ATC170531: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training on its Oversight visit to the Post-School Education and Training Institutions in Kwazulu-Natal, dated 31 May 2017

Higher Education, Science and Innovation


The Portfolio Committee having conducted an oversight visit to the post-school education and training institutions in KwaZulu-Natal Province on 31 January – 03 February 2017 reports as follows.


1.1 Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training

Ms C September: Chairperson, Mr D Kekana (ANC), Ms J Kilian (ANC) Ms S Mchunu (ANC), Ms M Nkadimeng (ANC), Mr E Siwela (ANC), Mr A van Der Westhuizen (DA),  Ms H Bucwa (DA) (Alternate), Mr S Mbatha (EFF) and Prof N Khubisa (NFP).

1.2 Parliamentary support staff

Mr A Kabingesi: Committee Secretary, Ms M Modiba: Content Adviser, and Mr M L Ben: Committee Assistant and Ms S Govender: Parliamentary Communications Officer.


Section 42(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No 108 of 1996, bestows oversight function over the executive to the National Assembly (NA). Parliament’s Oversight and Accountability Model requires the institution to ensure that legislation passed by Parliament is being implemented. This function also includes monitoring the achievement of goals set by the Department and the government’s own programmes

The National Development Plan (NDP) envisages that by 2030, South Africans should have access to education and training of the highest quality. The education and training system should cater for different needs and produce highly skilled individuals and graduates of the post-school system should have adequate skills and knowledge to meet the current and future needs of the economy and society. The NDP further states that there should be increased participation and throughput rates in both the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College and the higher education sectors, an expansion of infrastructure, a strong relationship between the College sector and industry, College lecturers should spend time in the workplace updating their knowledge and skills, 30 000 artisans should be produced annually by 2030 and there should be an improved relationship between education institutions and employers.

In line with its oversight mandate, the Committee undertook an oversight visit to the post-school education and training institutions in KwaZulu-Natal Province, namely: Coastal KZN Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College; Manufacturing Engineering and other Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority/Southern African Shipyards, the University of Zululand; the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Agriculture Sector Education and Training Authority/Citrus Academy.

The objectives of the oversight visit were:

  • To assess and monitor how the collaborations between the SETAs and industry contributed to the production of skills to support the economic sectors identified in the Presidential Nine Point Plan; in particular, agriculture and rural development, oceans economy, mining and mineral beneficiation to grow the economy and to create jobs;
  • To assess partnerships between the SETAs, employers and education and training institutions in increasing training, work-integrated learning (WIL), lecturer work-based exposure, internships, and broadening of access to artisan training, including Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL), learnerships and apprenticeship opportunities;
  • To assess progress made in the implementation of the National Skills Accord commitments by the Social Partners;
  • To assess progress made in working towards the achievement of the targets as set out in the National Development Plan (NDP) and Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014 – 2019, with regard to participation and throughput rates, governance and management, expansion of infrastructure at universities, partnerships between TVET Colleges and the SETAs; and
  • To engage with universities, TVET Colleges and SETAs on their governance and management capacity; financial management; performance matters relating to human resources and labour relations; infrastructure rollout; programme offerings; student housing, issuance of certificates and the rollout of the new student-centred model.




3.1 Coastal TVET College

The meeting was convened at the Central Administration Office at Kwa-Makhutha.

3.1.1 Labour Unions: South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU)

Collective agreements: The Unions said that there were still outstanding issues with regard to migration of TVET Colleges to the Department of Higher Education and Training. Two collective agreements on parity of salaries between lecturers appointed by the College Councils and those appointed by the Public Service under the Department of Higher Education and Training and the collective agreement to convert temporary and contract lecturers who served in the Colleges for more than 12 months to permanent positions, were inadequately implemented across the sector.

The unions indicated that the Department was still using policy frameworks of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to govern TVET Colleges, in particular the funding norms and standards. The Unions noted that they have organisational rights in the TVET sector and the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) was the bargaining council for the sector under the Further Education and Training Colleges Bargaining Unit (FETCBU). Lecturers were represented under the FETCBU and the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council (GEPSSGC) represented non-lecturing staff. The Unions proposed that the TVET College sector should have its own bargaining council, because not all issues within the sector were adequately addressed within the ELRC. They also argued that there should be salary benchmarking of the TVET College sector with other Colleges like agriculture and nursing.

Funding for the TVET sector and capping of enrolments: The unions said that the sector was not adequately funded and argued that government had paid more attention to the University sector because of #fees-must-fall protests. They were of the opinion that potential funding for the sector has been redirected to cover the funding shortfall within the university education sector to quell the protests, while the TVET sector continued to experience inadequate funding. The Department sent a directive to the Colleges to maintain the 2016 enrolment targets and not according to the allocated budget. The directive created confusion at the College because the College management was compelled to cut enrolment by 4000 in accordance with the budget allocation with the result that there was an over-supply of lecturers and support staff which placed their jobs at risk. The Unions felt that the capping of enrolment was an injustice since it denied the students the right to access education and training and to improve their lives.

The unions engaged with the College management to save some of the jobs of temporary and contract lecturers. They demanded that there should be no further job cuts at the College. They also demanded that all workers in the business units of the Colleges be migrated to the employ of the Department.

TVET College Curriculum and placements of students: The unions were concerned that the qualification structure of the NC(V) did not provide students with adequate time to do practicals. When the NC(V) curriculum was conceptualised, its original qualification structure was to have 70 percent of the time dedicated for practicals and 30 percent for classroom theory. However, this was not implemented. There was a challenge with student placements since the curriculum was not aligned to the industry needs.

The relationship between unions and management: The unions said that they had submitted a memorandum of grievances of the workers to management. They were concerned about the College’s utilisation of external lawyers to deal with the internal disciplinary hearings of staff. The forensic audit report findings and recommendations were not shared with the Unions, and they were not aware if there was any progress made.

3.1.2 Student Representative Council (SRC)

Student intake: The SRC said that the College implemented the directive by the Department to enrol students according to the budget provision. This meant that the 2016 enrolment target of 14 500 would be reduced to 9 800 for the 2017 academic year to accommodate the budget cut. On 30 January 2017, the College received another directive from the Director-General of the Department stating that the College should enrol according to its 2016 target of 14 500 students. The SRC demanded that the College maintains the 2016 enrolment.

Textbooks: Teaching and learning in 2016 was negatively affected by the delays in procurement and distribution of textbooks and other teaching and learning materials. The SRC said that students were negatively affected, and they were unsure if there would be an improvement in the 2017 academic year.

Outstanding National Certificate Vocational NC(V) certificates and pending results: It was reported that the SRC received complaints from students who did not receive their certificates for the NC(V) Level 3; Office Administration programme. The certificates were outstanding from 2015, and this affected students negatively, since they could not look for employment. Students felt that the non-issuance of certificates compromised their future and they also become demoralised. Students were also affected by the delay in the release of the results and this has been a challenge over the years. This had impacted on student progression and the funding applications for NSFAS bursaries. Students could not be confirmed for eligibility of NSFAS bursaries, owing to the outstanding documents. Students also reported that some lecturers failed to submit student Internal Continuous Assessment (ICASS) marks, and the affected students could not qualify for exam admission and were forced to repeat the subjects. There was no action taken against the lecturers who were responsible for the non-submission of ICASS marks.

Safety and security on College-Campuses: The SRC acknowledged the efforts by the College to improve the safety and security of students at all the campuses by appointing a security company to provide security services at all the campuses. However, the SRC stated that there were still areas of concern, because anyone could access the College campuses without identification, and they requested the College Management to look into the matter.

