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11 September 2020 - NW2031

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What are the terms and conditions for the provision of laptops to students who are recipients of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) grants;

Reply:

  1. University Students: The acquisition of digital learning devices for the 2020 NSFAS funded students registered at public higher education institutions shall be funded by the students’ learning materials allowance made available by NSFAS on a loan-to-buy basis.

Where a NSFAS funded student has the 2020 learning materials allowance available at the date of applying for the digital learning device, that learning materials allowance will be used by the institution to purchase the device on behalf of the student. Where the 2020 learning materials allowances has been used by the NSFAS funded student, the 2021 learning materials allowance shall be used to purchase the digital learning device. Should the student not return as a NSFAS funded student in future academic years, the student is liable to repay the amount due to the institution. Where applicable, the institution shall utilise its existing policies and procedures/guidelines to recover funds for the purchasing of the digital learning device from the student.

TVET Students: The acquisition of digital learning devices for the 2020 NSFAS funded students registered at public TVET colleges shall be as a once-off arrangement for the duration of their studies and a once-off 3-month data allowance in line with the negotiated deals between the Department and mobile network operators, with the exception of Trimester 1 and Semester 1 students who are already exiting the system. The digital learning device is a once-off allowance for the current 2020 academic year. Since this is an allowance, ownership of the digital learning device will vest with the student. Institutions must therefore ensure that only NSFAS funded students who are currently enrolled and registered with the TVET college receive this allowance and digital learning devices. Since Trimester 1 and Semester 1 are already at the end of the cycle, these students are not eligible to receive digital learning devices and shall be excluded from this once-off scheme.

  1. University Students: The institution shall issue a purchase order together with the NSFAS student details and at a minimum, the institution will maintain proper records of all digital learning devices distributed to NFSAS funded students. Rules on the return of devices to the institutions must be provided for in the asset management policy of the institution. The institution shall coordinate the logistical arrangements with the service provider(s) to ensure that the appropriate checks and balances are implemented and agreed upon to guarantee that the correct NSFAS funded students receives and accepts responsibility for the safekeeping and care of the digital learning devices.

TVET Students: The TVET college will maintain proper records of all digital learning devices distributed to NFSAS funded students. The digital learning devices will be delivered directly to NSFAS funded students. The TVET college shall coordinate the logistical arrangements with the service provider(s) to ensure that the appropriate checks and balances are implemented and agreed upon to guarantee that the correct NSFAS funded students receives and accepts responsibility for the safekeeping and care of the digital learning devices.

07 September 2020 - NW1906

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) Which learning and other programmes currently funded by (i) sector education and training authorities and/or (ii) the National Skills Fund will be negatively affected by a loss in funding in the adjusted budget, (b) what number of (i) students and (ii) service providers are likely to be affected by the budget cuts and (c) what has he found to be the likelihood of the specified service providers going out of business due to the budget cuts?

Reply:

Reply is attached.

07 September 2020 - NW2029

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)(a) Who is the information, communications and technology (ICT) service provider to the Department of Science and Innovation, (b) why is the specified department’s homepage of such poor quality and (c) why is it more offline than online;

Reply:

1.a)  There is no one service provider contracted by the department for ICT services. Suppliers are contracted as an when required for goods and services through SITA and Supply Chain Management process.

b) The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) complies with the GCIS Policy Guidelines for South African Government websites. The guidelines require that all government websites look uniform and that webmasters follow best practices in terms of the website information architecture, that refers to composition of structure, functions and website navigation. The DSI website conforms, in that the home page can be differentiated from other pages in the website. It is organised, displays options and gives a clear overview of what information is available on the website.

The link to the guidelines are below: https://www.gcis.gov.za/sites/default/files/docs/resourcecentre/guidelines/Government_%20website_guidelines_version1_final121015_layout.pdf

The user interface needed improvements and the Content Management System was out of date and vulnerable to hacks. As a result, the website was re-designed and the new DST website was presented to OPCO, thereafter it was presented at the EXCO meeting of 20th February 2017. Thereafter, EXCO has approved rollout of the new website.

c) The website has been down due to the following reasons:

  1. In the last five years, the website has been down only once (1) for two (2) days due to maintenance problems that needed specialist support in order to resolve.
  2. The only other time when the website was down is when there are problems on the SITA side since the website depends on the SITA infrastructure. In this case, the downtime has been shorter than a day, limited by the resolution by SITA.
  3. From the above, it is evident that the website has been up more often up than down.

2. Yes, a breakdown of the history (over the last three years – 2017/18 to 2019/20) of the department’s main ICT contractors and their service level agreements are as follows:

Other relevant details are as follows:

i) The DSI procures goods and services using the departmental SCM procurement processes and also complies with the SITA Act and Regulations for the procurement of IT goods and services.

ii) For the SITA mandated services, the SLA is entered into between the DSI and SITA.

iii) Service level agreements (SLAs) are entered into between the DSI and respective service providers.

SLAs are annually reviewed by the Auditor General to ensure compliance with the required prescripts.

31 August 2020 - NW1825

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Nolutshungu, Ms N to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Whether all universities have the means to conduct lessons via virtual platforms; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether he has found that all students have access to the necessary tools to receive any learning via virtual platforms; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

(1)  All 26 universities are implementing remote multimodal teaching and learning plans, drawing on a range of strategies depending on the context. The implementation of these plans are being supported in part by a COVID-19 Responsiveness Grant allocated to each university by the Department of Higher Education and Training, which supplements the funds that universities themselves have allocated from Council-controlled funds to enable teaching and learning to proceed during this unprecedented time. All the plans have a component of digital learning through online and/or offline means. The universities have learning management systems in place that serve as virtual platforms for teaching, learning and assessment, and in addition to other platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Collaborate, WhatsApp, etc.  

(2) Three resources (tools) impact on students' ability to access virtual platforms, i.e. devices, data and connectivity. Part of the universities' multimodal plans involve supporting those students who do not have devices to acquire these and allocating data to students. Data has been allocated to most university students who required it, and submitted correct details. Information collected from universities indicated that by 6 August 2020, 90% of undergraduate students, including 92% of NSFAS-funded students were being allocated data. Good progress has been made in supporting students to acquire devices. The information submitted by universities indicates that 64% of undergraduate students who required devices have been supported to attain these, including 63% of NSFAS-funded students. The balance of NSFAS-funded students will acquire devices through the NSFAS-led central procurement process. For students who do not have laptops at present, or who live in areas with no connectivity, some universities are providing teaching and learning materials in paper-based form or electronically on USBs, as part of their multimodal approach.

31 August 2020 - NW1907

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What are the details of the (a) budget of the (i) Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and (ii) National Research Foundation (NRF) for each of the past 10 financial years and (b) number of staff employed by the (i) CSIR and (ii) NRF in (aa) core operational and (bb) associated entities in each of the specified financial years?

Reply:

(a)

(b)

 

(i)

(ii)

(i)

R’000

(ii)

R’000

(aa)

(bb)

(aa)

(bb)

2020

2 795 970

3 944 027

2 104

N/A

1 258

N/A

2019

2 554 593

4 113 508

2 342

N/A

1 219

N/A

2018

2 542 617

4 726 544

2 618

N/A

1 485

N/A

2017

2 735 473

4 498 849

2 740

N/A

1 444

N/A

2016

2 736 550

4 162 597

2 740

N/A

1 404

N/A

2015

2 442 590

3 103 054

2 617

N/A

1 389

N/A

2014

2 202 595

3 160 651

2 550

N/A

1 301

N/A

2013

2 069 221

2 312 288

2 411

N/A

1 236

N/A

2012

1 919 381

2 132 683

2 375

N/A

1 248

N/A

2011

1 776 828

2 185 653

2 427

N/A

1 220

N/A

31 August 2020 - NW1929

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Nodada, Mr BB to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) What are the reasons that the University of Fort Hare could not commence with lectures in 2020, (b) on what date will the lectures begin, (c) is there a catch-up plan with specific timelines to ensure the 2020 academic year is completed for all the courses and (d) what are the details of the plans to deal with delays in the commencement of the lectures in future?

Reply:

(a)    The University of Fort Hare (UFH) experienced a number of student protests at the start of 2020 academic year. Student protests, at times violent, centred on financial and academic exclusions and disrupted the teaching and learning programme from the beginning of the year. The impact of the protests were uneven as in some modules no teaching took place before the national lockdown, while in other modules two weeks of lectures or more were completed.

(b)    UFH, as with all universities, is implementing remote multi-modal teaching and learning during the lockdown period. Teaching and learning has continued to various degrees across the University, and UFH data shows that overwhelmingly students (95%) are accessing the online learning management system, i.e. Blackboard. However, there has been a moratorium on assessment to accommodate unevenness in access. In order to accommodate all students, the proposed revised calendar formally indicates semester 1 as running from 01 September 2020 to 08 December 2020.

(c)    The University has a catch-up plan. A revised calendar will serve before the University Senate on 27 August 2020. At the same meeting, Senate will consider for adoption, a set of new continuous assessment models for many of the 2020 first semester modules. This will reduce the examination period. If adopted, semester 1 will run from 01 September 2020 to 08 December 2020 and Semester 2 from 09 December 2020 to 30 March 2021.  This will ensure that the 2020 academic year is completed for all modules. The University has ordered laptops on a loan-to-own scheme for all students who selected this option, and the first batch is currently being delivered. The University has also provided data to all students. The first cohort of students have returned to the campus (28% of the student body by 06 August 2020), and the University will stagger the return of students who form part of the second cohort. The permits for the first group of the second cohort will be issued in the last week of August 2020.

(d)    The University of Fort Hare has been grappling with a culture of instability at both its Alice and East London campuses. The financial and academic exclusions implemented were critical to ensure the financial sustainability and academic integrity of the University. Ongoing engagement and dialogue with the Student Representative Council, clear communication with the University community, and strong action against any student or staff member who are in breach of the University code of conduct are the most appropriate mechanisms in place to shift this repertoire of disruption, which is deeply harmful to students, staff and the University community at large.

14 August 2020 - NW1751

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Nodada, Mr BB to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)With reference to his reply to question 1285 on 1 July 2020, given that the former Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs M T Kubayi-Ngubane, commissioned a forensic investigation into allegations against Ms Bredenkamp, (a) what were the findings of the forensic investigation and (b) how do the findings compare to the KPMG findings; (2) (a) what are the relevant details of the involvement of a certain person (name and details furnished) in the project and (b) why was the income of the project written off on instructions of the specified person; (3) whether any action was taken against the person and a certain other person (name furnished) for making misrepresentations to First National Bank (FNB) regarding their shareholder status in a certain company (name and details furnished) on an FNB document dated 3 July 2015; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. The former Minister of Science and Technology, Hon. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane did not commission another forensic investigation against Ms Bredenkamp, subsequent to the KPMG forensic investigation.

2.a) During the implementation of the project, Ms Busisiwe Ntuli was responsible for oversight at a strategic level. In April/May 2015, it was to Ms Ntuli that the main whistleblower reported allegations of financial misconduct, fraud and nepotism against Ms Bredenkamp. The whistleblower also informed Ms Ntuli that he first reported these allegations in February 2014 to Dr Elmary Buis, the Deputy Director responsible for the operations of the project and to whom Ms Bredenkamp reported. However, Dr Elmary Buis neglected to report these allegations to the department, as required by law. Subsequently, Ms Ntuli reported the matter to her supervisor and the Legal Services Unit of the department, which - following an internal scrutiny of evidence from the whistleblower - resulted in a forensic investigation.

b) At no stage of the project and during the forensic investigation did Ms Ntuli write-off any project income. There was a time during the project where Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya were involved in an attempt to recover funds from a company that had been supplied with mango pulp by Ms Bredenkamp, on behalf of the project. The attempt to recover the money proved very difficult because the company alleged that Ms Bredenkamp had supplied a poor-quality product and over a period had continued to supply even though the company had not been paying for initial supplies. Ms Ntuli’s and Ms Sibiya’s efforts did result in the recovery of some of the money for the pulp that the company could sell. Subsequently, the company closed down as it was cash-strapped.

3. Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya did not make misrepresentations at FNB, which held funds that were generated from project sales. It was following the whistleblower’s allegations and the process of instituting an investigation that Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya informed the bank of two matters: firstly, that the bank account belonged to a company that was opened on behalf of community members who were beneficiaries of the Nkowankowa Demonstration Centre (NDC) project, on the instruction of the department; and secondly, that one of the signatories, Ms Bredenkamp, was under investigation by the department over very serious allegations and requested that she be removed as a signatory. The bank was further informed that the department was in the process of removing Ms Bredenkamp as the care-taker shareholder. The bank informed Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya that they would capture the information provided on the system. This was done out of concern that Ms Bredenkamp would access funds in the bank account. Unfortunately, these fears materialized when Miss Bredenkamp went to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and fraudulently removed Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya as company directors and used the fraudulent document to claim that the company belonged to her, gained access to the bank account and appropriated funding meant for NDC beneficiaries. This, on top of project funds that Ms Bredenkamp, according to the forensic investigation, had stolen from the project through various means. A case of theft was opened against Ms Bredenkamp in relation to the FNB funds. The South African Police Services investigating officer stated that he had obtained evidence from the CIPC that showed that Ms Bredenkamp had in fact fraudulently removed Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya as company directors, which went against the authorization of the Director-General of the department.

Dr Elmary Buis, against whom there had been adverse findings in the forensic investigation report at the time, laid a complaint about the FNB account against Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya with the Human Resources Unit of the department in 2018. The complaint was investigated by an independent individual, who cleared both Ms Ntuli and Ms Sibiya. Subsequently, Dr Elmary Buis laid the same complaint with the Public Services Commission (PSC), which also cleared Ms Ntuli.

13 August 2020 - NW1753

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) How does the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA) intend to utilise the R1,2 million which has been reallocated towards Covid-19 expenditure and (b) what exact effect will the specified reallocation of funding have on SAQA’s other expenses?

Reply:

(a)   The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is using the reallocated budget to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when employees are at the office.  Management has earmarked and reprioritised R1.2 million for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, sanitisers and disinfectants for 197 SAQA employees, and to procure cleaning equipment and consumables, as well as deep cleaning services, as and when necessary after risk assessments.

(b)  SAQA is facing dire financial challenges as a result of the pandemic lockdown measures in that no evaluation of foreign qualifications or verifications of qualifications for appointments are being requested, which normally provides significant revenue for SAQA annually. SAQA is unable to raise its originally budgeted income through these revenue generating streams during the lockdown.

The reallocation of funding added to the financial challenges that SAQA is already facing. SAQA, in consultation with the Department, considered the following cost-cutting measures:

  • vacant positions and non-critical positions will not be filled in the immediate future;
  • savings on travel/accommodation and subsistence items as a result of the lockdown; 
  • advertisements; 
  • consultancy fees; and 
  • conference costs.

SAQA’s revised budget is reflecting a deficit of approximately R37 million, even after effecting intensive cost-cutting measures in preparing its revised budgeted expenditure.

13 August 2020 - NW1743

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Thembekwayo, Dr S to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What steps has he taken to assist the tertiary institutions that are not yet ready to implement online learning for preparation of 2021 opening?

Reply:

The Department is working with all 26 universities towards the successful completion of the 2020 academic year in a manner that does not compromise the safety of staff and students, and in a manner that provides a fair opportunity for all students to engage meaningfully with their study programmes. Universities have developed multimodal teaching and learning plans that implement a mix of strategies deemed suitable for the context of each university. Some universities are primarily delivering their teaching and learning programmes through online synchronous and asynchronous means whilst others are employing a mix of strategies that include online learning as well as the physical delivery of teaching and learning materials in digital form (memory sticks/USBs) or in print form.

A special COVID-19 Responsiveness Grant (CRG) has been created to assist universities to implement their multimodal plans, including the acquisition of laptops for students and staff, to ensure reasonable access to data, to strengthen their information and communication technology teaching and learning delivery platforms, and to develop staff and student capacity for online teaching and learning modalities.

Online learning is likely to remain part of every institution's teaching and learning strategy going forward. To this end, universities are being supported to enable all students to obtain a suitable device for online teaching and learning. Some universities have used Council-controlled funds, and/or CRG funds to procure laptops, and others are working with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to secure laptops for NSFAS-funded students through the national process led by NSFAS.

The Department has also negotiated with the major network service providers, and a data package at a significantly reduced cost has been put in place for students who are supported through NSFAS.

13 August 2020 - NW1790

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Tarabella - Marchesi, Ms NI to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What total number of final-year students are studying a B Ed degree at universities and colleges in the Republic?

Reply:

The Department does not collect data by year of study as each university determines its years of study differently. Furthermore, the Department will only receive the final audited data for the 2020 academic year in 2021 once the graduates have been identified and the data audited. 

In terms of the enrolment plan for 2014 to 2019, universities indicated that they would have 11 122 BEd graduates and 8 716 PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) graduates in the 2018 academic year. Table 1 below shows that universities have exceeded these projections, achieving 17 432 BEd graduates and 10 976 PGCE graduates in 2018.  

For 2019, universities have projected 11 483 BEd graduates and 9 218 PGCE graduates, and for 2020, 17 814 BEd graduates and 10 143 PGCE graduates.   

Table 1: Number of B Ed and PGCE graduates in 2018, by institution.

Institution

BEd

PGCE

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (23 final year students are tutored in partnership with College of Cape Town)

713

142

University of Cape Town

0

117

Central University of Technology, Free State

400

250

Durban Institute of Technology

222

0

University of Fort Hare

411

90

University of Free State

598

286

University of Johannesburg

585

176

University of KwaZulu-Natal

1 126

729

University of Limpopo

517

251

Nelson Mandela University

338

116

North West University

1 101

646

University of Pretoria

898

139

Rhodes University

99

103

University of South Africa

5 908

6 264

University of Stellenbosch

237

231

Tshwane University of Technology

700

0

University of Venda

662

168

Walter Sisulu University

1 026

546

University of Western Cape

203

205

University of Witwatersrand

486

171

University of Zululand

1 022

346

Sol Plaatje University, Northern Cape

82

0

University of Mpumalanga

98

0

Total

17 432

10 976

 

13 August 2020 - NW1754

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

Given that the Council on Higher Education (CHE) has for years been underfunded, (a) in what precise ways will the cut of R1,4 million affect CHE’s operations, (b) what will be cut and (c)(i) what necessary information and communications technology architecture mentioned in his department’s presentation to Parliament has been and/or will be purchased and (ii) at what cost?

Reply:

The CHE has indicated the following:

(a) The cut of R1.4 million does not have any negative impact on the CHE operations because the cut is linked to information declared by entities for funded vacancies that could not yet be filled. In addition, an additional amount of R25 million was allocated to the CHE baseline for 2020/21 to address critical service delivery areas in the entity.

(b) The budget allocated for travel costs was shifted for the use of 3G cards and data usage due to the national lockdown and travel restrictions.  Employees have continued to work remotely from home. All planned engagements, consultative processes, conferences, operational and governance committee meetings, site visits, training and development, recruitment and selection are conducted virtually.

(c) (i) The additional R25 million was mostly allocated to Information Communications and Technology (ICT) architecture. This includes the development of an ICT Business Continuity Plan to mitigate risks associated with any unforeseen disasters associated with working virtually, additional laptops for employees to work remotely from home, ICT licenses and the assessment of the current ICT infrastructure. 

(ii) The cost related to this is estimated to be around R2 million.

13 August 2020 - NW1752

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) How precisely will the R5 billion cut and/or reprioritization of funding in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme be broken down, (b) what will not be able to be funded, (c)(i) what number of devices will be obtained with the reallocated funding and (ii) at what cost per device, (d) what other Covid-19 related expenses will be covered by the reallocated funding, (e) how many fewer students will be funded as a result of the cuts and reprioritizations and (f) what amount in additional funding will be required for the extension of the academic year?

Reply:

a) The actual budget cut is R5.5 million on the Administration budget with no budget cut on the student-funding budget.

b) The budget reduction of R5.5 million will affect the Compensation of Employees budget line. This will result in delaying the filling of vacant positions.

c) (i) The maximum number of digital devices as per the advertised request for proposals in the public tender is 730 000, which is the projected number of NSFAS beneficiaries for 2020 academic year.

(ii) The cost per device cannot be disclosed as the tender process is currently still in progress.

d) All other COVID-19 related budget expenses have been contained in the reprioritized Administration budget baseline.

e) The number of funded students will not be affected by the budget cut or reprioritization. The R2.5 billion reduction in student bursary funding arising from the R2.5 billion suspension of student bursary funding for devices will be funded with R1.0 billion from recovered funds and R1.5 billion from accumulated TVET funds. 

f) The maximum total amount required for the extension of the academic year is R4.4 billion, i.e. R319 million for TVET colleges and R4.1 billion for universities. It should be noted that NSFAS has modelled the increased costs based on a full extension of allowances for the additional months of the academic year. This is therefore the maximum amount that could be required. Should the national framework be effectively applied for university-owned and leased accommodation, keeping the original costs of accommodation for the extended academic year, then it is likely that some of these costs will be contained.

07 August 2020 - NW1678

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

Which (a) infrastructure and (b) other projects will be postponed and/or stopped in each university in the sector as a result of cuts and reprioritisations of funding?

Reply:

At this point in time, the Department has not received any confirmation from universities of projects that may be slowed down or postponed as a result of the cuts and reprioritisation of funding. A large amount of the reprioritised funds comes from interest accrued on earmarked grants that had not yet been specifically allocated to any projects. No currently approved projects have been stopped. 

All infrastructure projects that were approved during previous infrastructure cycles that are not yet finalised will continue to be supported. In the 2020/21 financial year, R750 million will not be transferred as originally planned to fund some approved projects at specific institutions. The transfers for these projects will be delayed into the 2021/22 financial year. This will have a knock-on effect in that there will be less funding available in the first year of the next infrastructure cycle for new projects and will result in the slowing down and stretching out of infrastructure development across universities. The 6th infrastructure and efficiency cycle commences in April 2021, and planning for the new cycle will start soon so that the new projects can be implemented early in April 2021.

07 August 2020 - NW1676

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What will be the specific effect on normal university expenditure in each university resulting from (a) the cuts in the university block grant of R2,5 billion and (b) the reallocation of the university block grant of R2,1billion towards the Covid-19 expenditure, with special reference to activities and expenses that will no longer be able to take place?

Reply:

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had an impact on normal university expenditure, allowing for substantial savings due to the postponement of a range of activities, especially due to cancelled conferences, and limited travel and accommodation being undertaken. In addition, general savings on services (electricity and water) have also been experienced. Many institutions at the same time, recognising the context, have made decisions not to fill vacant posts unless they were essential positions, thus ensuring that they are better able to manage the highly uncertain fiscal climate.

Immediately after the Presidential announcement declaring a national disaster, the Department embarked on a consultative process and engaged with all universities regarding the system’s needs to ensure the successful completion of the academic year and the need to operate differently. This process involved the development of costed remote multi-modal teaching, learning and assessment plans.

Considering all of these aspects, including the funding required to assist the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funded students to acquire laptops, the total financial impact is R3.8506 billion. This is funded partially by institutions’ own internal reprioritisation (R749 million), through reprioritising unspent earmarked grants and interest on earmarked grants at institutions (R1.332 billion), as well as funds made available by NSFAS for advances on allowances to fund laptops (approximately R2.5 billion for both university and TVET college students).

In addition, institutions estimated that they would require R1.821 billion for ensuring that their campuses are compliant to health and safety protocols when they reintegrate staff and students in line with their return-to-campus plans. Some plans had unnecessary high cost items and the Department has indicated that it could not support those items. The Department has identified R608.249 million (made up of R398.249 million from 2020/21 ad-hoc earmarked funds, together with the R210 million returned from the R750 million suspension on the 2020/21 infrastructure and efficiency grant), subject to Ministerial approval, to support institutions to implement their return to campus plans. 

The suspension of R2.5 billion from the block grant, and the reallocation of R2.117 billion has resulted in a net cut of R382.596 million (1.07%) from the block grant. The transfers of the subsidy will continue as expected to institutions to fund their operations. Institutions will need to ensure that they create efficiencies to deal with the real shortfall of 1.07% on their block grants, ensure prudent expenditure and manage the additional costs related to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic within their available budgets. While no programmes funded though the earmarked grants have been stopped, the original plans have been slowed down, or redirected, to deal with the challenges brought to the fore by the pandemic. 

07 August 2020 - NW1677

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1) How precisely will the cut in the funding of technical and vocational education and training colleges, resulting from the reduction and reprioritisation of funds, affect the 2021 new student intake in each centre of specialisation; (2) whether fewer students will be admitted; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) by what number will the intake be reduced and (b) what other costs will be cut?

Reply:

(1)        In November 2019, an allocation of R170.293 million was made from the 2019/20 budget to the Centre of Specialisation students for the year 2020. 

