Assessment / planning session

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Meeting report



11 FEBRUARY 1998


With Ms I Direko chairing, the Committee drafted a report that contained responses to prescribed questions that have been submitted to all NCOP committees for consideration..

Here follows the report by the Select Committee on Education:

1. What does your committee feel the NCOP has achieved in the past year and how has your committee contributed towards this achievement? Please find attached list of legislation passed by Parliament in 1997. (Note: Please provide more detail and not simply a list of the bills that your committee dealt with.)

There was a general feeling that the NCOP was able to function well, but members felt that they have been marginalised which resulted in limited participation. It was noted that there was a certain degree of difficulty experienced in the passing of legislation because certain obstacles had to be overcome. Nine Bills were passed,

the most controversial being the Higher Education Bill as well as the Education Laws Amendment Bill which

were passed without amendments.

2. What have been the obstacles your committee has experienced? What steps could be taken to address these obstacles?

It was noted that there were too few plenaries, MEC's felt that they were not accountable to members of the NCOP and that Ministers did not respond to members' questions properly, if at all. It was also noted that lacking in the NCOP is the fact that there were very little political debate. Members do not feel happy with the way Bills are passed as it seems that the NCOP acts merely as a rubber stamp without much purpose. A suggestion was made that as soon as a Section 76 Bill is tagged, that it be debated by the NCOP. The poor working relationship with the Committee Section also needs to be improved. An improved link via Regis House to the provinces needs to be established. Some members participate in too many committees. A solution to this problem could be achieved if the political party to which a member belong can decide on the distribution of the workload. Bills come to the NCOP very late, which results in an unbearable workload at the end of the year. This problem can be alleviated if Bills could be dealt with earlier.

3.What are your committee's objectives for 1998 and how do these relate to the long-term objectives of Parliament and the platform upon which you were elected in 1994?

The main objective would be to serve the constitution. The education system is experiencing serious problems and the Committee has found it necessary to visit the provinces and meet with the relevant stake-holders and affected schools.

4. What are your priorities? Please find attached the list of legislation to be tabled in 1998 in Parliament. Choose your committee's legislative priorities from this list. Explain also how these priorities would advance the objectives referred to in 3. Be specific please.

The priority of the Committee is to visit all nine provinces and where possible meet all the stakeholders and schools affected. The Adult Basic Education and Training Bill was also identified as a priority.


5. Would your committee be in favour of organising briefings for your committee on legislation immediately when it is tabled in the NA, so that when it is referred to the NCOP, NCOP Committees are immediately able to engage in debate? (This would mean NCOP Committees would need to be kept updated on developments in NA Committees).

Yes, it is agreed that Section 75 bills should be dealt with in this regard, however, with regard to Section 76 bills, these should be initiated by the NCOP.

7.Besides considering legislation, what issues of relevance to see the NCOP debate in 1998 and how would these issues advance the objectives referred to in 3? Be specific, please.

The NCOP needs to be presented as an independant entity. Issues at stake in the provinces must be openly debated and the accountability of the executive need to be determined. Matters of public interest, example corruption, overspending etc. needs to be debated in the NCOP. A suggestion was made to have one day per week set aside for motions, interpellations and questions in the House.

8.Utilising the attached schedule for the NCOP, please draft a broad work programme for your committee for the first and second terms of 1998. Please note that this schedule provides for four cycles in the first two terms - 1st cycle (9/2 - 5/3), 2nd cycle (9/3 - 2/4), 3rd cycle (20/4 - 14/5), 4th cycle (18/5 - 11/6).

The Committee would utilise all the slots allocated in the schedule and would divide it's work accordingly, thus allocating time for Education, Sports and Recreation as well as Arts and Culture.

9. Please indicate in this work programme what visits to provinces would take place and what your committee

proposes to do during these visits.

The Committee intends to split into two groups and visit all nine provinces, meeting with the different stake-holders and schools in order to determine the problems experienced at grassroots level. The Committee plans to visit the North-West Province and Gauteng as well as the Northern Province and Mpumalanga from 25 February to 28 February. The Northern Cape and Free State and also the Eastern Province and KwaZulu - Natal will be visited from 25 March to 27 March. The Western Cape will be visited at a later stage.

10. Would your committee be in favour of devoting the last week of NCOP Committees in the 4th cycle (25/5 - 29/5 or 1/6 - 3/6) to a mid-year evaluation of the functioning of NCOP committees and further planning for the second half of 1998?

Yes, however, a suggestion was made to allow the NCOP to be given constituency work time.

11. Based on your priorities and proposed program, what are the specific areas in which your committee would require research back-up?

A need for a committee researcher is vital as an analysis on problems of education in the various provinces need to be compared.

12. What kind of administrative assistance would assist the functioning of your committee?

Resources for support staff to perform their function properly as well as lap-tops for members was identified as important to improve administrative functioning.

13. How does the committee want the Budget debates to take place in the NCOP?

It is felt that the various Ministers ought to address the NCOP on the budget and allow for inputs. A suggestion was also made for the NCOP and National Assembly to have a joint session for the budget.

Mr D M Malatsi noted that an additional response will be submitted by the National Party with regard to the above report.


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