College infrastructure: Infrastructure and equipment (agricultural material, electrical components, hospitality equipment, and computers) used by students for their practicals was outdated. Students demanded the provision of modern equipment and refurbishment of infrastructure. 

NSFAS late payments: The delays in payments of NSFAS allowances (travel and accommodation) had been a problem at the College over the years. The main question was why there were such delays when NSFAS made upfront payment to all the Colleges in January each year. This affected compliance with the 80 percent attendance policy, since students did not have money for transport. They said that payments of allowances were made at the end of the year and at that time they served no purpose. It was alleged that there were students who were still owed their 2016 allowances.

80 percent attendance policy: The SRC raised a concern with regard to the 80 percent attendance policy. They argued that they were penalised for not meeting the exam admission requirement when transport allowance was not allocated on time. They noted that the policy was well intended, but without transport allowances students would not be able to adhere to the policy since they come from poor families.

Outdated curriculum and irrelevant curriculum: The SRC said that the College sector offered an outdated and irrelevant curriculum, which did not help in addressing the skills needs of the local and regional economy. They noted that Durban had a big harbour, but none of the College campuses offered programmes aligned to the relevant sectors, such as the maritime, transport and logistics and supply chain management, which were in high demand in the KZN region. Students argued that they were not receiving adequate time for practicals, instead 30 percent of the tuition time was allocated for practicals and 70 percent for theory.

Student housing: The College had more than 780 beds in three campuses, and management demanded upfront residence fees of R3000 from students who wanted to be accommodated at the residences. Poor students were not able to afford the upfront residence fees. This led to low occupancy rate of the residences. Only 150 students were accommodated in 2016, while the majority of students were struggling without accommodation. The SRC reported that the concerns were raised with Management and Council so as to find an amicable solution.

Relationship between SRC and Management: It was noted that the College Management had a permanent interdict against the SRC. There was a poor relationship between the SRC and Management because Management did not want to meet with the SRC to discuss student issues.

3.1.3 College Management

Governance: The College had a complete and functional Council. The Department conducted an induction of Council and its sub-committees were established, and all the scheduled mandatory meetings were held. The College operated without the Deputy-Principals until December 2016. Senior management was operational, and also established an Academic Board. The Department has since filled the vacant positions of the Deputy-Principals.

Financial Management: The Principal informed the Committee that the funding shortfall for the TVET College sector started in 2009 when the recapitalisation equivalence value was not adjusted. All the Colleges started incurring budget deficit and the Colleges in KwaZulu-Natal Province were severely affected by the funding shortfall. Due to budget constraints, most of the Colleges used their reserves to complement the shortfall and the reserves were depleted over the years. The budget provision for 9 870 students for 2017 was R328.2 million, but there was a total of 1 290 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) that were not funded, valued at R62.4 million

Transformation Plan: The College offered programmes that were in high demand, for example, engineering, hospitality studies and artisan development. Campuses were specialising in programmes to enhance growth in each programme-offering to respond to industry needs. The College had more female students than male students. In 2016, female students constituted 68.5 percent in the NC(V) programmes, and 68.8 percent of the students were under the age of 18 years, while 28.6 percent were between 18 – 24 years old. In the Report 191 programme, female students constituted 48 percent, while male students constituted 52 percent. 56 percent of Engineering students were females in the NC(V), while 74 percent females took Primary Agriculture in 2016. In Report 191, 39 percent females took engineering studies in 2016.

The College achieved an equity ratio of 48 percent women employees, aiming to achieve at least 50 percent women. All the Collective Agreements and policies were communicated to employees through workshops by Human Resource.

Teaching and learning: All the College Campuses had plans to improve the results and the Curriculum Unit of the College had established an intervention team that assisted with the development of teaching materials and on-the-job training of lecturers. The College had 9 870 students and required 296 lecturers. However, the Colleges had an excess of 76 lecturers. The College had workshops and simulation rooms for the programmes offered. It also had a Tooling Centre with the machinery of the highest standard for tool making.

In terms of student academic performance, the NC(V) overall pass rate for November 2016 examinations was 69 percent. The overall pass rate of NC(V) Level 2 was 59 percent, Level 3 was 79 percent and Level 4 was 76 percent. The overall pass rate of Report 191 semester 2 Business Studies was 80 percent and trimester 3 Engineering Studies was 64 percent. The Principal noted that there were certificates that were still outstanding.  

Infrastructure roll-out: The College sector did not receive a budget allocation for infrastructure development from government as universities received. As a result, the College did not have funds to address the maintenance backlog of its existing infrastructure as well as building new infrastructure. The Principal noted that the teaching and learning facilities, water and sanitation systems and student residence required upgrading and expansion. It was also reported that a report from qualified engineers had highlighted that sprawling had been noted at various campuses and if not attended to, could cause collapse of some parts of the buildings at different campuses. 

Student funding: The College was waiting for NSFAS to send a list of qualifying students for financial assistance for 2017. The returning students had been provisionally funded (290). Students had up to the 14 February 2017 to apply for NSFAS funding. NSFAS was waiting for the results from the DHET to fund the eligible students for financial assistance. The students with pending results were not funded by the NSFAS.

Student housing: The College had three campuses with student housing. There were residence blocks that were not utilised due to maintenance challenges. The number of students accommodated at the residences was 137 (20 at Umbumbulu and 117 Appelsbosch). The registration process was underway and students who applied would be accommodated.

Partnership with industry: The College had a placement unit in place to assist students with work placements. The College had signed memoranda of understanding with private companies, local government, provincial departments, and SETAs to source placement opportunities and funding for the provision of occupational skills programmes. The College also played a role in artisan development through its accredited trade test centres and it was accredited by the SETAs to offer skills development programmes.

3.1.4 Committee Observations 

  • The National Development Plan (NDP) advocates for the building of strong relationships between the TVET Colleges and industry. The Committee commended the College’s partnerships with industry, provincial government departments, local government and SETAs to provide work-integrated learning, apprenticeship and internship opportunities for the College students. The Committee also commended the College for establishing a placement unit to facilitate work placements.
  • The College was commended for establishing occupational skills centres, such as the Tooling Centre of Excellence, offering apprenticeship in tooling, jig and die making as well as the accredited trade test centre to accelerate artisan development and Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning.
  • The Committee noted with concern the outstanding issues with the migration of TVET Colleges, in particular, the inadequate implementation of the collective agreements to convert temporary and contract lecturers who served in the Colleges for more than 12 months into permanent lecturers, and to have parity of conditions of service between lecturers employed by the College Council and those employed by the Public Service (DHET).
  • The confusion created by the Department’s directive to Colleges to enroll according to budget allocation or maintain the 2016 enrolment was noted with concern. The budget cuts for the TVET College sector had the potential of creating instability that would cripple the sector.
  • The alleged financial mismanagement at the College (as alleged by the Unions) was noted as a serious concern.
  • The Committee noted the concern raised by the College stakeholders on the implications of the budget cuts in the lives of students and staff who were to lose their jobs.
  • The request by the Unions to have a dedicated Bargaining Council for the TVET Sector and the development of policy frameworks to guide the TVET sector was noted.
  • The Committee noted that although the College was out of administration, there were still areas of concern, which needed attention.
  • The Committee was seriously concerned that some lecturers within the College had failed to submit ICASS marks, which resulted in students not meeting examination admission requirements to write the exams. Equally concerning was that the lecturers were not held accountable for their irresponsible action.
  • The delays by the College in the purchasing of textbooks impacted negatively on the student performance.
  • The NC(V) curriculum structure did not offer students ample time to undertake practicals, instead 70 percent was dedicated to classroom tuition and only 30 percent for practicals. The outdated curriculum also impacted on student placement in the workplaces and their employability.
  • The Committee was concerned that the College management did not provide a platform for engagement with stakeholders.
  • The College had inadequate infrastructure and outdated material and equipment for agriculture, electrical components, hospitality equipment, and outdated computers.
  • The occupancy rate at the College’s residences was almost 8 percent of its entire student population, and the College management demanded upfront residence fees from NSFAS funded students.
  • The Committee was concerned that the SRC was not afforded a space to executive its legislative mandate of representing student interests at the College and there was an alleged permanent interdict against the SRC.
  • The Department indicated that the College received a recognition award from the Oxford University for its good governance.