             This comprised of:

  • 1 210 returning students from 2019 (1stcohort)           =-    R 84 million 
  • 840 new enrolments for 2020 (2ndcohort)                   =       R 86 million

The Centres of Specialisation were unable to realise the new enrolments for 2020 given the disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, largely due to uncertainty in employer commitments and as a result, no new enrolments will take place in 2020. This accounts for R86 million of the R170 million which colleges will carry forward into the new financial year. Three colleges started their second intake in 2020 and as such will not be allowed to start a third intake in 2021.

New allocations will be made in March 2021 and the second cohort will be able to start the programme, if employers are ready. The timing of the payment from November 2020 to March 2021 will therefore ensure minimum further disruption of the programme.

(2) (a) There will be no third intake in 2021.

(b) No other costs have been cut as student fees are paid to colleges for the different cohorts.

03 August 2020 - NW1599

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Winkler, Ms HS to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What total amount in funding does eThekwini College in Durban, KwaZulu- Natal, receive from his department; (2) whether the specified college provides his department with a budget for funds received; if so, what is the proposed budget for each line item; (3) whether the college received Covid-19 relief funding from his department; if not, on what date will the college receive Covid-19 relief funding; if so, what (a) total amount of funding has been allocated to the college for Covid-19 relief funding and (b) is the breakdown of the specified funding?

Reply:

(1)    For the 2020/21 financial year, an amount of R198 734 325 was provided to eThekwini TVET College with regards to programme funding. This amount is the budget before the special budget adjustment announced by the National Treasury in June 2020. The new budget allocations will be issued to the TVET colleges as soon as it is approved.

(2)     The initial 2020/21 budget allocation of R198 734 325 consisted of the following economic categories:

            (a)       Compensation of Employees (PERSAL)        R 100 067 099

            (b)       Direct Transfers (subsidies)                             R 59 906 226

         (c) NSFAS Tuition Fees                                         R 38 761 000

(3)    Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges did not receive COVID-19 relief funding during the initial budget allocation (before the COVID-19 pandemic) and colleges were requested to reprioritise its budget to accommodate COVID-19 related expenditure. Based on the new special budget adjustment announced by the National Treasury in June 2020, an earmarked COVID-19 budget allocation has been made available to TVET colleges and will be issued to TVET colleges as soon as it is approved.

03 August 2020 - NW1587

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What (a) number of African, indigenous and/or traditional medicines has each of the entities reporting to him develop to the point where it has undergone clinical testing, been shown scientifically to have beneficial effects and put into production, sale and prescription by qualified medical and traditional professionals (i) in each of the past five financial years and (ii) since 1 April 2020, (b)(i) is the name of each of these medicines and (ii) diseases does each of the specified medicines treat and (c)(i) number of these medicines are currently under investigation, (ii) are the details of the reasons why each is under investigation and (iii) is the current status of each investigation; (2) what were the details of the cost to develop each of these medicines according to each stage of development as at the latest specified date?

Reply:

1. (a) There are eighteen (18) African natural medicines that have been through various levels of the value chain of medicines development, to the point of being prescribed by traditional health practitioners (i) of which fourteen (14) were in progress since 2015, and (ii) four (4) were since 1 April 2020.

(b) The (i) names and (ii) treatment purposes for each of these African natural medicines are listed in Table 1.

(c) (i) There are twelve (12 African natural medicines currently under further development, and Table 2 provides (ii) the reasons and (iii) the status of each investigation.

2. Table 3 illustrates the list of completed and ongoing African Natural Medicines studies, funded between 2015 and 01 April 2020

Table 1: List of African Natural Medicines and Types of Health Conditions each Treats

African Natural Medicine

Treatment

   

Phela

Immune-Modulator (HIV, Covid-19)

Medical Cannabis

Cancers, Diabetes, Pain, Alzheimer’s

Nkabinde

Anti-Viral

Marula

Diabetes, Health Food

Liv Green

Tuberculosis

Manay-Immune

Immune-Modulators

Four New Herbs

Covid-19 Anti-Virals, Immune-Modulators

Lenong

Wound Healing, Arthritis

Machaba

Immune -Booster (Infectious Diseases)

Prijap

Diabetes, Immune-Modulator

Umphetha

Immune -Booster (Infectious Diseases)

Aloe Path

Wound Healing

Moshumasekgwa

Immune-Modulator

BP6

Anti-Viral

BP05

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (Swollen Prostate)

Table 2: List of African Natural Medicines, Reasons for Continuity and Progress

African Natural Medicine

Progress and Reason for Continuity

   

Phela

Positive Phase 1 clinical trial for immune-modulation

Medical Cannabis

Activity for cancers, diabetes, hypertension and pain

Nkabinde

Activity for Anti-HIV latency and ACE-2 inhibitors

Marula

Techno-economic for large-scale manufacturing

Liv Green

Good pre-clinical and anti-hepatotoxicity activity

Manay-Immune

Positive pre-clinical studies for immune-modulation

Prijap

Activity for diabetes and general immune-modulation

BP05

Activity against benign prostatic hyperplasia

Four New Herbs

Covid-19: Anti-virals and immune-modulation evidence

Lenong, Machaba, Umpetha, Aloe Path and Moshumasekgwa are complete and will be handed over to traditional health practitioners in September 2020 for upscaling and full commercialisation

Table 3: List of completed and ongoing studies, between 2015 and 01 April 2020

Completed Research Studies

 

Ongoing (New) Research Studies

Product

Investment

 

Product

Investment

Lenong

R1 000 000

 

Phela

R2 000 000

Machaba

R1 200 000

 

Medical Cannabis

R6 000 000

Prijap

R1400 000

 

Nkabinde

R10 000 000

Umphetha

R1 000 000

 

Marula

R2 000 000

Aloe Path

R1 100 000

 

Liv Green

R1 000 000

Moshumasekgwa

R1 000 000

 

Manay-Immune

R1 400 000

BP6

R1 200 000

 

Four New Herbs

R1 000 000

     

BP05

R9 996 908

Total

R7 900 000

 

Total

R33 396 908

03 August 2020 - NW1586

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)On what grounds are the examination of theses and other similar activities by academics at other institutions of higher education and training considered part of the collegial contribution of any academic while the examination of theses and other similar activities by academics not employed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), particularly by the Business School, are considered to be private work; (2) what (a) amount does an external academic who examines (i) Masters and (ii) Doctoral theses usually receive in remuneration and (b) form does the specified type of remuneration take; (3) what (a) number of other institutions of higher education and training consider the external examination of theses and other similar collegial activities to be private work and (b) are the financial implications for external academics who examine theses and perform collegial activities; (4) whether he has found that the UKZN Business School’s determination that the external examination of theses is private work has discouraged academics from doing their collegial duty; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has provided the following response to the questions posed: 

(1)   In general, the examination of theses by academics is considered as a collegial activity and part of academic citizenship. Some colleagues have declared the external examination of theses as part of the private work declaration as an indication of transparency for additional funds received. It is thus not a requirement, but an optional declaration that promotes transparency.

(2) The amounts paid to external academics who examine (i) Masters and (ii) Doctoral theses vary markedly between institutions, and the remuneration generally takes the form of a cash payment into the academic’s bank account.

(3) (a) Most, if not all, institutions would regard it as academic citizenship, as is the norm at UKZN.

 (b) There are no financial implications for external academics who perform collegial activities. Both internal and external academics such as Honorary Research Fellows are paid for examining theses.

(4) The requirement to declare external thesis examination as private work in UKZN's Graduate School of Business and Leadership, has resulted in contestation by some academics, but has not directly led to academics being discouraged from examining theses, as per academic citizenry. However, the previous instances of excessive external examination have subsided due to the transparency of the process.

29 July 2020 - NW1472

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Madlingozi, Mr BS to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

In light of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal reinstating Afrikaans as a language of instruction at the University of South Africa, what are the details of engagements that he has had with universities to ensure that language does not continue to be used as a tool of exclusion for many university students?

Reply:

The Department is aware of the recent judgement by the Supreme Court of Appeal reinstating Afrikaans as the medium of instruction at the University of South Africa, alongside the current medium of instruction, which is English. The Department has been closely following many other judgements, notably by the Constitutional Court, rightfully upholding decisions by university Councils at a number of universities, to move away from the use of Afrikaans as a barrier of access to non-Afrikaans language speakers. The Department has welcomed these decisions as they advance government’s transformation agenda and are part of the national effort to create inclusive institutional cultures at institutions of higher learning.

The Department’s approach to languages at universities is a systemic one and it does not convene a meeting with universities every time there is a court judgement in favour of, or setting aside, a particular university Council’s decision on their language plan or strategy. The Department has a generic language policy framework that serves to guide institutional language policies and plans.

The language policy framework has recently been revised and strengthens the previous higher education language policy framework of 2002. At the core of this policy is the affirmation of all official languages as spelled out in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Values of inclusivity, parity of esteem between all our languages and the promotion of multilingualism are central to this policy framework and it is encouraging that a number of universities are already moving in this direction. As indicated previously on a number of occasions, in the post 1994 South Africa, none of our higher education institutions, whether public or private, will exclude any South African on the basis of language as such practices belong to the past.

09 July 2020 - NW1363

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Graham, Ms SJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

With reference to the Services Sector Education and Training Authority Services (SETA) Programme on Plumbing and Bricklaying running in Aberdeen that undertook to pay a stipend of R2,500 per month until September 2019 and thereafter R3,500 per month, what action can be taken against the service provider who has failed to meet the services SETA payment obligations for the months of July 2019 to December 2019 and from March 2020 onwards and for underpaying in January 2020 and February 2020 to one specific learner (name and details furnished) who despite numerous attempts at resolution, continues not to perform in this regard?

Reply:

The explanation received from the Services SETA is that the payment of stipends is based on attendance registers submitted by the training provider and/or host employer.  Accordingly, Mr Lizo April was paid as follows:

Period: July 2019 – December 2019

The learner was paid a stipend for each month, except for the months of September 2019 and November 2019 where attendance could not be confirmed by way of the attendance register.

Period: January 2020 and February 2020 

The Services SETA sent a communique to all stakeholders in December 2019 directing them to ensure that learners should only return to classes on 1 February 2020 and that no stipends would be paid for the month of January 2020, as learners were not expected to attend classes or workplaces in January 2020. It should be noted that learners were paid their full stipends in December 2019 although classes ended by or before 15 December 2019.   

The Services SETA did not receive the learner’s attendance register for the month of February 2020 from the host employer/training provider.

Period: March 2020 onwards

Attendance registers for the month of March 2020 was used as a basis to pay learners during the period of the lockdown.

The Services SETA did not receive the learner’s attendance register for the month of March 2020 from the host employer/training provider.

Action taken against a provider who fails to meet the payment obligations

In instances where a training provider repeatedly fails to meet the obligations as provided for in the service level agreement between the parties, the SETA investigates the non-compliance and where necessary institutes a legal process through either litigation or termination of the agreement in part or in full. The course of action is determined by the nature of the obligation breach.

Stipend amount of R2 500

The Services SETA pays an amount of R2 500 as a stipend to learners undertaking an apprenticeship. Any additional amount paid to the learner would have been from the training provider or host employer.

02 July 2020 - NW1287

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What is the estimated total cost to be incurred by (a) his department and (b) institutions of higher education and training to prepare for the reopening of their facilities after the easing of the hard lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19; (2) whether (a) his department and/or (b) institutions of higher education and training will be employing additional staff to ensure that (i) social distancing and (ii) other essential health protections have been put in place; if not, in each case, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?

Reply:

1. (a) The Department has allocated R1.1 million and reprioritised R1.5 million for the management of COVID-19 within its offices, i.e. four buildings at head office and six regional offices. The budget is meant to cover the supply of masks to 3 800 employees, procurement of sanitisers, scanners, personal protective equipment for the cleaning staff, decontamination and deep cleaning of offices. In view of the capacity constraints in cleaning services, a service provider had to be procured for deep cleaning and augment the existing capacity for a three months period. In addition to the above, the Department is in the processes of procuring emergency and pyscho-social support services, stands for sanitisers with foot pedals, thermal cameras and digital scanners as the small hand-held scanners are proving to be unreliable. The additional needs will amount to R2.3 million. In total, the Department will incur expenses to the total value of R5.0 million

(b) Letters were sent to universities on 13 May 2020 requesting them to submit costed Teaching, Learning and Assessment Plans, as well as Campus Readiness Plans to the Department by 19 May 2020. Universities submitted costed Campus Readiness Plans, which varied considerably with respect to what institutions wanted to implement and with regards to the funding required and the equipment requested. Funding required varied from as little as R2.1 million to R 402.8 million. Some suggested items were large infrastructure changes that would not be possible. The total cost of the submitted plans was R1.85 billion. This was assessed as unrealistic as many items indicated were unnecessary.

