Civic Education Evaluation and Advisory Board Annual Report 2003: briefing

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Defence and Military Veterans

07 June 2005
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Meeting report

DEFENCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

DEFENCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
7 June 2005
CIVIC EDUCATION EVALUATION AND ADVISORY BOARD ANNUAL REPORT 2003: BRIEFING

Acting Chairperson: Mr M Booi (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Civic Education Evaluation and Advisory Board: Annual Report 2003 (email
info@pmg.org.za)
Civic Education Evaluation and Advisory Board: Civic Education Programme in Department of Defence

SUMMARY
The Civic Education Evaluation and Advisory Board (CEEAB) presented its 2003 Annual Report (ending 31 December 2003), and reported on its structure, powers and membership. Although the 2004 report was ready, the 2003 report was presented due to difficulties in finding time for the 2004 Annual Report briefing.

The CEEAB’s role was to observe, evaluate and report on the implementation, development and enhancement of the Civic Education Programme for military personnel. The functioning of the Board was limited by inadequate staffing. The Centre of Excellence had failed to achieve significant impact and needed to be restructured and restaffed. To address these issues, a workshop had been arranged. There were many positive outcomes despite these problems.

During the ensuing discussion, Members raised problems with the appointment of Board members. It was agreed that the important Cultural Diversity programme should be handled by the CEEAB. Members hoped that with the appointment of the new Chief of the SANDF, the Board would be allowed more control and input, thus enabling change at all levels.

The Committee had been scheduled to discuss a Department of Defence progress report on the upgraded excess material (including ammunition) disposal system, but no explanation for the lack of discussion was offered. The Committee met in closed session for the first ten minutes of this meeting.

MINUTES

Civic Education Evaluation and Advisory Board briefing
Ms Mamela-Khambule (Chairperson) presented their 2003 Annual Report, and reported on the CEEAB’s structure, powers and membership. Their role was to observe, evaluate and report on the implementation, development and enhancement of the Civic Education Programme. Civic Education (CE) aimed to educate military personnel about democracy, the constitutional rights of citizens, law of armed conflict, civil military relations and respect for the differences between people. The functioning of the Board had been limited by inadequate staffing – there were no full-time staff and the present staff all had other duties to fulfil.

The Centre of Excellence had failed to achieve significant impact and needed to be restructured and restaffed. An impact analysis of Civic Education had showed that on the whole, it had been well received. Approximately 19% of those surveyed were either dissatisfied with the course or found it irrelevant. It was also essential for civilian staff to be included in the programme. It was vital to make a decision on the location of the Cultural Diversity chapter. To this end, a workshop had been arranged. There were positive outcomes despite the problems.

Ms Mamela-Khambule pointed out that although the 2004 report was ready, the 2003 report was being presented. This was because various attempts to schedule meetings had failed, as no time had been available. Parliamentary changes had also contributed to the delay. The 2004 report could not be presented before the 2003 report.

Discussion
Mr M Sayedali-Shah (DA) asked if the membership of Dr G Koornhof on both the CEEAB and the Portfolio Committee on Defence represented a conflict of interest. Mr P Mtimkulu (Senior Lecturer, UNISA Department of Political Science) observed that Dr Koornhof no longer attended meetings of the Board. Mr T Motumi (Defence Department Secretariat) added that Dr Koornhof had tendered his resignation from the Board last year. Attendance at Board meetings varied according to changes in Members of Parliament, and where they had been assigned. He requested that a system for the replacement of Members be instituted especially after elections. Mr M Booi (ANC) confirmed that this would be attended to.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) enquired whether Mr Ngema had any assistance in the CEEAB’s work. Ms T Mamela-Khambule replied that Mr Ngema was supposed to have support but had been working on his own as well as fulfilling other commitments. Mr Ndlovu asked whether there was any person working full time for the Board. Ms Mamela-Khambule replied that Mr Ngema worked part-time as the Secretary of the Board.

Mr Ndlovu then asked if this was why the report being presented was for 2003. Ms Mamela-Khambule repeated her introductory explanation. Mr Ndlovu asked if the new report would update the membership list. Ms Mamela-Khambule confirmed that it would.

Mr L Diale (ANC) observed that there were few women on the Board and asked how the gender balance was being addressed. Ms Mamela-Khampule replied that it was a serious challenge. The majority of the invited members were male. There were only two female members. Mr Booi asked for this imbalance to be attended to. Mr Sayedali-Shah suggested that the imbalance was perhaps due to a lack of qualified women in this field. Mr Mtimkulu pointed out that the Board requested nominations from a particular source. This meant that they did not have a say over who would be appointed from that source.

Mr Booi stated that if there were criteria for qualification, this should be made clear. Appointments should be made with an awareness of the constitutional requirements regarding gender issues. The Board should have the required number of female members. He asked what amount had been budgeted for the Board.

Ms Mamela-Khambule replied that the budget had been discussed at a previous meeting. She added that it was a challenge to arrive at the cost for providing Civic Education because it was not taught independently but included in general programmes. The amount spent was difficult to quantify because it formed part of the training budget.