3.2 Manufacturing, Engineering and Other Related Services SETA (MERSETA) and Southern African Shipyards – Ship Building Apprenticeship Partnership

The meeting was convened at the Southern African Shipyards.

3.2.1 Experiences of learners who were in learnership and apprenticeship programmes

The learners who interacted with the Committee were mostly apprentices in boilermaking, welding, mechanical fitting, fitting and turning and electrical engineering. There were also learners who were in the learnerships for mechanical fitting and electrical, and boilermaking internship. The learners indicated that the training programmes offered by SA Shipyards in partnership with the MERSETA and other funders was a very good programme, which had changed their lives. Most of the learners enrolled in apprenticeship and learnership were graduates from the TVET Colleges who passed their NATED qualifications in engineering related fields.

The duration of the apprenticeship for the boilermakers and welders was over a period of four years. The apprenticeship consisted of various modules and phases where learners were trained basics up to high level skills for boilermakers. The learners indicated that the apprenticeship was mostly practical, which helped them to enhance their skills. 80 percent of the training was undertaken in the vessels to equip learners with the requisite skills of becoming qualified boilermakers.

The learners indicated that the SA Shipyards offered them with opportunities for employment once they completed their apprenticeship. They also commended the stipend they received from the company, and that it also assisted them to support their families. The learners indicated that there were opportunities in the ship building and ship repair industry and the apprenticeship and learnerships offered by SA Shipyards had opened the doors for them to grow in the maritime sector.

3.2.2 Site visit to Boilermaking and Shipbuilding workshops

The SA Shipyards Boilermaking Workshops were the hub of the apprenticeship for the boilermakers and welders. The workshop was equipped with all the necessary equipment required for ship building and repairs. The workshop was also where the learners spent 80 percent of their time undertaking practical lessons. The training programme was rolled out in line with the MERSETA guidelines for training, and learners received MERSETA accredited certificates once they become qualified boilermakers or welders.

The average time it took to build a normal tug boat was nine months. The SA Shipyards was currently involved in a R1.4 billion project to build the tug boats, which would be based at the main ports of South Africa. The boat building project involved a lot of different trades and the company had the necessary staff required to build and repair the boats at the workshops. However, the engines which were used in the boats were imported from Germany.


In his presentation, the Chief Executive Officer of the MERSETA, Dr R Patel said that artisan training was a niche for the MERSETA, because artisans changed the economy of the country. The MERSETA had over 4 500 levy paying companies within its five sub-sectors, namely: metal and engineering, auto manufacturing, motor retail and component manufacturing, tyre manufacturing and plastics industries. The MERSETA developed the sector skills plan (SSP) and signed the service level agreement with the Department. MERSETA had over-achieved on its targets on learners entered in the artisan programmes and bursaries because of partnerships with companies, where they put up 50/50 funding to enrol more learners. There was a high pass rate of female learners in the programmes. It was noted that 41 percent of employees in the sector were under the age of 35, which showed there was a transformation in the sector. In terms of education profile, 76 percent of the employees had TVET band qualifications.


In KwaZulu-Natal Province, the MERSETA had entered into a partnership with the Premier’s Office to develop artisan skills in the rural areas. The MERSETA donated the state of the art skills centre to the Umfolozi TVET College to train 30 qualified NC(V) learners to start enterprises, specifically cooperatives. This was a pilot project, which would be rolled out to other Colleges, if Umfolozi TVET College became a success. It was noted that to transform the industry, there was a need to train more black female managers, and MERSETA invested funding in training of 25 black female managers at entry level within the MERSETA companies.


The MERSETA had partnered with six TVET Colleges in KZN, namely: Umfolozi, Majuba, Elangeni, Coastal, Esayidi and Ethekwini for lecturer development and student placement. MERSETA was supporting 200 TVET College NC(V) Level 4 learners in KZN to obtain the trade test. The SETA also supported a large number of learners who were placed in various companies for work-integrated learning, learnerships, internships and apprenticeship as well as lectures for workplace exposure. MERSETA developed a skills intervention programme with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to train Matriculants on science and technology and they were trained for 18 months to become qualified artisans.


The MERSETA had partnerships with the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) to place 155 students who required work-integrated learning to complete their qualifications. There were also 15 PhD students and Masters’ students between the two universities who were supported to do their studies in Marine Engineering Related Studies and Green Skills Alternative Energy. The MERSETA was appointed to develop the Blue Economy: Marine Engineering Qualifications, namely, Occupational Certificate: Boat Builder and Repair (Boat Builder) and Occupational Certificate: Boat Builder and Repairer (Ship Builder). The MERSETA funded the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) an amount of R30 million to develop support processes for Operation Phakisa’s Marine Engineering and Blue Economy. It also funded research and related programmes aligned to Operation Phakisa, and worked with TVET Colleges to develop possible routes into marine programmes offered at NMMU.


3.2.4 Southern African Shipyards

SA Shipyards was the largest shipyard in Southern Africa, home to the largest ship ever built in the continent with 70 percent black industrialists who were employees of the company. The company had been around since the 1960s. 60 percent of the company was black owned. The company had three main pillars, namely: Ship building, Ship and Naval Maintenance and Oil and Gas Services. The company believed that the best part of empowerment was to give a person a job so that they could put food on the table.

 The country did not have enough artisans to enhance its competitiveness, especially in the ship building industry. Ship building contributed to the training of artisans, and when the ships came to the South African harbours they could be maintained. The partnership with the MERSETA enabled the SA Shipyards to train world-class artisans and technicians at the mega-training facility of the SA Shipyard. The mega training facility was also used to train artisans, technicians and engineers for other sectors like Ethekwini Marine Industry, the Premier’s Office, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and South African Petroleum Refineries (SAPREF)-SASOL.

The company also provided internships in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in fields such as finance, human resource, marketing and others. There was in-service training, a compulsory 12 – 18 months training mainly for students from Universities of Technology (UOTs) who required workplace experience to complete their qualifications.

