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SELECT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND
28 February 2007
MPUMALANGA PROVINCIAL VISIT REPORT & COMMITTEE PROGRAMME
Chairperson: Mr B Tolo (ANC, Mpumalanga)
Documents handed out
Draft Committee Report on Mpumalanga oversight visit (available at Tabled Committee Reports once adopted)
Draft Committee 2007 Programme
Members expressed their grave dissatisfaction at the failure of the Eastern Cape Education Department to attend the meeting, at which it was supposed to brief the Committee on its school nutrition programme. That department’s formal apology was not accepted, as Members believed officials other than the Head of Department could have briefed the Committee.
It was decided that the Draft Report on the Committee’s oversight visit to Mpumalanga would have to be rewritten before it could be adopted. The Committee adopted its 2007 Programme, with the agreement that adjustments could be made during the course of the year as the need arose.
Introduction by Chairperson
The Chair welcomed Members. He stated that in 2007 the Committee would be having two meetings every Wednesday, as that would accomplish more.
Meeting with Eastern Cape Province on School Nutrition Programme
The Chair was explained that the Eastern Cape Province was unable to attend the meeting, and it had sent a formal letter of apology. The Head of Department (HOD) and certain other senior officials had prior engagements for the day, including with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Parliamentary Accounts (SCOPA).
Ms H Lamoela (DA, Western Cape) stated that the Chair should not apologise for the Eastern Cape Province, as it should take responsibility for failing to attend the meeting. The result was that schoolchildren in that province would now continue to suffer because the matter could not be discussed at the meeting.
Mr M Thetjeng (DA, Limpopo) was of the view that the executive meeting that the officials had to attend should not prevent the Eastern Cape Province from attending today’s meeting with the Committee. Responsibilities and obligations could be shared within the provincial department, and thus other officials could have attended the meeting. He did not accept the apologies offered.
The Chair agreed that it was not acceptable and that there was no need for the HOD to attend. The officials within that provincial department who were implementing the schools nutrition scheme should have been the ones to attend the meeting. He suggested that the Committee send letters to that provincial education department as well as to the National Department of Education explaining the unacceptability of the non-attendance.
Ms A Qikani (UDM, Eastern Cape) and Mr J Thlagale (UCDP, North West) both agreed, and expressed their disappointment at the manner in which the Eastern Cape Education Department had treated the Committee.
Ms J Masilo (ANC, North West) also expressed her displeasure and stated that the information on the schools nutrition programme in the Eastern Cape Province was important and much-needed.
The Chair agreed.
Committee Report on Mpumalanga oversight visit
The Committee discussed various grammatical and technical amendments to be effected to the Report. It was decided that the Report needed to be rewritten, before it could be adopted.
Committee 2007 Programme
Mr Thetjeng asked whether the Committee would be embarking on any study tours outside South African borders during 2007.
The Chair replied that 2007 was a shorter working year and no cross-border study tours had been arranged for 2007. There was however the possibility of a visit to the United Kingdom in April as part of the Joint Social Cluster.
Ms J Vilakazi (IFP, KwaZulu Natal) reported back to the Committee that the group of poorer children that had done well in Grade 12 had now received bursaries to continue their education at tertiary level.
The Chair commented that the Grade 12 learners needed to be monitored and encouraged to finish their schooling, but acknowledged that the lack of funds available to them and the subsequent problems in payment of registration fees had been a negative factor in their schooling. Government has since decided to waver that fee for poorer children, and it would now be less difficult for them to continue to study. The new fee system must also be monitored.
The Chair noted that the Committee adopted its Programme for 2007, and noted that any amendments that needed to be made during the course of the year would be effected.
The meeting was adjourned.
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