reflect on their achievements and serve as the legacy for the 7th administration. The Chairperson reminded Members that the strategic plan being discussed was the Committee's plan, and it would reflect what the Committee had planned to do, not necessarily what it had achieved. She emphasised that the Committee's Report would be judged against its planned actions. The Chairperson suggested that most of the points raised would be addressed in the Legacy Report, where the Committee Members would reflect on the Committee’s accomplishments.

Mr Nodada thanked the Chairperson and acknowledged her clarification, emphasising the importance of understanding what the Committee is dealing with to avoid semantic arguments. He then raised the issue of scholar transport, noting the lack of clarity regarding which Department is responsible for it – between the Department of Transport and Department of Basic Education. He stressed the need for alignment in strategic planning to ensure deserving students can access transportation. Mr Nodada highlighted the importance of aligning reporting and strategic planning with current data to measure meaningful impact and achieve departmental goals. He concluded by thanking the Chairperson for her clarification, stating that it helped to bring clarity to their discussions.

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) said he expected the Report to address all matters, including the concerning incidents of shootings and stabbings in schools. He noted the absence of discussion on how to deal with these incidents, particularly referencing specific cases in Cape Town and Gauteng. Mr Madlingozi suggested that the Committee should explore ways to address these issues. He mentioned the controversial portrayal of schools in programmes like Yizo Yizo, which are now seen as prophetic. He hoped the Department would develop programmes promoting respect between teachers and learners in response to these incidents.

Ms Mbude-Mutshekwane thanked the Members for their questions and inputs, stating that they helped steer the Committee in the right direction and provided context. Regarding Mr Nodada's question, she explained that the strategic plan aims to plot the Committee's direction, activities, and achievements in line with Parliament's vision and National Development Plan goals. She referred to page 9 of the 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan (APP), which highlights strategies such as the Learner Unit Record Information Tracking System (LURITS) to address out-of-school children.

Ms Mbude-Mutshekwane emphasised that the Committee looks backwards and forward to track accomplishments and challenges, citing progress in education over the past two decades, as outlined in the presentation on oversight and accountability. She clarified that the figures presented were extracted from the actual reports of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Umalusi.

Regarding Mr Madlingozi's concern about recent events not being included in the annual Report, Ms Mbude-Mutshekwane explained that the Report covers events up to December 2023, with subsequent developments to be included in the 2024/25 report. She highlighted the importance of considering various documents, including the State of the Nation Address (SONA), Department priorities, National Development Plan (NDP), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and entity plans to guide the Committee's work.

Ms Mbude-Mutshekwane assured Members that any outstanding work of the Committee would be captured in the legacy report, as mentioned by the Chairperson. She concluded by expressing her willingness to respond further if needed.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for their contributions and clarified that the issues raised had been addressed. She then asked if all Members were ready to adopt the strategic plan.

Ms Adoons expressed her gratitude and moved to adopt the strategic plan as presented, incorporating the inputs provided.

Ms Moroane voiced her support for the Report, with Mr Letsie included.

The Report was duly adopted. Read full Report here

The Chairperson noted the progress being made and how it would facilitate the transition for those taking over.

Ad hoc Committee matters

The Chairperson suggested that, since the meeting on Early Childhood Development (ECD) could not take place, the Committee should focus on discussing the implications of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) next week, along with an update on ECD. Both presentations would be conducted by the Department of Basic Education (DBE). She proposed addressing matters concerning the Human Rights Commission in another week.

The Members agreed to this plan.

Expressing gratitude for the agreement, the Chairperson concluded the meeting, wishing the African National Congress success with its manifesto launch weekend on Saturday, 24 February 2024.

Following this, the Members engaged in light-hearted conversations about the upcoming manifestos, and the meeting was adjourned.


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