3.2.5 Committee observations

  • The Committee noted that the partnerships between the MERSETA and SA Shipyards was one of the pockets of excellence in the production of skills to support the growth of the oceans economy.
  • The MERSETA and SA Shipyards partnership was commended for providing life changing opportunities for unemployed youths, particularly those from rural and disadvantaged areas.
  • The MERSETA had partnered with six TVET Colleges in KZN to provide lecturer development and work exposure. This was meant to improve the role and performance of TVET Colleges in providing quality vocational education and training. The support of 200 TVET College NC(V) Level 4 learners to obtain trade test was commendable, including placement opportunities for TVET College students.
  • The MERSETA’s partnership with the universities to support masters and doctoral students to study marine related programmes, including development of marine engineering programmes to respond to the skills need of the marine economy was commendable.  
  • The Committee was concerned that most of the learners in the skills intervention programmes at the SA Shipyards were from the eThekwini Metro.
  • The Committee was concerned about the intake and exit strategy for students in the training programmes within the MERSETA and SA Shipyards. The SA Shipyards confirmed that it employed most of the apprentices upon completion of the apprenticeship. The salaries of the apprentices were determined by the bargaining council unit.
  • The company had a 100 percent pass rate of learners in all the trades it offered to the apprenticeship.
  • The training of artisans was informed by the Sector Skills Plans of the MERSETA sector as well as the NDP targets.


3.3 The University of Zululand

The meeting was held at Hilton Hotel in Durban.

3.3.1 Labour Union (NEHAWU)

The union said that the University was renowned for being the alma mater to numerous black/African South African government officials. However, its track record had been relegated to history, due to the state of academic enterprise, human resource management, financial mismanagement, maladministration in the office of the Registrar, dysfunctional Council and standoff between the Union and the University Management.

Academic enterprise: It was reported that in 2013, the academic programme in the Faculty of Education was interfered with, which threatened its accreditation status. Other programmes in the Faculty of Arts; Bachelor of Psychology and Bachelor of Social Work lost accreditation. Some modules that were in demand were no longer offered, for example, music and industrial Psychology. Lecturers who taught these modules were employed and drawing salaries without providing services to the Institution.  

Financial management: NEHAWU raised concerns about the splurging on houses for Executives by the management, payment of a performance bonus of about R480 000 for the Acting Rector in 2015, payment of a golden handshake to a number of Executives and senior management to ensure they leave the institution, buying out of top management who performed, spending an exorbitant amount on unnecessary legal matters, amongst others.

Human Resource Management: The union alleged that the Institution’s Human Resource Department had been dismissing workers at a prolific rate. A number of staff members and top management received financial settlements, while they had lost their disciplinary cases, the recruitment practices at the Institution defied convention, due to a dysfunctional Human Resource Management Department. There was an anomaly between the academic salary structures and those of administrative staff, and academic vacancies were not filled, while priority was given to the filling of administrative vacancies. Staff members were allegedly charged on unfounded bases.

Maladministration in the office of the Registrar: NEHAWU was concerned about the degrees for sale scandal that was widely reported in the media. There was uncertainty about the outcomes of the investigation. The newly elected Institutional Forum (IF) was not properly constituted. It was alleged that some students have graduated or were still to graduate without proper matric statement or certificates.

Dysfunctional Council: It was reported that the Council’s attitude was unbecoming and it failed to intervene in problems pertaining to employees. There was a lack of transparency in the appointment of the Rector and the Council failed to act when they had heard the Acting Vice-Chancellor misappropriated R1.7 million. Council had failed to approve the Organogram for some Departments. It was alleged that this was in their own interest in order to benefit through external companies. Council failed to intervene in the three months labour strike, while students had no education and meals for two weeks. It was alleged that Council no longer quorate in terms of the Institutional Statute.

Relationship between the union and management: There were no consultations between the management and the union, and their membership mailing facility had been blocked. The union was struggling to communicate with its members. They indicated that management ordered its members to resign from the union so that they could access the University precincts during the labour strike. Management unilaterally implemented the final offer to the union. The union objected to the presentation of the Institutional Forum because it was not properly constituted. 

Desired intervention: The union was of the opinion that the situation at the University had deteriorated to such an extent that it necessitated the appointment of an Independent Assessor as stipulated in the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No.101 of 1997). They requested the Committee to petition the Minister to appoint an Independent Assessor at the University.

3.3.2 Student Representative Council (SRC)

SRC Administrator: The Committee was informed that in September 2016, the University held SRC elections and management declared it free and fair. However, the election results were challenged and the University was interdicted and restrained from formally constituting the newly elected members of the SRC. Management appointed an SRC Administrator with full powers of the SRC. The SRC Administrator appointed the sub-committees.

SRC Elect: The SRC Elect informed the Committee that a group of disgruntled students who did not win the elections went to court to challenge the outcomes of the elections. The court issued an order to interdict the University management from inaugurating the SRC-Elect, while it was making a determination. The SRC-Elect’s main concern was that as much as they did not oppose the appointment of the SRC Administrator in principle; they challenged the appointment by Management and Council of a person who interdicted the inauguration of the SRC-Elect, when management declared the process free and fair.

The Committee: The Committee discussed the matter of having two groups of SRCs in a meeting. Whilst a consideration was given that the Committee would receive the presentations from both groups, it later appeared impossible as they both challenged the legitimacy of the other. Due to improper behaviour by both the SRC-Elect and the SRC Administrator of disrespecting the rules of engagement, the Committee resolved to withdraw the offer of allowing them to make oral presentations and requested to receive only the hard copies of the presentation from them. The Committee resolved to seek a legal opinion on the matter.

Institutional Forum (IF): Based on the opposition by NEHAWU of not recognizing the IF since it was not properly constituted, the Committee resolved not to take a presentation from the IF.

3.3.3 University Council and management The Portfolio Committee Chairperson on the removal of the SRC members at the hotel

  • The Chairperson expressed a concern about the manner in which the University management handled the issue of the presence of the SRC-Elect at the hotel. The University Management called the police to remove the SRC Elect from the hotel precincts without informing the Committee. The Committee requested Council and Management to explain.
  • The Vice-Chancellor informed the Committee that there was a miscommunication between her Office and the hotel management. The University was informed that there would be people coming with a bus to disrupt the meeting and this was communicated to the hotel. The University submitted to the hotel management the names of those who were invited to attend the Committee meeting.
  • The Council Chairperson apologized on behalf of management and Council for the regrettable incident. University Council

The presentation was made by Mr Gamede, Chairperson of Council who said the following:  When the term of the Administrator ended, there were still some lingering issues that were not resolved. The first meeting of the newly inaugurated Council was convened. However, NEHAWU disrupted the meeting with submission of a memorandum of grievances. The Council Chairperson indicated that the Department had allocated funding for infrastructure roll-out. The new Council found that there were some executive members and staff who were implicated in the mismanagement of the infrastructure funds, and the matter was in court for three years. Council investigated and found that R11.5 million was fraudulently transferred to an IT company, and then instituted disciplinary hearings against those implicated. These developments created serious discontent within the University, in particular NEHAWU, because the charged staff were its members. Since then, NEHAWU embarked on a smear campaign to discredit Council by mobilising students and staff against Management and Council.

The University had vacant posts at senior management level. Some of the executives appointed did not perform to the required standards and were dismissed. Council had to address the issue of cooperatives that were established at the University. The University experienced industrial action by NEHAWU members who demanded salary increases of 40 percent to be backdated from 2001. The then leader of NEHAWU, Mr Jamile fraudulently passed students who failed. Through Senate processes, the marks were reversed and disciplinary processes were instituted against Mr Jamile, and he was subsequently dismissed. He was also responsible for media reports which claimed there was a sale of degrees at the University.

The Council Chairperson also indicated that the Department did not welcome the Council’s decision to discipline implicated employees, and was also of the opinion that the Department was colluding with some staff members to destabilise the University. He also raised a concern about the distorted reports, which were submitted to the Council on Higher Education (CHE) by the Department. He said that those reports were neither signed by Council nor University management.