The Department, in consultation with Higher Health who assessed these plans, decided that there are certain legitimate expenses that institutions will incur that they could not have been budgeted for prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Department should consider providing a second COVID-19 Responsiveness Grant (CRG-2) to assist institutions with these costs. The Minister has been requested to approve the re-prioritisation of R526.3 million from the 2020/21 earmarked grants not yet transferred to assist universities to pay for unbudgeted items for campus readiness and health and safety measures over the next period.   

TVET Colleges have been able to reprioritize approximately R780 million from their current 2020 operational budgets to assist with COVID 19 related expenditure.

Total cost to be incurred by Community Education and Training (CET) colleges is
R27 million to prepare for the reopening of their facilities after the easing of the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

(2)  (a) The Department had planned to acquire additional capacity in the form of nurses within the Employee Health and Welfare unit but has since entered into a partnership with the Health and Welfare SETA for the provision of nursing services to do screening and contact tracing. The Department will be increasing its cleaning capacity by employing more cleaners at head office and in colleges, and in particular Community Learning Centres colleges that do not have dedicated cleaners as they are using the Department of Basic Education’s facilities.

(b) (i) Universities’ plans make provision for the employment of additional staff where required. All universities have made provision for physical distancing in their plans.

Social distancing has been prioritised in TVET colleges firstly through the staggered return of different student cohorts over a 7-week period, as well as through the splitting of classes and revision of timetables. These arrangements will not require additional lecturers.

The CET colleges are not employing additional staff; however, the following conditions have been applied in determining the resumption of classes. Only colleges that have satisfied the social distancing requirements have allowed staff and students to return effective from 23 June 2020. The return of different categories of CET college staff to their workstations and students to their learning sites is subject to readiness of the colleges and learning sites as well as appropriate social distancing measures put in place by colleges.

(ii) All universities have made provision for essential health and safety items. The Department has recommended to the Minister that funding through the proposed CRG -2 be approved for the following categories as advised by Higher Health: 

  • Requirements for environmental and regular cleaning in line with the health and safety protocols, including cleaning equipment and material and the appointment of additional cleaning staff.
  • Personal protective equipment appropriate for front-line staff, staff in university clinics and the general student and staff population.  
  • Internal isolation and quarantine facilities (levels 4 - 2 of the risk-adjusted strategy) and external facilities (only if this is necessary after level 1 has been announced and 100% of students have returned to the campus).
  • Clinical support in the form of locums at the university clinic, mental health support, etc.
  • Screening stations and equipment. This may include additional staff.

TVET colleges have been monitored over the last 6 weeks in terms of their readiness to receive staff and students. By mid-June 2020, all the protocols for COVID-19 compliance, as set out by the Department of Health and the Guidelines for PSET institutions for Management of COVID-19, were above 90% readiness. As at 26 June 2020, the state of readiness was at 98%. Higher Health trained staff across all colleges on implementing the protocols.

All CET colleges have assured the Department that personal protective equipment for staff and students were procured from the budget set aside to deal with COVID-19.

30 June 2020 - NW1269

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Graham, Ms SJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) What are the reasons that none of the 27 students who enrolled for a three year National Certificate Hairdressing programme, conducted by Delcom Training Institute in Aberdeen in the Eastern Cape that commenced in April 2019, have not been paid their stipend for November 2019, (b) what is the name of each learner who has not been paid any stipend from 1 April 2019 to date, (c) what enforcement mechanism will his department utilise to ensure that payments are effected where owing, (d) what are the time frames stipulated by his department between (i) completion of a level by a learner; (ii) moderation of the work by the service provider and (iii) commencement of the next level, (e) has the service provider been paid for the period of the lockdown and (f) where the programme has been stalled by the service provider, (i) will the duration of the programme be extended by the same time frame and (ii) will the students be paid stipends for the additional time?

Reply:

(a)     Based on the Services SETA records, the stipend for the month of November 2019 was paid to all learners whose attendance could be confirmed through attendance registers. Ten out of the forty learners were not paid due to non-attendance.

(b)    The names of ten learners who were not paid stipends for November 2019 and December 2019 due to non-attendance are:

- Jonathan Mahosi

- Winstar Mdlalose

- Zanele Kubheka

- Millecent Tsotetsi

- Veronica Maseko

- Nokuthula Muriel Ndaba

- Prisca Kunene

- Nomthandazo Mazibuko

- Germina Letsoalo

- Kwanda Ndebele

(c)     The enforcement mechanism that is utilised to ensure that payments are effected where owing is through a Training Agreement signed between the SETA and the training provider stipulating the conditions for the payment, which include amongst others, a confirmation report that training has occurred and proof of attendance of learners.

On receipt of the report from the training provider, the SETA verifies the information in accordance with the Training Agreement and allows the training provider to confirm the correctness of information and if some gaps are identified, the training provider is allowed to correct information in order to effect the payment.

(d)     The timeframes stipulated between:

(i)     Completion of a level by a learner is in accordance with the learnership agreement signed with the learner. A learner is expected to complete the level within twelve months.

(ii)   Moderation of the work by the provider is determined by the size of the moderation sample involved. Two summative assessment moderations take place, i.e. an internal moderation conducted by the training provider and an external moderation conducted by the SETA. The external moderation by the SETA is triggered by the submission of the summative assessment and internal moderation reports from the training provider. On average, it takes the Services SETA two weeks to conduct an external moderation, depending on the availability of resources.

(iii) Commencement of the next level is dependent on the outcome of the external moderation report. In the event that the external moderation upholds the assessment decision and there is no remediation required, the next level can commence. It usually takes a week for the external moderation to be quality assured and issued. Customarily, the next level can commence within one month.

(e)     According to the SETA records, the training provider did not submit attendance registers for all learners before the lockdown period. An attendance register was received for only 8 out of the 40 learners, and payment was effected for the 8 learners who are deemed compliant with the Training Agreement.

(f)     Where the programme has been stalled by the training provider:

 (i)    The duration of the programme will be extended by the same period subject to the training provider submitting an implementation plan to complete the project.

(ii)    According to the SETA, learners will not be paid additional stipends for the additional period where the training provider stalled the programme. Procedurally, stipends are paid to learners once the programme has resumed and on receipt of attendance registers confirming the training.

30 June 2020 - NW1286

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

With reference to the proposed establishment of a university for crime detection in Hammanskraal, (a) what are the relevant details of what is meant by a university for crime detection, (b) on what statutory and other grounds would an institution with such a narrow mandate qualify as a university, (c) what disciplines would be taught and assessed by such an institution, (d) what degrees and other qualifications would such an institution offer and (e) what are the details of the (i) timelines or time frames and (ii) budget for the establishment of such an institution?

Reply:

(a)    In the 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President announced that “to improve the quality of general and specialised SAPS investigations, we are establishing a Crime Detection University in Hammanskraal”. This was understood as a directive to work towards the establishment of a specialised public higher education institution that would offer qualifications on the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework in fields linked to crime detection. 

(b)    In terms of the Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997, as amended), the proposed institution for crime detection in Hammanskraal cannot be established immediately as a university. The Act allows for new institutions to be established as either Higher Education Colleges or University Colleges.  The decision on whether this institution will be established as a university college or a higher education college will be dependent on the outcome of a feasibility study that must be undertaken. 

A higher education college is an institution that is established by the Minister, as an independent institution, to offer a scope and range of qualifications that is defined as relatively narrow, possibly in a specific field, e.g. Crime Detection, or a small range of fields, e.g. Crime Detection, Safety and Security, and Military Studies. It is likely to have a relatively small student population, e.g. less than 5 000 students when it is fully operational. It will offer a range of qualifications and skills programmes. The qualifications would include higher certificates, advanced certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, undergraduate degrees and postgraduate diplomas accredited through the Council on Higher Education (CHE). The institution could also offer short skills programmes or occupational programmes accredited through the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). Once the college is fully established and it shows potential to grow further and expand, it could then be declared as a university college, under the governance structure of an established university.

A university college is an institution established by the Minister, under the governance of an existing university, with the intention to grow its student numbers and programmes to cover a scope and range of activities that would enable it over time to be recognised as a fully-fledged university. While the institution would initially start with a small number of programmes in a limited number of fields, e.g. Crime Detection and Safety and Security, it would be planned to grow over time to cover a wider range of related fields and programmes in higher education including undergraduate, honours, Masters and Doctoral degree programmes. It may also offer a limited number of programmes accredited by the QCTO. A university college may be declared to be established as a fully-fledged university when it meets the requirements to be established as such, i.e. when it has grown and developed to such an extent that it has the scope and range of operations that allows it to be defined as a university.

(c)    The disciplines taught at such an institution will be determined by a feasibility study and could include a range of disciplines within policing and security studies that will develop professional and occupational knowledge and skills required to bolster capacity in policing, crime detection and prevention capabilities, and will involve an investigative capacity, including the use of forensic methodical approaches and technology, data analytics, criminal and evidentiary law, and investigative practice. The feasibility study should provide guidance on how this public higher education institution would be differentiated based its mandate and mission. 

(d)    Through the feasibility study a determination will be made on the institutional type, i.e. whether it will be a higher education college or a university college to start with and what the Programme Qualification Mix of the public higher education institution should be.

(e)   (i) A project plan has been developed for Ministerial approval to set out the process and deliverables towards the production of a feasibility study for the two new higher education institution mentioned in the 2020 SONA. The feasibility study must aim to address a number of critical issues including, the size and shape of the new institution; its site(s) of establishment, land assembly and spatial framework; supply and sustainability of required engineering services; environmental sustainability; socio-economic impact analysis; and the digital technology requirements for a contemporary higher education institution.  A project management team will be set up to manage the process. The feasibility study will be undertaken in the current financial year and will determine the time lines for the establishment and development of the institution in line with a costed plan.

 (ii) Funding for the new public higher education institution, in line with the findings of the feasibility study and plan, must be secured from the Vote. In terms of the Higher Education Act, a new institution can only be established once funding is appropriated for that purpose, as this is required before the institution can be legally established.

24 June 2020 - NW1202

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) For how long did his department engage with a certain company (name furnished) regarding the introduction of a comprehensive innovation plan in the townships of the Republic, (b) on what grounds was this engagement pursued, (c) on what date did the engagement come to an end and (d) what were the specific reasons for ending the engagement, given that significant European Union and British potential investment was at stake?

Reply:

(a) South Africa has a bilateral science and innovation partnership with the United Kingdom as part of the Newton Fund initiative, which is operational in 17 other countries. The UK-South Africa Newton Fund is administered by the South Africa’s Department for Science and Technology and the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment. As such, the partnership is required to subscribe to development cooperation principles which include country ownership, a focus on results and accountability, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and mutual accountability.

Matter Innovation is a private sector consultancy domiciled in the United Kingdom. The company was selected, appointed, and contracted by the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. United Kingdom (UK) government to implement a specific Newton Fund initiative known as the Global Innovation Partners Programme in South Africa.

The DSI engaged with Matter Innovation within the framework of the Newton Fund cooperation in 2018 and 2019.

(b) The engagement was pursued at the request of the United Kingdom Government because Matter Innovation was appointed under the SA-UK Newton Fund bilateral partnership and the intended purpose of the initiative was in line with the mandate of the DSI to strengthen science, technology, and innovation in South Africa.

(c) The engagement ended in 2019 when the contract between Matter Innovation and the UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills ended. At this stage there was no mandate or enabling institutional framework to continue the cooperation. Matter Innovation was funded by the UK government to engage in this cooperation.

(d) As highlighted above, the engagement between the DSI and Matter Innovation arose as a result of a Newton Fund supported contract between the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills and Matter Innovation. As such, there was no basis for the DSI to continue engagement with Matter Innovation independently. The DSI continues to implement multiple partnerships with the UK Government strengthening science and innovation capacities in South Africa, none of which has been impacted by the discontinuing of the engagement with Matter Innovation. There has never been any link from the Department’s perspective between the engagement with Matter Innovation and cooperation with the EU. The latter continues to flourish.

