Meeting with Sports Minister; Education Laws Amendment Bill

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


8 November 1999

Documents handed out:
Education Laws Amendment Bill

The Minister of Sport and Recreation briefed the Committee. As a response to the large outcry from the public, initiatives have been put in place to make national sports teams more representative of the citizens of the country. Further stern warnings had gone out to soccer bosses to sort contentious matters out amongst themselves.

Adv Boshoff briefed the committee on the Education Laws Amendment Bill as amended by the Portfolio Committee.

Briefing by Minister of Sport and Recreation
Mr Ngconde Balfour, Minister of Sport and Recreation, briefed the committee on the latest developments in Sport and Recreation. The Minister said that performance agreements have been initiated with all sports federations, to ensure that everyone in sport understands what is being done. The Minister said that "people are crying out for representative teams" and as government the Ministry is forced to look into the issue. The South African World Cup Rugby team had made the nation proud in their campaign and a request was made that they be welcomed as such upon their arrival.

The Minister said the current quota system is not an imposition of this ministry, but rather of national federations. All federations have agreed that in all selection of teams, from the lowest age level up to provincial level, the quota system will be applied. At national level, however, players would be selected on merit, the reason being that a player should feel that he or she deserves to be in the team. The Minister singled out the selection of the four black players in the South African Rugby World Cup team, and said that all four deserve to be there and have clearly shown that. In his opinion more such players should be drafted into the team.

On the maintenance of facilities the Minister said that funds for this have been exhausted, the Ministry is looking at local government to be of assistance in this regard.

The Sports Commission is up and running. A few amendments have also been proposed to the Sports Commission Act and the amendment bill is to come up before parliament soon. The amendment bill is to ensure that the Head is appointed in the correct way. Current provisions do not provide for the involvement of the Minister in the process, the amendment creates that involvement.

The Minister said that the Soccer World Cup 2006 bid is well on track, the FIFA technical team will visit the country early next year. There are, however, domestic problems which could in the end complicate matters. These problems range from Premier League Clubs going head-on-head against each other to Association bosses going head-on-head against each other. The Minister said that generally affairs are left to the federations to run, but should things not be sorted out the Ministry intervenes. The Minister held preliminary meetings with soccer bosses and have issued stern warnings for things to be sorted out. The Minister said that he "cannot allow a few hot headed individuals to mess up things". A meeting has been set up for 26 November 1999 where the Pickard Commission, the internal conflicts, problems with the Premier League as well as the issue of players who have indicated that they are not prepared to play for the national team, will be discussed.

The Minister said that not enough is being done to promote school sport and largely put the blame on teachers who are not getting involved. Reference was especially made to schools in the rural areas and townships, where teachers are said to concentrate rather on their social lives, than the sporting development of the children. A meeting will be held between the Minister of Sport and Recreation and Minister of Education to look into this issue and also to establish under which Ministry this responsibility will fall. The Minister concluded that it is at school level where the potential of children is developed and therefore more needs to be done at that level.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister for briefing the committee.

Education Laws Amendment Bill [B44-99]
The Chairperson informed the meeting that negotiating mandates have been received from the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, North West, Free State and Gauteng. The final mandates are to be considered in the next meeting.

Adv Boshoff from the Department of Education took the Committee through the amendments of the bill.

Clause 6
This provision amends the meaning of "educator" to bring it in line with the definition in the Employment of Educators Act, 1998. Furthermore the amendment of "school" to bring it in line with current legislation, refers to grade R (Reception) instead of grade zero.

Clause 8
This clause clearly sets out the process to be followed in instances where schools merge. Clause 12 A (2)(e) requires that the employment aspect be complied with before the merger, which takes into consideration the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Act.

Clause 9
This clause makes provision for the temporary closure of a public school by the Head of Department. The language in this clause is very important as it refers to closure only in "case of an emergency", and therefore must only be exercised when the grounds provided exist.

Clause 10
As a function that can be performed by the schools, communities can use the schools and facilities to upgrade adult education in the particular community.

Clause 11
This clause makes provision for the governing body to temporarily co-opt parents with voting rights in certain circumstances.

Clause 14
This clause is very important as it deals with the limitation of liabilities of the state regarding the activities of schools. This ensures that any activities outside education will be borne at the risk of the school. For instance where a school runs a small business for fundraising, such business is run at own risk. This provision protects the provincial budget, in that money is used only for education and not for other activities.

Clause 15
Provision is made for a time period in which a governing body must make recommendations pertaining to transfers.

Clause 16
Provision is made for the temporary transfer of an educator to a school where his or her services are required. This situation is foreseen where the process of appointing an educator is not completed and in the meantime there is a classroom without an educator. In such a situation the employer can go ahead and utilise human resources where they are required.

Questions and comments from members:
A member said that whereas institutions of adult education centres were previously included under the definition of school, they are now excluded.

Adv Boshoff said that schools have to function within the activities provided for in the act, since funds are granted according to those functions. The definition of school only provides for enrolling of learners "from grade R to grade twelve", and therefore does not include adult education.

The chairperson noted that although both the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal agreed with most of the amendments, they wanted some clarity on a number of issues. Due to time constraints most of these issues were not covered. The Chairperson said that it is hoped that in the next meeting some of these issues would be clarified.

The meeting was adjourned.


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