It was noted that the University was financially stable and the academic enterprise was improving, despite all the challenges experienced. The University received a clean audit for its annual financial statements. All the previous years’ audit queries were addressed by Management. Students wrote their main examinations as well as supplementary examinations on time, despite the #Fees-must-fall protests. The registration process for 2017 commenced with no disruptions.

He stressed that the University was neither in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nor in the hospital. He said that there were many people who wished to see the University back in ICU. He indicated that student politics at the University had more dynamics which were also affected by outside influences. It was a norm at the University that when there are conflicts between students, they approach the courts, and court processes are lengthy. Council was committed to improve the relations with the stakeholders. University Management

The presentation was made by Prof X Mtose, the University Vice-Chancellor/Principal. The presentation highlighted the following:

Governance and management: The Vice-Chancellor (VC) said that the University had a complete and functional Council. There were few resignations of the Ministerial appointees and the positions were filled. The Human Resource Committee of Council managed to make appointments for executive positions. When she took over the office as a Vice-Chancellor, the University did not have a strategic plan. She facilitated a process of developing a five year strategic plan and financial policies, which were subsequently approved by Council. In 2015, Council agreed that all executives who were appointed by the University should be allocated houses in a safer place outside of the University precincts. 

Standoff between labour and management: The VC said that her life was threatened by some members of NEHAWU, because she implemented the recommendations of the forensic audit reports, which recommended disciplinary hearings of some staff members. One staff member who was also NEHAWU member, had a meeting with a student, during which he indicated to the student that they should destabilise the University to ensure that: the Vice-Chancellor was suspended; the University was placed under administration and the Council was dissolved. All this information was recorded and the matter was taken to court. She said that everything that was happening at the University unfolded according to the recording. There was work underway to resolve the standoff between Labour and Management. Evidence would be submitted to the Committee to clarify the allegations.

Cooperatives: The VC said that there were divisions within NEHAWU regarding cooperatives. Some members of NEHAWU were benefiting from cooperatives and they did support insourcing of the services. Management presented an insourcing model to Council, and some of the proposals were approved. The processes of insourcing the services were underway.

Student Governance: The VC informed the Committee that the University held SRC elections and the SRC-Elect won the elections. However, a group of disgruntled students took the matter to court and management was interdicted against inaugurating the SRC-Elect. Management presented the case to Council, which advised that a legal opinion be obtained. The legal opinion advised against opposing the interdict because there were lots of gaps identified. Based on the legal opinion, Council advised management not to oppose the interdict. The University outsourced SRC-Elections because of the nature of violence and to avoid allegations of bias against certain student political organisations. The University had to abide by the interdict. The appointment of the SRC-Administrator was provided for in the SRC Constitution, which was reviewed in 2015, to ensure that there was an alternative when there were difficulties within the election processes. The SRC Constitution provided for Council to appoint an SRC-Administrator. The matter was presented to Council, and it evoked a section in the SRC Constitution to appoint the SRC-Administrator. The SRC-Elect was opposing the interdict and the matter will be heard in court in April 2017.

The University had three SRCs: former SRC, SRC-Elect and the SRC-Administrator. The main source of conflict within the student governance was that the SRCs were beneficiaries of new student enrolment because they were used to be involved in registration by selecting students and presenting the list of prospective students to be registered.

Institutional Forum (IF): The VC said that the term of office of the IF ended in September 2016. The nominations for the IF were called and all stakeholders except NEHAWU responded. Despite several attempts to get NEHAWU to submit names of its two representatives, this had not been honoured. A meeting to formally constitute the IF would take place in February 2017.

2017 registration: The VC said that the University moved from manual registration to web-based registration. The process took a minimum of five minutes to complete. However, there were challenges of irregularities in the admission of students. The admission requirements were tampered with, to allow students with 11 points to qualify, and 25 students were fraudulently awarded marks.

National Student Financial Aid Scheme Applications (NSFAS): The VC said that UniZulu was situated in the rural areas and served most learners from deep rural areas, who did not have access to technology. The University opened a computer lab and provided IT technicians to assist students to complete the applications. The University experienced walk-ins who had not applied. The matter was discussed with NSFAS and there was a meeting arranged between the VC and NSFAS in Cape Town. The institution applied a top-slicing to assist many students who were financially needy. However, the policy contributed to the high student debt. The Historic Debt Funding had reduced the debt significantly, but there were still many students who did not come forward to apply for funding. Committee Observations

  • An ongoing standoff between the University management and union as well as the alleged abuse of power by the management was concerning.
  • There had been little progress in the affairs of the University since its last meeting with the Committee in September 2016, as well as the mediation process by the stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal Province as was observed by the Speaker of the KZN Legislature.
  • The Committee was concerned that although the Council argued that the institution was financially stable, its core business, teaching and learning, research and community engagement was negatively affected. This was evidenced by a decline in pass rates at both undergraduate and post-graduate level; the SRC governance was in disarray; lecturers altered student marks and admission requirements tampered with to allow students who did not meet the requirements to be admitted.
  • The Committee was concerned that the issues identified by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) Institutional Audit Report in 2010 and the Independent Assessor in 2011 were ongoing, and the recommendations were not fully implemented.
  • The Committee noted that the University Council was not discharging its fiduciary responsibilities adequately. The refusal to engage with the union as alleged was concerning.
  • The Committee was concerned about the University management’s threats towards employees’ rights to become union members. The unions alleged that the University management forced them to resign from the union in order to have access to the University precincts during the labour protests.
  • The Committee expressed its concern about the alleged exorbitant spending on the purchasing of houses for University senior executives and hiring of security companies during the labour strike.
  • The Committee noted that the appointment of an SRC Administrator who was part of interdicting the University against inaugurating the SRC-Elect was concerning.


3.4 Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC) Pty Ltd Partnership

The meeting was convened at Pavilion Hotel and Conference Centre, in Durban.

3.4.1 Learners who benefitted from the skills development partnership

The students who shared their experiences with regard to the training programmes offered in partnership between the MQA and the ZAC were already qualified learners and were working at the mine. One learner informed the Committee that she joined the mine in 2007 as Human Resource Payroll Officer. In 2015 she applied for a Learner Miner training programme, which was a 12 months training course offered at the Colliery Training Centre in Witbank. After completing training, the learner did a one year back at the mine to get work experience. She successfully completed a board exam and qualified as a miner and was managing her own section within the mine. She was grateful for the opportunity given by the MQA and ZAC for up-skilling of employees.

3.4.2 Zululand Anthracite Colliery Pty Ltd

The mine was based at the Mahlabathini District and it produced anthracite coal, which was exported to countries abroad. The beneficiaries were taken from the nearby communities. Gaps and skills demands were determined to send staff for training in Witbank and the practical training was conducted at the mine. Once learners qualified, they signed a year contract and were also given the opportunity to be employed within the mine. The training programme was conducted within a three year cycle.

3.4.3 MQA

The MQA positions of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Operations Officer (COO) and the Chief Risk Monitoring and Evaluation Officer were vacant. The processes were underway to fill the positions. The Zululand Anthracite Colliery had partnered with the MQA since 2013 and offered a number of skills development interventions to respond to the skills needs in the mining sector. The MQA had a beneficiation project across the country, but not specifically in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. The commitments of the MQA were guided by the objectives of the Mining Charter.