24 June 2020 - NW1144

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Boshoff, Dr WJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)With reference to his reply to question 927 on 2 June 2020, what (a) is the name of each company from which the specified goods and/or services were purchased, (b) is the amount of each transaction and (c) was the service and/or product that each company rendered; (2) whether there was any deviation from the standard supply chain management procedures in the specified transactions; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the relevant details in each case; (3) what were the reasons that the goods and/or services were purchased from the specified companies; (4) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Attached is the response in respect of PQ 1144.

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION:

1.

(a) the name of the company from which the specified goods and/or service were purchased

(b) the amount of each transaction

(c) the service and/or product that each company rendered

 

1

XL Nexus Travel

R42 500,00

Shuttle Services

 

2

Dischem

R949,50

Surgical Gloves

 

3

Dischem

R61,90

Sanitizer

 

4

Lynnwood Road Pharmacy

R398,00

Surgical Gloves

 

5

Lynnwood Road Pharmacy

R1 561,00

Face Masks

 

6

Serene Pharmacy

R699,90

Surgical Gloves

 

7

Serene Pharmacy

R629,80

Sanitizer

 

8

Pharma Value Pharmacy

R2 638,68

Face Masks

 

9

Barclay Square Pharmacy

R1 881,30

Sanitizer

 

10

Masana Hygiene

R20 412,50

25 Sanitizer Dispensers

 

11

Masana Hygiene

R20 829,38

Sanitizer refill for dispensers (3 Months)

 

12

Maanda Nes Investment

R67 212,60

Once-Off spray deep cleaning of offices

 

13

Us-pects Trading Enterprise

R40 500,00

Face Mask

 

14

Us-pects Trading Enterprise

R8 450,00

Surgical Gloves

 

15

Supra Healthcare

R4 312,50

Face Masks

 

16

Supra Healthcare

R5 637,30

Surgical Gloves

 

17

Maanda Nes Investment

R63 000,00

Once-Off Decontamination Spray

     

R281 674,36

 

2(a) There was one deviation from normal supply chain management process for the appointment of Masana Hygiene to provide sanitiser dispensers and sanitiser refills for a period of three months at an amount of R41 241,88.

The deviation was sought and approved in accordance with the provisions of National Treasury Instruction No. 05 of 2020/21, which permits emergency procurement in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Covid-19 has been classified as a global threat to human life. Thus, eminent steps had to be taken to proactively minimise its spread in the Departmental premises. The immediate procurement of sanitisers enabled the Department to ensure that the risk of infection is minimised.

2(b)

The name of the company

The amount of each transaction

The service and/or product that each company rendered

 

Masana Hygiene

R20 412,50

25 Sanitizer Dispensers

 

Masana Hygiene

R20 829,38

Sanitizer refill for dispensers (3 Months)

   

R41 241.88

 

3.

The name of the company from which the specified goods and/or service were purchased

reasons that the goods and/or services were purchased from the specified companies

 

1

XL Nexus Travel

The Department has a contract for travel and accommodation with the company. Moreover, the contract was established through an open tender process.

 

2

Dischem

Petty cash was used to procure from these companies. They are retailers and they were randomly selected for procurement based on the availability of stock.

 

3

Dischem

 
 

4

Lynnwood Road Pharmacy

 
 

5

Lynnwood Road Pharmacy

 
 

6

Serene Pharmacy

 
 

7

Serene Pharmacy

 
 

8

PharmaValue Pharmacy

 
 

9

Barclay Square Pharmacy

 
 

10

Masana Hygiene

The Department has a contract for cleaning and Hygiene services with the company. Thus, it was more cost-effective to utilise them.

 

11

Masana Hygiene

 
 

12

Maanda Nes Investment

An open and fair request for quotations process was followed to appoint these companies. These companies won the bids on the basis that they scored the highest number of points on the 80/20 preference point system and also complied with the bidding requirements.

 

13

Uspects Trading Enterprise

 
 

14

Uspects Trading Enterprise

 
 

17

Maanda Nes Investment

 
 

15

Supra Healthcare

An open and fair request for verbal quotations process was followed to appoint this company. The company won because it quoted the lowest price and complied with the bidding requirements.

 

16

Supra Healthcare

 

4. The Minister’s office will advise if the Minister has to make a statement in this regard.

24 June 2020 - NW1203

Profile picture: Bozzoli, Prof B

Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)(a) What number of times, (b) on what dates and (c) why was the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) sector education and training authority placed under administration in each year since its inception; (2) (a) what number of clean audits has CETA had since its inception and (b) by what amount has it underspent its income in each case; (3) what number of artisans has it trained to the point of qualification; (4) what number of instances of corruption have been uncovered?

Reply:

(1) (a) The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) was placed twice under administration.

(b) 25 March 2011 and 3 February 2020.

(c) In 2011, CETA was placed under administration due to allegations of financial mismanagement and in 2020, due to allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement.

(2) (a) CETA received four clean audits in the 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.

(b) The total amounts of underspending are as follows:

Year

Amount

2015/16

R 315 136 800.80

2016/17

R 255 673 499.26

2017/18

R 236 761 241.45

Total

R 807 571 541.51

(3) Based on information obtained from CETA and the National Artisan Moderation Body, CETA has trained a total of 25 362 artisans to the point of qualification.

(4) No instances of corruption have been uncovered to date. The independent investigation commissioned is currently under way looking into the allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement.

24 June 2020 - NW1201

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Whether the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has entered into an agreement with the SA Revenue Service to obtain data on the tax status of students and/or their families; if not, (2) whether NSFAS is planning on entering into such an agreement; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, at what stage are the plans; (3) on what legal provisions will NSFAS rely when seeking to obtain knowledge of the tax status of a third party

Reply:

(1) The National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the SA Revenue Service (SARS) concluded an agreement on 5 December 2019. The agreement did not seek to govern the provision of personal tax status information by SARS to NSFAS. The primary purpose of the agreement was to permit NSFAS to obtain additional information from SARS relating to the gross annual income of NSFAS applicants, or their parents and/or guardians by enhancing the scope of section 70(2)(b) of the Tax Administration Act, Act No. 28 of 2011 and section 24 of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme Act No. 56 of 1999, which governs the provision of SARS information to NSFAS. Prior to the conclusion of the agreement, NSFAS could only request and SARS was only obliged to provide NSFAS with information, which related to the name and address of the employer of a person to whom a loan or bursary has been granted under that scheme.

(2) Not Applicable.

(3) Not Applicable.

19 June 2020 - NW1080

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What is the total expected reduction in his departments’ budget by Treasury in light of Covid-19; (2) whether the reduction will be spread evenly throughout his department; if not, (a) why not and (b)(i) how will it be distributed between programmes and entities and (ii) on what principles?

Reply:

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

(1) The Department did not receive official communication from National Treasury on the budget reductions. The Department is waiting for the announcement to be made by Parliament.

(2) Not applicable

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION

(1) R1 759 479 000. This amount is made up of R1 435 304 000 budget cuts and R324 175 000 for COVID-19 initiatives.

(2) The reduction will not be spread evenly throughout the department.

2 (a) Programmes have different budgets for implementing different initiatives.

2b (i)

Budget cuts per programme

Programme

Compensation of employees R’000

Goods and services R’000

Transfers and subsidies

R’000

Total

R’000

Administration

18 995

22 987

-

41 982

Technology Innovation

5 769

9 978

50 000

65 747

International Cooperation and Resources

5 946

14 422

14 925

35 293

Research Development and Support

4 339

6 055

926 144

936 538

Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships

4 951

-

55 375

60 326

Total

40 000

53 442

1 046 444

1 139 886

Budget cuts per entity (Parliamentary Grants)

 

R’000

Technology Innovation Agency

45 586

South African National Space Agency

18 209

National Research Foundation

96 610

Council for Science and Industrial Research

99 765

Academy of Science of South Africa

2 790

Human Science Research Council

32 459

Total

295 418

(ii) Principles

Programmes

  • There is an anticipated savings on compensation of employees’ budget as the filling of vacancies will delay due to the pandemic.
  • Savings to be realized from goods and services budget due to the lockdown, for example: Travel, events, etc.
  • Various factors were considered under transfers and subsidies budget:
    • Projects that would not be feasible to implement due to the pandemic, for example: infrastructure, science awareness, etc.
    • Projects that were allocated funds during the last quarter of the financial year and the prospect of spending the new money (2020/21) were slim.
  • There are however other areas where the cuts will have a negative impact, these include; the Human Capital Development. The department proposed these cuts in order to reach the 20% stipulated by National Treasury. These challenges were presented by the department to the National Treasury.

Entities

  • 10% cut was proposed on the entities’ parliamentary grants across the board.
  • A lesser percentage (as opposed to 20% requested by National Treasury) was proposed in order to minimize the impact of the cuts to entities.
  • Entities are also expected to make some savings on areas where there will be no or minimal activities during the lockdown.
  • Based on the above, the department is satisfied that the proposal is fair, however it was noted that entities which rely on external revenue might be negatively impacted as the revenue has declined substantially due to the prevailing conditions.
  • The department has discussed the entities that are affected by decline of external revenue with the National Treasury for possible amnesty.

18 June 2020 - NW1096

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Winkler, Ms HS to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What (a)(i) assistance and/or (ii) funding will his department provide to technical and vocational education and training centres (TVETs) to ensure that they are able to implement Covid-19 national health protocols as they apply to tertiary institutions and (b) oversight will his department perform over TVETs to ensure that Covid-19 national health protocols as they apply to campuses are implemented across campuses?

Reply:

(a) Assistance is provided to TVET colleges through Higher Health, which conducts daily screening and provides health care volunteers on every campus. Capacity development webinars on the COVID-19 Post-School Education and Training (PSET) guidelines and protocols have been conducted for TVET management in all the regions. Higher Health facilitated these sessions and over 1 000 management staff at TVET colleges have been trained. Colleges have reprioritised their budgets to take the necessary measures in line with the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. Amongst others, college budgets have been redirected towards the procurement of personal protective equipment, sanitisers, facial masks, fumigation and the deep cleansing of campuses.

(b) The Department has been administering the TVET readiness assessment questionnaire on a weekly basis for the past four weeks. This was intended to assess the state of readiness of TVET colleges and report progress to the Department and Ministerial Task Team on COVID-19. Continuous monitoring, which includes on-site visits and the through the regional offices, the Department verifies the information provided by colleges. In addition, the Minister and Deputy Minister have recently visited several PSET institutions to assess and monitor the state of readiness for the phased return of students and staff to campuses under level 3.

18 June 2020 - NW1097

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Winkler, Ms HS to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Whether his department has been informed that the Springfield Campus of Ethekwini College, although offering courses with practical components, has not been offering any practicals for students enrolled in engineering courses, despite these being advertised as part of the curriculum; if not, what is the position in this regard; (2) whether students are paying for the practical course from (a) their own funding and/or (b) the National Students Financial Aid Scheme; (3) whether his department has been informed that the Springfield Campus of Ethekwini College, is in a complete state of disrepair with collapsed perimeter fencing and/or walls, no access control and that entry to the campus is obscured by a dumpsite; if not, what steps will he take to investigate the matter; if so, how does his department plan to intervene?

Reply:

(1) The campus offers Engineering and Related Design (E&RD) NCV programmes where students are doing practical activities as part of the Internal Continuous Assessments (ICASS). For the students to qualify for entry into the examinations the ISAT (practical exam component) needs to be administered. The Campus yearly is conducting relevant practical tasks. We are not aware of any programme offered at Springfield Campus where practicals are supposed to be offered and they are not offered.

(2) ERD NCV programmes are paid for by NSFAS to all financial needy and qualifying students.

(3) Parts of the precast walls are missing due to thuggery from the neighboring informal settlements. Last year, in November 2019, missing precast walls were replaced, but the thuggery continued. Additional security is deployed to ensure the safety and security of the college property and its stakeholders. The dumpsite is a challenge as it is on an access road to the Campus. The municipality cleaning of the road is unsatisfactory and there is continuous engagement with the municipality to devise a permanent solution.

11 June 2020 - NW997

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Ngcobo, Mr S to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Given that Monday, 25 May 2020, is marked Africa day, and seeing that indigenous African languages are faced with the unique challenge of adapting to a fast-changing technological era, what steps has his department taken to promote the ideal of a multilingual society as espoused in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996; (2) whether he has found that there are digitised efforts and carved-out spaces for indigenous languages within the digital space for them to not only survive, but also to thrive in the ever-changing technological era; if not, why not; if so, what are the full relevant details?

Reply:

(1) The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), through the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), established the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR). SADiLaR has an enabling function, with a focus on all official languages of South Africa, supporting research and development in the domains of language technologies and language-related studies in the humanities and social sciences. The Centre supports the creation, management and distribution of digital language resources, as well as applicable software, which are freely available for research purposes through its online repository.