Mr Booi asked if the Board was not under budgeting and therefore had limited impact. She replied that the budget allowed for a number of visits to military academies. These had been done, and more visits by the Board were planned. Mr E Ngema (Defence Secretariat) said that R350 000 had been allocated to the Board. This allowed the Board to attend scheduled meetings and to pay for external members. Ms Mamela-Khambule added that it was thanks to the Committee’s recommendations that a budget had been allocated.

Mr Sayedali Shah questioned the results of the impact survey. Those who found the CE irrelevant or unsatisfactory amounted to almost 19%. He felt this was a high number and asked whether it was because of a failure of communication. Was the curriculum relevant and who had designed it? He commented that the Committee should take the recommendations that the Centre of Excellence be restructured and staffed with educated personnel seriously. The figures indicated no real resources or structures in the Board.

Ms Mamela-Khambule replied that the resources had not been available to write training chapters so members of the Board had done it themselves. She noted that there was a need to develop training modules and that the teachers needed to be professional. This had been discussed with the Minister last year and it had been agreed that this should form part of the restructuring programme. Some chapters had already been revised and it was planned to apply modules differently. A major challenge was elevating CE to the next level and the issue of job training had been raised with the Minister as part of the restructuring process.

Mr Ndlovu questioned why the staffing of the Centre of Excellence was inadequate. Mr Mtimkulu replied that the Acting Officer Commanding at that time was not properly appointed and only temporarily attached to the post. He found that the Centre of Excellence had few and inexperienced personnel (only 18 out of 31 posts filled). The Cultural Diversity chapter had been transferred to the Equal Opportunities Board. The dissatisfaction expressed in the survey results was because the issue of cultural diversity had caused many problems. A new Officer Commanding had been appointed to a permanent post and was undergoing training to take up the responsibilities. It was the view of the Board that there needed to be a mix of civilian and military teachers. The Centre required restructuring with a clear vision and personnel to provide and monitor CE.

Ms Mamela-Khambule noted that in previous discussions it had been suggested that it would be appropriate for Equal Opportunities to drive the cultural diversity issue. It had subsequently been handed over to them.

Mr Sayedali-Shah asked in which report the recommendations would appear and if any action had been taken. Ms Mamela-Khambule replied that the recommendations would appear in the 2004 report. No conclusive action had yet been taken. There was a need to ensure that Civic Education was not left in isolation but was made part of military doctrine. The Minister had been provided with the Board’s recommendations on how to face the challenges. The Minister needed to consult the Equal Opportunities Board to look at the opportunities that existed for integrating programmes, and also to decide whether there was a need for two boards. In order to engage with the Equal Opportunities Board, the CEEAB had organised a workshop on 26 June where issues could be discussed, documents exchanged, and collective advice given to the Minister. She emphasised that all parties needed to be brought on board to advise the Minister as a collective unit.

Mr Ndlovu asked how the issue of cultural diversity would be monitored if it was handed to the Equal Opportunities Board. Ms Mamela-Khambule replied that this was exactly why there was a need for collective engagement and shared understanding. There was no monitoring possible while the Cultural Diversity chapter remained with the Equal Opportunities Board.

Mr Booi commented that Cultural Diversity should rest with the CEEAB. This issue needed speedy resolution.

Mr Motumi pointed out that when the 2004 report was published it would be seen that some of the recommendations and conclusions noted in the 2003 report had been addressed. For example, the Minister had already given instructions regarding the current size of the Board and its gender balance.

Mr Ndlovu asked what the observation regarding a complete absence of communication between the civilian and military branches of the Defence Force meant. Mr Motumi replied that it was the opinion of the Board that because Civil Education was not being taught to civilians and institutionalised, there was a lack of shared values. A balance between the civilian and military forces needed to be established and maintained. Ms Mamela-Khambule added that it was important for Civil Education to be taught to civilians so that there would be shared understanding of values and better communication.

Mr Sayedali-Shah commented that the significance of Cultural Diversity could not be over-emphasised especially with regard to peacekeeping forces. He asked whether the revised curriculum would make provision for the involvement of various religious leaders in Civil Education. Ms Mamela-Khambule replied that at present the Board was not involved with Cultural Diversity at all as this chapter had been handed over to the Equal Opportunities Board. She agreed that adequate inputs from all sectors were vital and that it was her opinion that the two Boards should combine. Mr Sayedali-Shah suggested that the decision be held in abeyance until the meeting with the other Board had taken place.

Major-General M Ntshinga (SANDF Chief of Joint Training) explained that there had been a problem with Cultural Diversity in the past as it had been seen as "white-bashing". Because of these problems, the issue had been pushed aside. He pointed out that before troops were deployed on peacekeeping missions, they were given "mission ready training". This meant that they were briefed on the culture and customs of the country where they would be deployed.

Mr Booi said clarity was needed on whether the Board was actually functioning, and it should be made clear that there was a need to achieve results. Hopefully, the new Chief of the SANDF would allow more control and more input from the Board so that changes could be made at all levels. The Board was asked to supply the Committee with copies of its training manual.

The meeting was adjourned.

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