Governance and management: The MQA had a functional board with its executive sub-committees. The MQA had a regional presence in six provinces, and the offices were situated mainly in the TVET Colleges. The priority areas of the MQA were: (1) supporting the transformation of the sector through skills development; (2) continuing core mining skills to be developed through learning interventions; (3) to monitor and develop the skills required for minerals beneficiation, and (4) to continue to improve health and safety standards.

Skills development interventions: The MQA supported University lecturers from disadvantaged background. In 2015/16, 30 lecturers were supported. Bursaries were offered to 1 310 students in higher education studying towards mining and mineral sector related studies, and 700 students were funded in 2016/17. The MQA also supported work integrated learning and internships for students and University graduates. In 2015/16, the MQA spent an amount of R68 million to support learnership programmes for the mining and minerals sector. For the 2015/16 financial year, 4 694 Occupational Health and Safety Representatives entered the learning programme and 4 519 completed learning programme. The programme was funded to the tune of R14 million.

In addition, the MQA funded 1 235 learners who entered artisan development; 414 learners who completed Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning for 2015/16 and 226 learners completed in 2016/17. Further support had been provided to the TVET College sector. From this intervention, 526 NC(V) learners were placed in companies to become qualified artisans, 60 learners completed their studies, 20 lecturers had been trained and placed in the workplace for practical work exposure.

The MQA was also involved in the Mine Community and Rentrenchees Support through its stakeholder engagement projects. This was meant to support communities with training in entrepreneurship skills to create income generating ability to revive the communities after the closure of mines. The MQA also supported Adult Education and Training (AET) within the mining and mineral sector. For the 2015/16 financial year, 4 500 learners were entered into the AET programme, and 2 364 completed, 1 954 learners entered the programme in 2016/17 and 1 123 completed. The total budget for the MQA for 2015/16 amounted to R1.1 billion.

Beneficiation: The MQA noted that it did not have beneficiation projects in the KZN Province. However, it had in other provinces, for example, the Bera Diamond Academy and Kimberly International Diamond and Jewellery Academy both in the Northern Cape and implementing diamond learnerships for learners in the Northern Cape, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) Limpopo Jewellery Incubator in Limpopo, Intsika Skills Beneficiation and Imfundiso Skills Development both in Gauteng and implementing the Jewellery Manufacturing learnerships. The SETA was waiting for the Department of Mineral Resources’ Beneficiation Action Plan to implement the Beneficiation Strategy. However, the SETA was continuing with beneficiation projects.

3.4.4 Committee observations

  • The Committee was concerned about the skills needs analysis within the communities around the ZAC.
  • The lack of skills intervention to promote mining beneficiation in the KZN Province was concerning.
  • The Committee was concerned about the regression of the MQA in the audit outcomes for 2015/16. The MQA did not implement the previous financial year Action Plan to address the audit findings. The MQA reported that an Action Plan was developed and submitted to the Minister.
  • The Committee commended the ZAC for offering employment opportunities to the learners upon completion of the programme.
  • The Committee noted that the mining sector was critical for economic growth and urged the MQA to strive towards meeting its predetermined objectives.
  • The demand for the skills intervention exceeded the available resources at the MQA.
  • The MQA struggled with an adequate strategy to respond to the needs of beneficiation, owing to lack of implementation plan for the Beneficiation Strategy of 2011.
  • The inadequate workplaces in the mining and minerals sector had an impact on expanding the WIL programme for learners from the TVET College sector, and this was concerning.
  • The MQA noted that the employment of people with disabilities remained a serious challenge in the mining sector.







3.5 The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

3.5.1 Labour Unions: Combined Staff Association (COMSA), University of KwaZulu-Natal Staff Union (UKSU), National Tertiary Education Staff Union (NTESU), National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and the South African Liberated Public Sector Workers Union (SALIPSWU)

The presentation was a joint presentation from the five Labour Unions of the University.

Labour Relations: The union said that the institution was under the autocratic management prior the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor, Dr van Jaarsveld. Efforts by labour to engage the then management on conditions of service had failed. The institution was characterised by a culture of imposition of decisions, which contributed to the plummeting staff morale. The unions were hopeful with the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor and the plans that he presented to change the institution for the better. However, the hopes were short lived, because some senior executives were determined to maintain the autocratic leadership style. The unions felt that the University was not an institution of choice for staff, given what had unfolded over the years.

The unions indicated that they were still determined to work with the Vice-Chancellor to resolve labour related challenges at the University. However, the Human Resource Executive Director was sabotaging their efforts. The unions planned to conduct a survey and pass a vote of no confidence against the HR Executive, if a solution to the challenges was not found. They also indicated that there was an executive staff member who threatened staff indicating that his brother was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe.

Teaching and learning: The unions said that while transformation took place at the University, the College of Humanities had not benefited. Staff members within the College of Humanities were still burdened with heavy workloads and they were expected to perform like other staff members in faculties where the working conditions were better. They indicated that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning had not taught for more than 20 years and according to them, her knowledge was inadequate and she should be replaced.

Intention to suspend the five DVCs:  The unions indicated that a survey was conducted into how staff members felt about the support for the investigation of the five DVCs, and 90 percent of those surveyed supported the investigation. On the question to support the Vice-Chancellor to institute disciplinary hearings against the DVCs, almost 100 percent of those surveyed supported the notion. They noted that the Vice-Chancellor wanted to bring change at the University. However, the five DVCs were not supporting his work.

SALIPSWU: SALIPSWU was a newly established union at the University and had members ranging from cleaners, security personnel and academics. They were aware that the University ranked top in terms of research outputs. However, they raised concerns related to governance and management of the University. They requested the Committee to look into the powers of Council in relation to the appointment of employees earning R5000 and payment of overtime, which according to them, was not an executive function. They also raised concerns about the powers of sub-committees of Council and executive management sub-committees. The union indicated that the executive management should not pursue their own personal interests to a point where they differed on personal matters. They further argued that the Joint Consultative Forum should not be chaired by people who were conflicted and the policies of the structure should be reviewed.

Intention to suspend the five DVCs: Some staff members would not support the matter on the principle that it was not correct to suspend people who raised grievances to management, and according to them this would deter whistle blowing. The unions were not informed about the terms of reference of the investigations and they did not believe that Council was aiming to do justice through its processes. They advocated for the suspension of the Council processes and a new process to be instituted to deal with the matter.

A COMSA member also said that Council failed to address the issues raised by the unions, for example, the approval of five different conditions of service. Council did not take the lead in addressing the matter between the Vice-Chancellor and the five DVCs. It was reported that the processes were unfair and again Council failed to interrogate matters presented to it. They were concerned about the manner in which Council approved decisions that were divisive. Unions requested to be briefed about the report of the investigation, but that has not happened.  

3.5.2 Student Representative Council (SRC)

2017 registration: The registration process for 2017 academic year commenced with no disruptions. The SRC met with all stakeholders, including the Registration Appeals Committee (RAC) to discuss payment plans of students with outstanding debt. It was agreed that all students who owed less than R10 000 would be allowed to register and that NSFAS beneficiaries should not pay upfront payment registration fees. Applications for University subsidy would be closed on 09 February 2017 and all students should be responded to. The University agreed to increase books and food allowances by R1000. NSFAS and National Research Foundation (NRF) rejected students would be considered for possible assistance through University scholarship.

The international students were required to pay upfront fees, the SRC agreed to help, especially those from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to register without paying upfront fees, because they were treated like South African students. The SRC had a good relationship with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, and the Senate agreed that no students would be excluded academically. Special examinations would run for final year students with less than three outstanding modules. The SRC supported the racial quota system in the admission of students in the Medical School to correct the imbalances of the past.