The resources include language datasets (for all official South African languages, including the indigenous languages) as well as high-level resources, such as natural language processing tools that are developed for use in applications, such as machine translation engines for local languages, automatic speech recognition systems, text-to-speech systems, speech-to speech translation systems, interactive communication systems, and a variety of text-related applications, such as grammar and spelling checkers, online electronic dictionaries, and so forth.

SADiLaR plays a strategic role in ensuring the constitutional imperative is achieved in the long term to ensure that the historically diminished use and status of the indigenous languages of the people of South African are redressed and positive measures are taken to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages.

The Recognition of Prior Learning is an initiative of the DSI, which through the implementation of the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Act No 6 of 2019, aims to recognise the skills of indigenous practitioners in various IKS domains. The initiative focuses on the development of a competency-based qualification to be registered on the National Qualifications Framework. The Department is currently working with IK practitioners (Traditional Health Practice IK domain), to scope their

competencies of their various cultural settings, and has so far documented competencies in isiZulu, Setswana and TshiVenda languages. The workshops with IK practitioners are conducted in the vernacular languages of the IK practitioners. To this end, the IK occupations and accompanying competencies that are documented in the vernacular languages serve as a principle and as a means to promote and preserve the languages of the knowledge systems in its own context.

The National Recordal System (NRS) of the DSI supports the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Act No 6 of 2019 (herein after referred as the IK Act) through the registration of IK. The initiative promotes the recording of IK in vernacular languages using multimedia technology (recording of audio, video, images and transcriptions of each recorded IK story), as a means to preserve IK for future generations so that the context is not lost. Further hereto, the aim is to protect the IK from biopiracy and misappropriation, and to enable the sharing of benefits to the local and rural communities who have registered such IK in the system, should the knowledge be used by any 3rd party, following the various legal prescripts of the IK Act, No 6 of 2019. A key element of the NRS in the promotion of the vernacular languages is by having IK recorders from the participating communities to implement the documentation of IK. In this way, the youth are exposed to the value of their community IK, and through using their languages they are able to capture extensions of the very rich IK that are held by their own communities. The registered IK is held in a digital repository that stores, provide access to, transmit, manage and secure the registered indigenous knowledge via the digital platform.

(2) The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources provides a digital space for language resources and tools as part of its online repository available at https://repo.sadilar.org/. SADiLaR, through its nodes, focuses on ensuring African Languages are digitised, relevant text and speech processing technologies are developed, terminology development is supported through the creation of wordnets (which are large lexical databases containing nouns, verbs, etc. and their relationships) and language testing and training projects.

SADiLaR funds and supports a range of projects related to indigenous languages in collaboration with SADiLaR’s nodes (consisting of University of Pretoria (Department of African Languages); University of South Africa (Department of African Languages); CSIR (HLT Research Group); North-West University (Centre for Text Technology); and Inter-Institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment (ICELDA). Projects relate to digitization, semantics and terminology, language development and teaching resources, speech resources, and text resources and technologies.

Collaboration between the North-West University, University of Pretoria and the CSIR in the area of Human Language Technologies predates the establishment of the SADiLaR. The development of a Human language technologies (HLT) speech-activated multilingual service delivery platform was funded from the European Union Government Budget Support programme, between 2014 and 2017. The platform is aimed at providing technology tools necessary for delivering information and services to South African citizens in their language of choice, in an affordable and sustainable manner. The focus was on the development of core technologies in automatic speech recognition (ASR) and text to speech (TTS) using mobile phones as the primary communication channel, furthermore, providing an HLT-enabled solution for website accessibility to print-disabled and low literate end-users.

The aim of the solution was to enable access to information and promote multilingualism. The solution involved the integration of TTS voices in South African English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa with the Non-Visual Desktop Access screen reader. Cape Access (CA) of the Western Cape Government was identified as a possible government partner following a need expressed to make their websites more accessible. CA identified 11 eCentres in which to pilot this technology. A demographics survey was conducted at these eCentres to determine who the typical visitors to these eCentres are and how they operate. After this, eCentre managers were trained on how to use the technology and the technology was subsequently installed and piloted at these eCentres.

The HLT-enabled solution which was also piloted at Kaleidoscope SA (Institute for the Blind). This pilot aimed at allowing blind students to use the Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) screen reader with local languages as a basis for receiving training. Kaleidoscope SA offers formal qualifications (N4 & N5) in a number of fields to blind students.

Furthermore, an activity aimed at assessing communication practices and needs of multilingual persons using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) was undertaken. The research was undertaken in collaboration with the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) at the University of Pretoria and entailed the integration of CSIR Text-to-Speech (TTS) voices with AAC software. Two sets of evaluations were held and the local voices evaluated were South African English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Afrikaans and Setswana.

The DSI is also currently funding the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Research (CAIR), which has a node at North West University. This particular node’s area of expertise is led by a Multilingual Speech Technologies (MuST) research group focused at the creation and use of speech technologies in the less-resourced languages.

SADiLaR, through its involvement with the UNESCO Year of Indigenous languages, reached more than 850 participants directly through language celebration events. These events created a space for academics, lecturers, students (undergraduates – postgraduates), broader public as well as profound contributors in the various languages to interact, and were held across South Africa at various universities in cooperation with the National Lexicography Units of South Africa. These events culminated in SADiLaR taking part in the Language Technologies for All conference with a focus on Enabling Linguistic Diversity and Multilingualism Worldwide, creating awareness of how the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap is directly contributing toward linguistic diversity and multilingualism through SADiLaR.

SADiLaR is also brainstorming its COVID-19 response, in particular to allow for “Rapid situational awareness in emerging situations like natural disasters or disease outbreaks”. This requires availability of Human Language Technology not only for the official languages of the country, but all languages spoken in South Africa.

11 June 2020 - NW1015

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What (a) number of entities reporting to him as well as entities within his department paid consultants to write their (i) strategic and/or (ii) annual performance plans, (b) amount did each consultant charge, (c) was the total cost to his department for outsourcing the plans and (d) were the reasons for outsourcing?

Reply:

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Entity:

(a). Was there any paid consultants used to write the;

 (i) Strategic Plan,

(ii) Annual Performance Plans?

(b) Amount that each consultant charge?

(c) What was the total cost to his department/entity for outsourcing the plans?

(d) What were the reasons for outsourcing?

CHE

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

INSETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

CHIETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

SAQA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

MerSETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

FP&M SETA 

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

CHIETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

CETA 

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

ETDP SETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

TETA 

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

EWSETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

SASSETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

HWSETA

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

FoodBev SETA

  1. Strategic Plan - Yes for facilitation of Board strategy
  1. Annual Performance Plans - No

i. R40 250

ii. Not applicable

  1. R40 250

 

There was no outsourcing of the developing of the plans however there was a facilitator who facilitated the board strategy session that led to the development of the strategic outcomes by the Board

LGSETA

The consultant was appointed and paid to facilitate the strategic planning session only for 2020/21 financial year. The development of the plans were done internally

 

Appointed Service provider: Simulation Consultants CC

R145 000

R145 000

The consultant was appointed for facilitation of the strategic planning session only because he/she had to give an external perspective/insight on the review of the five year plans ensuring that the session addresses the new developmental goals assigned for our sector during the strategic planning session.

AgriSETA

Strategic Plan, Sector Skills Plan, Annual Report and Annual Performance Plan

Regenesy -R93 100

Blackmoon Advertising – R283 426

R376 400 

 

AgriSETA doesn’t appoint service provider for writing APP and Strategic plans, management write and prepare those documents 

 

A consultant is only appointed to edit and design and layout, printing of the documents etc since we have no graphic designers internally. That part is outsourced because we have no graphic design and printing equipment to produce such documents including annual reports.

MICT SETA

Motif Capital Partner

R 66 240

R 66 240

‒      The introduction of a new framework for the development of Strategic plans was quite different from the previous framework.

 

‒      The lateness of the introduction of the framework versus submission timelines.

NSFAS

YES

R490 000.00 

Refer (b)

When the Entity was placed under Administration one of the major concerns and challenges was the substandard work that came from the Planning and Monitoring Unit in terms of the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan. The onboarding of a specialist was to assist the Entity to meet this requirement. The mandate ranged from providing ad-hoc advice on the design of SMART indicators in relations to targets to the training of key staff on the design in order to avoid submitting a sub-standard work.

QCTO

The services of facilitators from Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) was engaged for supporting the development of the strategic plans. 

R 919 296.00

R 919 296.00

QCTO used GTAC as the new Framework for Medium Term Planning was introduced by DPME and the QCTO needed capacity building for management to develop plans that comply with the new framework. The process was not outsourced but GTAC facilitated and guided the process. QCTO management with full consultation of staff developed the plans across all levels of the organisation. 

FASSET

Africa International Advisors

R 115 000.00 

 

R115 000

Due to internal capacity constraints and the new framework which was introduced. This was to ensure that we were able to adhere to the requirements of this new framework.

CATHSSETA

Yes

R247  068 

R247  068 

1.  Due to the DPME revised framework on SPs and APPs the CATHSSETA acquired the services of an experienced and reputable company to assist in the compilation of the documents. The framework had a lot of changes that required the SETA to appoint someone who is knowledgeable about the new planning needs etc. It must be noted that Ziko Consulting played a supportive role in the process and the CATHSSETA team managed the entire consultation and approval process.

2.   The SETA is also challenged with capacity issues within the unit in terms of human resources, therefore a support structure is required for the short term to assist professional compilation of such these entity strategic do documents.

W&RSETA

W&RSETA contracted Underhill Corporate Solutions for the compilation of its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan

The contracted company (Underhill Corporate Solutions) assigned 4 of its employees to the project; and the total amount charged by the company was R489 670.00. 

R489 670.00.

Limited resources as the unit only had one employee responsible for strategic planning. 

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION 

The entities reporting to the Minister did not outsource the writing of the Strategic Plans or Annual Performance Plans, and responded as follows:

(a) None. The Department of Science and Innovation, National Research Foundation, Academy of Science of South Africa, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Council, Human Sciences Research Council, National Advisory Council on Innovation and South African National Space Agency did not pay consultants to write the:

(i) Strategic Plan; and/or

(ii) Annual Performance Plan.

(b) Nil.

(c) Not Applicable (N/A).

(d) N/A.

11 June 2020 - NW1016

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Given that the Vision of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) is to be a leading technology innovation agency that stimulates and supports technological innovation to improve the quality of life for all South Africans, what (a) are the details of five examples of technological innovation that have taken place in the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) that have been funded to provide them with science, engineering and technology support and (b) was the cost of funding for each SMME in the 2018-19 financial year; (2) which three products of developing indigenous knowledge into technologically innovative products does the TIA intend to develop; (3) whether the aim of TIA to invest in the translation and commercialisation of innovations is based upon a concrete plan; if not, why not; if so, by what date will the plan be made available; (4) whether the plan accords with international best practice; if not, why not; if so, what are the comparative examples that were used to develop the plan; (5) whether he will provide Prof B Bozzoli with the plan; if not, why not; if so, on what date?

Reply:

(1) Examples of five SMME projects that TIA funded in the 2018/19 financial year through its various funding instruments (including the Seed Fund, Technology Stations Programme and Technology Development Fund) are:

i. RIOT Network – RIOT has developed a wireless communications network technology that makes it easy for anyone to setup, operate and monetize public wireless broadband networks by agglomerating private network access devices of individuals (i.e. households) and very small businesses. The technology is useful for extending broadband coverage to underserviced areas, and it enables SMME to operate as local internet service providers (ISPs). The project is currently completing its technology development and received financial support of R3 451 700 in 2018/19.

The technology has been successfully tested and deployed in Olievenhoutbosch (an area plagues with break-ins), where a subset of the local community is using the technology to monitor theft in the area. This is achieved through artificial intelligence enabled IP cameras, that detects and alert residences of suspicious behaviour in the region. The cameras are interconnected and access through RIOT’s network infrastructure.

Currently the organisation employs ten people in high value engineering jobs. At full commercialisation the company will enable thousands of jobs as SMEs leverage the technology to set up and monetise local networks. The company has also attracted private investment that enables it to continue improving its technology and in preparation for scale. The company is 100% youth owned, 41% black owned and 18% female owned.

ii. SAMEC Engineering - TIA provided the company with an amount of R1 700 959.00 in the 2018/19 financial year out of an approved amount of R7 799 775.00 for the development of an air condition system using thermal storage to cool buildings (industrial and commercial) or temporary structures (e.g. a marquee). Thermal storage happens during off-peak periods when electricity is cheap and that energy is used to cool buildings during high peak periods when electricity is expensive. This will lead to cost savings and load reduction during peak periods.