Student housing: There was a shortage of student housing at the University, and the existing infrastructure was not well maintained. The SRC held meetings with management, though at times they deadlocked on issues. The students were affected by the burnt infrastructure during the #fees-must-fall campaign and the SRC strongly condemned the destruction of property.

Safety and security of students: The SRC and the Risk Management and Security Committee agreed to have monthly meetings to discuss issues relating to security of students. The focus would be on security of students who lived in unsafe environments and to ensure that landlords applied the security guidelines provided by the University.

Intention to suspend the five DVCs: The SRC cautioned that the timing to suspend the five DVCs was not right, and they did not want to get involved. They urged the management team of the University to work together in a manner that will benefit the University.

3.5.3 Institutional Forum (IF)

The IF said that the University had been the top research institution in the country for the past three years, and an improved staff morale would further enhance the institution’s research output. The IF said that the biggest concern at the University were the allegations of staff abuse by the suspended five Deputy Vice-Chancellors. They noted that it appeared that there would be a revolt by staff if the five DVCs were not relieved of their duties The IF expressed its support to the Vice-Chancellor’s Task Team to create a regular platform for bridge-building and meaningful engagement across the institution.


3.5.4 University Management

Governance and management: The Vice-Chancellor informed the Committee that the University was committed to good governance. The institution’s governance arrangements was informed by the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No. 101 of 1997), the Department of Higher Education’s Reporting Regulations of 2014, the University Statute, King IV principles of good and effective governance, as well as other rules, principles and directives as determined by the University Council and authoritative decision-making bodies. Council had established its committees’ structures, which were critical in supporting governance of the institution.

Workforce Profile: The University had a total of 3 941 permanent employees. In terms of gender, females constituted 55 percent of the total workforce, and males constituted 45 percent. In terms of race, Africans were in the majority, at 2 171. The higher professional qualifications level were still reflecting the origins of the University prior to the merger, which was white and male dominated.

Though progress had been made and transformation had been achieved at the higher academic ranks, there were still challenges in achieving employment equity targets. 17 percent of the total academic employees were foreign nationals at the University.

The University had implemented programmes towards transforming the academic sector. The programmes included the accelerated academic development, which targeted mainly African lecturers. The programme had 111 academics (57 male and 54 female), there was also a Talent Excellence and Equity Acceleration Scholarship programme. The new Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) programme supported 10 lecturers, and of these, nine were Africans.

Student profile: The University had a total of 46 566 student enrolment in 2016. Of this, 26 649 were female and 19 917 were male. With regard to degrees awarded in 2016, 6 274 degrees were awarded to female students and 3 772 to male students. The graduation rate of female students had always been higher than that of their male counterparts.

2017 budget and funding: The University increased tuition and residence fees to 8 percent, and the total budget for 2017 amounted to R2.8 billion. The University required R300 million per month for its operations. The total student debt as at 31 December 2016 was R1.2 billion and it was still a big risk for the University. There were also long term liabilities, which were caused by post-retirement obligations, and this was estimated at R1.1 billion. The University had two loans from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). The value of loans as at 31 December 2016 was estimated at R347 million. The University had a lease liability, which was estimated at R144 million as at 31 December 2016. The staffing costs was the highest expenditure line item which constituted 61 percent of the total budget. The expenditure on employee costs was within the national average. Students who qualified for the DHET 8 percent Adjustment Grant were not required to make upfront payment of registration fees. The students were requested to submit payment plans for current and prior year’s debt. Students who qualified for NSFAS funding were registered irrespective of whether they had historic debt.

Infrastructure rollout: The University was in the process of developing a first Institutional Spatial Infrastructure master plan in order to develop a long term vision, provide for the physical environment and a blue print for fund raising and campus realignment. The institution received R249 million from the Department’s Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant, which was a historical funding allocation, from 2012/13 – 2014/15 cycle. Through this funding, 20 of the 22 approved projects were completed at a total cost of R205 million. The Department further allocated R110.5 million towards infrastructure investment in 2016. The building of a 260 bed student residence facility at Howard College and the tender to build a 318 bed residence at the Westville Campus was to be advertised in mid-February 2017 and the completion date was estimated to be December 2018. In supplementing the University’s student housing, the institution sourced private accommodation within a radius of 400 metres from its campuses. This was meant to cut on transport costs. The University would explore public-private partnership models in addressing the shortage of student housing.

Student pass rate: The University’s pass rate was above the national average. The pass rates had not dropped significantly after the fees protests. The pass rates of NSFAS fully funded students as well as students in the residence were high.

NSFAS funding: It was noted that half of the University students received some form of funding support. A total of R1.2 billion was used for student funding. This was made up of loans, bursaries and scholarships. Of the total funding allocation, 84.57 percent went for supporting African students (22 317), 72.67 percent was for undergraduate student, and 55.44 percent supported female students. In terms of loans, R600 million was from NSFAS and R10.4 million was from the University Council.  

Student protests 2016: During the 2016 student protests, there were 40 registered cases and 10 were withdrawn. A total of 111 students were arrested, and the majority of students arrested were from the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses, which represented 40 and 56 student respectively. A total of 44 students were released due to lack of evidence and 69 students were still attending court cases.

Prevention of gender-based violence: The University had zero tolerance for gender-based violence. The University condemned all acts of violence against women in general and on its campuses, and the institution has a Policy on Sexual Harassment and Procedure and the Policy on Gender Based Violence was undergoing a consultation process. There were three reported cases of sexual assault, where an employee of the Department of Health alleged sexual harassment against a UKZN employee. The matter was settled by the Department of Health; the second involved a University staff member who was dismissed and the third case involved seven UKZN male students and an external alleged prostitute. The matter was still under police investigation.

3.5.4 Committee Observations

  • The Committee noted that not all the unions were united on the issue relating to the suspension of the five DVCs. Some wanted the DVCs to be suspended, while others preferred a process where all stakeholders would be given an opportunity to engage the Ntsebeza Report and come up with recommendations for implementation by Council. The SRC did not support the suspension of the DVCs.
  • The Committee requested for the copies of the KPMG Report on the sale for space at the Medical School and the Ntsebeza Report on the suspension of the five DVCs.
  • The Committee was concerned that the suspension of the five DVCs would destabilise the institution. The Committee also expressed its concern upon hearing that the University employees were subjected to disciplinary hearings when they raised their grievances to management.
  • The Committee noted that education was an apex priority of government and the role that University stakeholders should be playing was of ensuring that the University became a centre of excellence and contributed to the developmental agenda of the country.
  • The delays in the implementation of the disciplinary processes by the Council created anxiety among students and staff at the University.
  • The challenge of the harmonisation of conditions of service at the University had been very difficult to resolve, and the Committee was concerned that the unions left the matter hanging for too long. There was a commitment from the management to work with the unions in finalising the matter. The unions were also confident that management was working together with them to put the matter to finalisation.
  • The unions rejected the implementation of the Performance Management Development System (PMDS) indicating that the inconsistencies in its implementation and the harmonisation of conditions of services were still pending.
  • The Committee commended the University for maintaining its status as the highest ranked HEI in terms of research publications despite all its challenges.
  • The undergraduate pass rate, high graduation rate of NSFAS funded students and the pass rate levels of the first year students in residences at the University was highly commendable.
  • The slow pace of transformation at the senior management, professional and senior academic levels was noted with concern. The Committee noted the programmes the University and the Department had put in place to address employment equity.
  • The Committee noted with concern the lack of transparency by Council and management of the University in dealing with the suspension of the five DVCs.