The first tranche enabled the project to develop a demonstration unit which has been installed at Durban University of Technology and it serves as a data collection point to demonstrate the performance of the unit.

iii. AgriProtein Technologies (Pty) Ltd is a technology start-up company that successfully developed and piloted a nutrient recycling technology (converting organic waste to animal feed protein) to commercialise an insect-based protein feed in the animal feed industry. TIA, through its Bioeconomy Programme extended a loan of R11 968 573 to AgriProtein to carry out phase one of the project known as “Magmeal” as a low cost and environmentally sustainable animal feed.

To-date, AgriProtein has successfully developed an operational Generation 1 (G1) Production Facility employing a total of 141 employees, in Philippi an economically depressed area in Cape Town and has expanded to attract the international market. They secured about $105 million investment in 2018 to fund global expansion.

In a region characterised by low youth employment a total of 57% of permanent employees were under the age of 35. Over R 44 million was spent on local payroll in 2018 and directly supported a total of 139 permanently, decent jobs as December 2018, with a gender split of 30% females and 70 % males.

iv. Mkazi Concepts

TIA funded Mkazi Concepts (Pty) Ltd through the Technology Stations Programme for R502 000 towards development of a Hand-Hygiene Monitor with a RFID (radio frequency identification) badges or wrist bands that track and record on the number of times in-between user-wash per control area. The project falls within the Internet of Things (IoT); and Data Monitoring and Controls in decision making (i.e. Machine Learning) in the primary healthcare environment and other markets such hospitals, mobile health clinics, schools, food industry, etc.

The grant funding subsidised the Technology Station in Electronics hosted at Tshwane University of Technology and the Product Development Technology Station at Central University of Technology for engineering and technology support to assist the client from concept development, first-type prototype to Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with additional financial to conduct a demonstration in an open environment. This was done at a clinic in Windsor East in Gauteng, Johannesburg.

The project provided at least for job opportunities with a locally available intelligent product for the fourth industrial revolution (FIR).

The product intends to increase level of effectiveness of hand hygiene compliance which are currently at 40% nationally due to manual based hand-washing systems and lack of surveillance. In light of COVID 19 the product becomes more important for the implementation and controls of hand-hygiene intervention that are regarded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the lowest-costs with highest-impact for effectively preventing infections.

v. Smart Blade - SmartBlade Video

Laryngoscope is a medical device that

harnesses smartphone technology to provide

guided and more cost-effective method for

examining or inserting a tube through the

larynx. The process of inserting the tube

is called endotracheal intubation. SmartBlade

will thus enable single operators of varied skill

levels to intubate difficult airways in a cost-effective way. Currently the cost of video laryngoscopy is prohibitive to the individual clinician, small clinics and ambulance services.

TIA funded SmartBlade [http://smartblade.co.za] to the tune of R484 275 through its Seed Fund Programme for prototype development, premarket sample manufacturing and testing, market research, regulatory compliance research. This resulted in the filing of two (2) provisional patents and a design registration. Prototypes were manufactured and pre-clinical trials conducted using the SmartBlade technology and generated good results. The android app was developed and tested. The SMME managed to secure follow-on funding of R9,5 million from Savant Venture Fund in May 2019 for technology optimisation and commercialisation. In response to COVID 19 they have optimised the Video laryngoscopy technology to incorporate a disposable laryngoscope as a recommended intervention for COVID-19 patients.

 

(2) In line with its approved Strategic Plan 2020-2025 TIA, through its Bio-economy Programme, aims to support indigenous knowledge-based innovation in targeted areas. These include African Traditional Medicines, neutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and health infusions. In respect of specific products, these will be solicited through TIA’s Call for Proposals during the financial year, from which specific products will be selected for funding.

(3) Yes. The plan will be made available by 15 July 2020.

(4) The current models accord with international best practice in some respects, specifically, the Technology Acquisition and Deployment Fund which was adapted from the Indian model that uses a similar approach to commercialisation. Secondly, the ecosystem approach has been widely used by Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency responsible for supporting technology innovation together with other like-minded entities around the world, especially in Europe. Thirdly, the SBRI is a model that originates from the USA, subsequently adopted and successfully used by countries such as the UK, Netherlands, India, Australia, and now broadly adopted by the European Union.

The plan nevertheless is largely home-grown, based on TIA’s own understanding and knowledge of the RSA ecosystem, and specific dynamics that are peculiar to a developmental state and a maturing ecosystem.

(5) The Plan, once finalised, will be released publicly.

11 June 2020 - NW1017

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) What number of cases of (i) employees and (ii) syndicates of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) suspected of fraud in each case have been handed to the Commercial Crime Unit of the SA Police Service, (b) on what dates were they handed to the unit, (c) what progress has the unit made in pursuing each case, (d) what was the total value of the suspected fraud in each case, (e) are there any outstanding cases which will still be handed over and (f) have all persons suspected of fraud been removed from the staff of NSFAS?

Reply:

(a) (i) Five cases of fraud involving NSFAS employees were registered with the Wynberg South African Police Services.

(ii) Following the arrest of three NSFAS employees on or about 9 October 2019, the NSFAS Chief Governance, Risk and Compliance Executive initiated a reconciliation project, which entailed extracting a history of all SBux purchases and withdrawal transactions concluded with merchants in the Western Cape specifically. The rationale being that there were no institutions on SBux in the Western Cape, yet transactions were being concluded daily, which pointed to the operation of a syndicate.

(b) The five cases registered with the Wynberg SAPS office between 2017 and 2019, were handed over to the Commercial Crimes Unit on or about 10 November 2019. A criminal inquiry under Case No: 200/08/2019 was also handed over at the same time.

(c) In the five cases of fraud involving NSFAS employees, the following progress has been made:

  • Case No: 323/05/2017 – Warrant of arrest has been issued as the accused fled the province and his whereabouts are unknown.
  • Case No: 80/11/2018 - Warrant of arrest has been issued as the accused fled the province and his whereabouts are unknown.
  • Case No: 14/10/2019 – Allegations are being investigated.
  • Case No: 200/08/2019 – The National Prosecuting Authority is negotiating a plea bargain.
  • Case No: 82/10/2019 – The matter has been placed on the court roll for 7 July 2020 to view video footage obtained of the alleged fraudulent transaction.

The criminal inquiry registered under Case No: 200/08/2019 is being investigated. Given that the transactions at the Western Cape merchant stores were concluded during September 2019, and the criminal inquiry was officially opened in November 2019, the video footage at the specific merchant stores were only retained for a maximum of 14 days from the date of the incident, where after the video footage is deleted by the merchant store.

(d) In the five cases of fraud involving NSFAS employees, the total value of the suspected fraud is as follows:

  • Case No: 323/05/2017 – R15 503.76
  • Case No: 80/11/2018 - R86 135.41
  • -Case No: 14/10/2019 – Contravening the provisions of the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act, No. 12 of 2019
  • Case No: 200/08/2019 – R3 500.00
  • Case No: 82/10/2019 – R8 000.00

The reconciliation project and subsequent criminal inquiry under Case No: 200/08/2019 revealed 508 individual transactions/fraudulent transactions were concluded, amounting to R354 595.65.

(e) & (f) There are currently internal disciplinary hearings underway and subject to the dismissal of the relevant employee(s), the NSFAS management team will consider pursuing criminal charges against the employee(s).

02 June 2020 - NW966

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What (a) amount of the R7,8 billion of irregular expenditure uncovered at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) when the administrator took charge of the organisation (i) has been cleared and (ii) remains to be cleared and (b) is the timeline for clearing the irregular expenditure; (2) what are the key performance areas (KPAs) of the administrator of NSFAS for the current year; (3) whether he intends to extend the administrator’s term of office in order to make sure that the administrator fulfils the KPAs and the tasks that were set; if not, why not; if so, for how long?

Reply:

1.

1 (a) (i)

1 (a) (ii)

1 (b)

Shifting of earmarked funds (historic debt)

R1.963 billion

 

In the process of being written off.

Disbursements with respect to NOCLAR

 

R4.359 billion

This should be closed out during the 2020/21 financial year, including recoveries.

Disbursements in excess of contract amounts

   

NSFAS has applied to the Credit Regulator for a waiver to this legislative requirement.

Other

R6 million

 

The investigation is complete and findings indicate that no was loss incurred but it was rather a compliance matter only.

.

(2) The key performance areas of the Administrator are:

  • Finalise the close out of the 2017/18 student funding cycle, including the finalisation of all data exchange and final payments. - Ensure the effective close out of the 2019 funding cycle and provision of accurate data to the Department.
  • Ensure effective preparation for, and implementation of, the 2020 student funding cycle in consultation with the Department.
  • Ensure that the entity pays adequate attention to both TVET colleges and universities in all aspects of its core business processes.
  • Maintain a close and productive working relationship between NSFAS and the universities and TVET colleges.
  • Put in place the necessary management and governance controls to ensure that all risks of the 2020 student funding cycle are appropriately managed, with the support of the Department and institutions as necessary.
  • Manage the day-to-day work of the entity and steer NSFAS to address its operational challenges fully.
  • Oversee the process of appointing new executive staff at NSFAS, in terms of a process agreed with the Department.
  • Ensure a smooth transition between the administration and the new executive staff. - Oversee all forensic and other investigations necessary for the effective operation and management of the entity and any follow up required.
  • Provide support to the Ministerial Task Team appointed by the Minister.

(3) The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation does not intend to extend the term of office of the Administrator unless conditions dictates otherwise. The process to finalise the appointments of vacant senior executive management posts, including the appointment of the Executive Officer is underway. The terms of reference of the Administrator states that he must ensure a smooth transition between the administration and the new executive staff. The Minister is in the process of initiating the appointment of a new Board in terms of Section 5 of the NSFAS Act 56 of 1999.

02 June 2020 - NW927

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Boshoff, Dr WJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Whether his department awarded any tenders connected to the Covid-19 pandemic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) are the names of the businesses to whom these tenders were awarded, (b) are the amounts of each tender awarded and (c) was the service and/or product to be supplied by each business; (2) whether there was any deviation from the standard supply chain management procedures in the awarding of the tenders; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the relevant details in each case; (3) what was the reason for which each specified business was awarded the specified tender; (4) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION:

  1. The Department of Science and Innovation has not awarded any goods or services exceeding R500 000 (tenders) at this stage. All the Covid-19 related purchases have been below R500 000, procurement was done through quotations;
  2. Not applicable;
  3. Not applicable;
  4. Not applicable.

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

  1. Procurement in excess of R500 000 per case is considered as a tender, hence no single tender was awarded in respect of COVID-19 to date;
  2. None;
  3. Not applicable;
  4. Not applicable.

02 June 2020 - NW967

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What are the details of the differences in terms of performance of students who receive the National Student Financial Aid Scheme grant and those who do not; (2) whether he will provide Prof B Bozzoli with statistical evidence of the students’ differential performance in the past three financial years; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The Department started undertaking national cohort studies, including a specific study on NSFAS funded students in the 2016/17 financial year. The database of students who had received NSFAS funding in all previous years of study was mapped to the HEMIS dataset. The NSFAS cohort study considers any student who received NSFAS funding at any point in time during their studies. The NSFAS cohort study published on 13 March 2017 considered all cohorts that entered the public higher education sector, i.e. universities, for the first time from the 2000 to 2014 academic years. This report and subsequent reports show that students who have been funded by NSFAS perform better than the national cohort.  It should be noted that there is insufficient data to determine how the students on the new bursary scheme are performing, as at least 4 years of data would be required for 3-year qualifications and 5 years of data for 4-year qualifications.  This cohort only commenced their studies in the 2018 academic year. It should also be noted that the national cohort includes students funded by NSFAS. 

The 2000 to 2014 first time entering undergraduate cohort studies for public higher education institutions, published in March 2017, shows that the dropout and throughput rates for the 2006 cohort are as follows for the:

  • national cohort, 38.2% and 54.4% respectively;  
  • DHET NSFAS cohort, 28.5% and 62.5% respectively; and 
  • Thuthuka cohort, 10.4% and 85.8% respectively.

The 2000 to 2015 first time entering undergraduate cohort studies for public higher education institutions, published in March 2018, shows that the dropout and throughput rates for the 2007 cohort are as follows for the:

  • national cohort, 37.9% and 55.6% respectively; 
  • DHET NSFAS cohort, 25.9% and 66.2% respectively; and 
  • Thuthuka cohort, 13.0% and 81.2% respectively. 

The 2000 to 2016 first time entering undergraduate cohort studies for public higher education institutions, published in March 2019, shows that the dropout and throughput rates for the 2008 cohort are as follows for the:

  • national cohort, 34.6% and 58.0% respectively; 
  • DHET NSFAS cohort, 22.4% and 68.9% respectively; 
  • Thuthuka cohort, 12.3% and 83.1% respectively; and 
  • Funza Lushaka cohort 8.2% and 87.0% respectively

The 2000 to 2017 first time entering undergraduate cohort studies for public higher education institutions, published in March 2020, shows that the dropout and throughput rates for the 2009 cohort are as follows for the:

  • national cohort, 31.3% and 61.1% respectively; 
  • DHET NSFAS cohort, 22.2% and 69.7% respectively; 
  • for the Thuthuka cohort, 11.0% and 84.6% respectively; and 
  • Funza Lushaka cohort 8.6% and 86.8% respectively 

It should be noted that the NSFAS cohorts in every cohort study have performed better than the national cohort. These cohorts of NSFAS funded students were from poor families earning up to R1220 000 per annum, and the students in the scheme did not necessarily receive full cost of study funding, as funding was capped and there was an expected family contribution.

In comparison, the Thuthuka cohort are students entering accounting studies and in general would include high performing students from the basic education sector. These students have also received full cost of study funding and tailored 'wrap around' support. 

The Funza Lushaka cohort is also a selected (competitive) cohort and has always been fully funded for all aspects of their study.   

The cohort study published by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on 13 March 2017 did not focus on performance of NSFAS recipients in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. The Department has been working closely with NSFAS to improve the capacity of NSFAS to administer and disburse bursaries to TVET college students and to respond to the uniqueness of the TVET college sector. NSFAS systems and processes require specific enhancements to adequately cater for the TVET college sector, especially the numerous and somewhat shorter academic cycles. This intervention will ultimately enable NSFAS to effectively report on performance of recipients in the TVET college sector with its numerous academic cycles. Notwithstanding this intervention, the Department has started gathering data on performance of NSFAS recipients in TVET colleges. However, this information is not readily available now as its analysis is still being undertaken.

28 May 2020 - NW968

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(a) By what date will the Council on Higher Education’s institutional audit of the University of South Africa begin, given the delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and (b) what measures have been put in place to conduct such an audit using remote and other Covid-19-compatible methods?

Reply:

The Draft Framework for Institutional Audits 2020 and Draft Manual for Institutional Audits 2020 were approved for consultation with the higher education sector by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) at its meeting of 7 April 2020. It is envisaged that once the feedback from the sector has been considered by the HEQC, the Framework and Manual would be ready for final approval by the HEQC at its July 2020 meeting. UNISA forms part of a group of 20 higher education institutions, both public and private, that have been identified for the audit in 2020 after the final approval of the Framework and Manual. At this stage it is not envisaged that the COVID19 restrictions will cause undue delay in the UNISA audit, barring totally unforeseen developments on the trajectory of the pandemic.

The Draft Manual for Institutional Audits 2020 makes provision for three institutional visits prior to the main audit site visit, for the purposes of (i) initiating the audit, (ii) discussing the strategy for the audit with the institution, and (iii) finalizing the site visits programme. All these institutional visits can be done via videoconferencing and will commence in August 2020 as planned. Training for the identified higher education institutions, as well as the audit panel members, for the institutional audits can also be done online in the last part of 2020 as planned. A large and complex institution such as UNISA will require at least 6 months to complete their self-evaluation report and to compile a portfolio of evidence, which means that the due date for this is likely to be towards the end of January 2021. The Manual already makes provision for these documents to be submitted in digital format.

The audit portfolio meeting in which the panel finalises (i) the programme for the audit visit, (ii) the requirements for the additional information and evidence, (iii) the details of supporting documentation to be available on-site during audit visit, (iv) the persons to interview, and (v) the members of the panel and dates to visit satellite campuses, if applicable, can also be done online.

The actual audit site visit for UNISA is likely to be around April 2021, by which time it is anticipated that the COVID-19 restrictions would have been lifted. In the event of a continuation of the restrictions due to unforeseen developments, the Council on Higher Education is currently in the process of developing a new methodology in which the self-evaluation reports and portfolios of evidence of institutions will be subjected to a thorough document analysis by the audit panel members on an online platform, with lines of enquiry, further evidence and interviews being conducted online. Physical site visits will only take place in cases where the audit panel is unconvinced by the digital evidence, which may include visual material in addition to text-based material. This methodology will undergo a trial with the national doctoral review, which is currently underway.

28 May 2020 - NW871

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Basson, Mr LJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)Whether his department will offer any form of Covid-19 financial or other relief to small businesses; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether the Covid-19 financial or other relief will only be allocated to qualifying small businesses according to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, Act 53 of 2003, as amended; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) on what statutory grounds and/or provisions does he or his department rely to allocate Covid-19 financial or other relief only to small businesses according to the specified Act and (b) what form of Covid-19 financial or other relief, if any, will be made available to other small businesses?

Reply:

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION

(1) Currently, the DSI has not planned on providing specific Covid-19 financial or other relief to small businesses. The focus of the DSI is to continue strengthening existing interventions that provide technology and other support to small and medium enterprises including the technology stations programmes, industry development centres, technology localisation programme. These support programmes continue to prioritise critical priority beneficiary groups such as black people, youth, and women.

(2) Not applicable

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

(1)   His Excellency, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, on the occasion of announcing further economic and social measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on 21 April 2020, stated “…in addition to existing tax relief measures, we will also be introducing a 4-months holiday for companies’ skills development levy contributions...”.

Subsequently, National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service published the revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill with the following reference regarding the skills development levy “this is a suspension, not a deferral, as a result, employers will not become liable for these amounts after 31 August 2020”.

It is estimated that the 4-months' skills levy holiday (May, June, July and August 2020) will lead to a reduced income of R4.89 billion for the Sector Education and Training Authorities and R1.22 billion for the National Skills Fund. In total, this amount for the 2020/21 financial year is estimated to be R6.1 billion.

In response to the COVID-19 relief, the National Skills Fund has set aside a budget of
R1.5 billion for COVID-19 relief that focusses on continued funding of learners’ stipends during and after the lockdown to complete their learning programmes, as well as additional funding of R1 000 per learner for skills development providers to support additional COVID-19 measures such as hygiene consumables, masks, etc.

Six of the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) are collaborating in support of the interdepartmental economic stimulus project for small enterprises and cooperatives. This project will provide support for small enterprises and cooperatives covering the following scope:

  • Demand and need for the supply of essential goods and services during the Covid-19 lockdown period and beyond.
  • Manufacturing, warehousing and distribution of essential goods during the COVID-19 lockdown period and beyond.
  • Provide opportunities for Small Enterprises and Cooperatives in the Value Chain of Manufacturing / Procurement and Distribution of these goods and services. 
  • Capacity building for the Small Enterprises and Cooperatives in value chain management of manufacturing, procurement and distribution of these target goods and services.
  • Sustainable Funding Mechanism for the Small Enterprises and Cooperatives beyond the COVID -19 Lockdown Period.

The broad objective of this initiative is to support various entities involved in the supply of the essential needs across all provinces and districts as listed below:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and systems;
  • Sanitizers and sanitation and disinfectant systems;
  • Coffins and Funeral undertaker services;
  • Manufacturing of the essential goods: PPE and systems, sanitizers, sanitation and disinfectant systems as well as coffins; amongst others; and
  • Packaging, Warehousing and Transportation services.

This project will be supported using budgets allocated to support Small Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMMEs) and Cooperatives as captured in the participating SETA’s Annual Performance Plans for 2020/21 financial year. Each SETA will implement their response programs in line with their budget availability, reprioritization, KPAs and approval protocols.

The following are the SETAs participating in the interdepartmental economic stimulus project for small enterprises and cooperatives:

  1. Transport Education Training Authority (TETA);
  2. Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA);
  3. Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Services SETA);
  4. Fibre Processing and Manufacturing (FP & M SETA);
  5. Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA); and
  6. Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA).

(2)  The National Treasury published the Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill, 2020 on 1 May 2020, which deals with the Covid-19 relief.

27 April 2020 - NW526

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Nodada, Mr BB to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

What (a) number of students were enrolled at each institution of higher learning (i) for each qualification and (ii) in terms of the Classification of Educational Subject Materials for the 2019 academic year and (b) was the success rate in each case?

Reply:

The data for the 2019 academic year is currently not available. Preliminary (unaudited) student enrolment data and data required for calculating success rates is due from universities on 30 April 2020. Some universities have indicated that they may require an extension due to the lockdown period. The final submission date for data is 31 July 2020. A process of verifying this data will thereafter commence and the full set of audited data is normally available in October each year.  

27 April 2020 - NW550

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Schreiber, Dr LA to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

Given that the University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of Stellenbosch have made English their primary language of instruction, where are the approximate four million Afrikaans-speaking students, some of whom live in poor rural communities where very few learn to speak English, from the Northern and Western Cape supposed to study when not a single university in the Western Cape offers Afrikaans as a primary language of instruction?

Reply:

The total enrolment in public higher education institutions (universities) is just over one million students (1 085 568 students). There are 11 official spoken languages in South Africa. Universities need to ensure that language is not used as a barrier to access higher education. Language has been used to exclude the majority of South Africans from accessing some universities in the past. Government supports the initiatives taken by universities to remove barriers, linguistic or otherwise, to ensure that universities across the country remain truly national entities and are accessible to all South Africans. In the democratic South Africa, there are no exclusively IsiZulu, IsiXhosa or Afrikaans language universities, but rather, South African universities that uphold the values of the Constitution and are mindful of the legacies of the past, and play their part in creating a fully transformed united South Africa that is at peace with itself and the rest of the world. Students of all linguistic backgrounds can enter any university to study, and must be supported to succeed. Therefore, students whose home language is Afrikaans or any other South African language may choose to study at any university in the country. We certainly cannot go back to a past where some of universities were earmarked for exclusive cultural and linguistic communities. Moreover, while English is utilised as the main language of teaching and learning, there is no official South African language that is excluded by universities as all universities have multilingual language policies. Universities determine their language policies and plans in terms of the Higher Education Act (No. 101 of 1997 as amended). These policies and plans must be in line with the Higher Education Language Policy Framework determined by the Minister as well as the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

 

06 April 2020 - NW475

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Nodada, Mr BB to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)What number of students who were supported by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in each faculty of each institution of higher learning in the 2018 academic year (a) were enrolled for each (i) degree and/or (ii) other qualification, (b) wrote (i) exams and (ii) supplementary exams in each (aa) degree, (bb) qualification and (cc) subject, (c) passed and (d) failed each exam and/or supplementary exam that they wrote; (2) what were the marks obtained in each subject in respect of which an exam and/or supplementary exam was written by NSFAS supported students?

Reply:

The Department and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will not be able to provide the information in the requested format, as this level of detail is only available at an institutional level, and would take considerable time to collate. There would also be limits to the level of detail that could practically be provided per institution.

In terms of the data exchange between NSFAS and institutions, institutions provide information to NSFAS on whether students meet the criteria for continuation. The level of detail requested in terms of examinations, supplementary examinations, subjects passed and failed, marks, etc. is not provided to NSFAS.

The Department's Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) collects information on enrolments and completion of qualifications. This enables cohort reporting to be done according to a breakdown of qualification types, i.e. 3-year degrees, 3-year diplomas and 4-year degrees. Specific cohort information is also collected on the MBChB programme, engineering programmes, life and physical sciences and teacher education. In addition, data is broken down according to population group and gender. This is in line with the requirement to focus on specific Medium Term Strategic Framework targets. It is possible to provide an overview of the breakdown according to fields of study, i.e. Science, Engineering and Technology; Business and Commerce; Education and the Humanities.

NSFAS recipient data is also brought into the cohort study to show the overall performance of NSFAS recipients, and the study is also able to look at students enrolled for foundation programmes. The attached cohort study was based on data up to the 2017 academic year and provides the throughput and dropout rates of NSFAS funded students.

It is only possible to provide a global picture of throughput rates for particular cohorts. Data provided to HEMIS is at a high level according to qualification registrations and by CESM (Classification of Educational Subject Material), and not by faculty. The names of qualifications reported from different institutions are not consistent, as they are reported according to their accredited names