3.6 Agriculture Sector Education and Training Authority (AGRISETA) and Citrus Academy Partnership

The meeting took place at Citrus Academy Offices in Pinetown, Durban.

3.6.1 Presentation by learners who benefitted from the skills development intervention

The skills development beneficiaries informed the Committee that the partnership between AGRISETA and the Citrus Academy had offered life changing opportunities. One of the learners reported that she joined the Academy in 2010 as a Masters students in Agricultural Economics and through the financial support and exposure she got from the Academy, she completed her studies and she was qualified and working as a Junior Accounts Manager. Learners who went through the Academy Graduate placement programme and internships programmes noted that they were offered industry exposure through conferences and seminars and they were able to network with other people. Learners reported that they were also working as farm managers and researchers within the citrus industry.

3.6.2 Agriculture SETA

The presentation was made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr J Madiba who said the following: AGRISETA covered the primary, planting, stock farming and poultry industries. In relation to governance, AGRISETA was comprised of 15 board members and five (5) were appointed by the Minister. Other board members were appointed to represent the unions, commodity organisations (citrus, potatoes, grain etc.) and employers. With regard to its budget, AGRISETA collected R393 million levies per annum, of which 20 percent was transferred to the National Skills Fund and 10 percent was for administration costs. AGRISETA was required to provide mentoring for people who were retrenched and assisted them to establish cooperatives through the farm together programme.

AGRISETA provided learnership programmes in partnerships with commodity organisations to place learners in their workplaces. AGRISETA offered learners from TVET Colleges work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities and work placement for university graduates. It also offered internships for students from Agricultural Colleges who required one year training to complete their diploma qualifications. The AGRISETA paid the learners a stipend of R1 030 a month.

The SETA was faced with a challenge of lack of youth interest in agriculture, the natural disasters such as draught had affected many farmers and grain and piggery collapsed. The poultry sector was also affected by the trade relations with United State of America (USA). All these factors affected the levy collection of the AGRISETA.

3.6.3 Citrus Academy

The presentation was made by Ms De Klerk, General-Manager. She said that South Africa was the second largest citrus exporter in the world. The Citrus Academy was 12 percent black owned. The Academy was also a non-profit organisation that was established by the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa to enable human resource development in the Southern African citrus industry. The Academy was involved in the education sector in terms of curriculum review in higher education to align it to industry skills needs, educational material development, which was distributed to service providers and educational institutions at no costs. It was also involved in youth and rural development to grow the rural economy.

The Academy had a bursary fund, which aimed to assist people to have long and productive careers in the agricultural sector. It also offered experiential learning placement for students from TVET Colleges and Agricultural Colleges, graduate placements for those who completed their qualifications and required workplace experience to improve their employability chances, industry exposure by funding postgraduate students to attend symposium and conferences. The Academy reported 95 percent success rate of the 591 students who had been funded through bursaries.

3.6.4 Committee observations

  • The Committee commended the work done by the Citrus Academy in partnering with the AGRISETA and noted that it was an example of excellence in skills development to support economic growth.
  • The AGRISETA indicated that the shedding of jobs in the poultry sector, resulting from the trade relations between South Africa and United State of America (USA), coupled with drought, impacted on its revenue collection.
  • The budget of the AGRISETA was inadequate to meet the skills demands in its sector.
  • The AGRISETA indicated that shortage of teaching of agricultural subjects at schools impacted on the pipeline of skills production for the sector.
  • The Citrus Academy indicated that there was a misalignment on what was taught at the post-school education and training institutions and industry. Universities were unwilling to update their curriculum to be aligned with industry.

3.7 The Department of Higher Education and Training: Progress report on the implementation of the National Skills Accord

3.7.1 Department of Higher Education and Training

The Department noted that the National Skills Accord was signed by the social partners, labour, business and government with the purposes of reducing the numbers of unemployed people, to significantly increase the number of South Africans who can access training and thereby increasing the skills base of the country. The Accord seeks to contribute towards the target of creating five million jobs by 2020.

The Accord also aimed at addressing the inadequate skills levels and poor work readiness among graduates as well as to improve the role and functioning of the TVET Colleges. The Department set up a task team, which included labour and other social partners to have meetings. The task teams could not convene frequently, and Social Partners showed lack of commitment to the Accord.

The Accord has eight (8) targets. For Commitment 1, targets set for the private sector and the state owned entities for 2011 – 2012 financial year were not met. It was noted that stakeholders represented in the Human Resource Development (HRD) Council were concerned that targets were set too high by the social partners. There were improvements in performance recorded from 2012/13 to 2013/14.

Commitment 2: To make internship and placement opportunities available within workplaces. There was a significant increase in placements of TVET College learners from 1 246 in 2011/12 to 23 229 in 2015/16. The total placement from 2011/12 to 2015/16 was 44 082. The placement of universities of technology students increased from 5 992 in 2011/12 financial year to 34 462 in 2015/16. The total number of students placed from 2011/12 to 2015/16 was 89 192.

Commitment 3: To set sector specific ratios, it was reported that a National Standardised Artisan Learners Workplace and Site Approval Policy was developed and signed to give guidance for learner ratios in the workplace.

Commitment 4: To improve the funding of training, the use of funds available for training and incentives for companies to train, the National Skills Fund (NSF) has allocated funding to the amount of R1.436 billion to 30 multi-year projects (1-5 years) in support of the National growth Path. A total of 67 161 learners benefitted from NSF funded projects in support of NGP from 2010 to 2015/16.

Commitment 5: To set annual targets for training in state-owned enterprises, between 2011/12 to 2015/16, the State Owned Enterprises trained a total of 43 015 artisans (Eskom: 23 831, Transnet: 16 636, SAA/SAX: 1 000, Denel: 1 279 and Safcol/Alexkor: 269).

Commitment 6: To improve SETA governance and financial management as well as stakeholder involvement. The Department developed a framework for SETA governance and also gazetted the SETAs constitution. The Minister has also approved the SETA Governance Charter and Standards. The SETAs were also required to develop their sector skills plans aligned to the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and the National Growth Path (NGP).

Commitment 7: To align training to the New Growth Path (NGP) and improve Sector Skills Plans. The Minister introduced a new SETA Grant Regulation and there is also a continuous improvement plan to ensure that SETA work is aligned to the IPAP and NGP.

Commitment 8: To improve the role and performance of TVET Colleges. The Department has worked hard to ensure the presence of SETAs at the TVET Colleges. Targets to have all TVET College Lecturers exposed to workplaces and engineers to teach part time or as guest lecturers at TVET Colleges have not been achieved.

3.7.2 Committee observations

  • The Committee was concerned about the National Skills Accord not being legally binding. As a result, there was no legal obligation for the social partners to adhere to the commitments agreed to.
  • The Committee noted that the National Skills Accord was an excellent plan to address the skills shortage in the country. Though there had been some significant achievements recorded in certain areas like the placement of TVET and University of Technology students at the workplaces and artisan training by the State Owned Entities (SOEs) from 2011/12 to 2015/16 financial year, there was serious underperformance in some areas.
  • It was noted that there was no process to release the lecturers to industry for training. The arrangement was that lecturers should use their own holidays for workplace exposure, which was unlikely to happen. It was also observed in the annual reports of the SETAs that this target was not achieved.
  • The Committee was concerned about the Department’s admission that the TVET College curriculum was outdated, and there was no clear action plan for re-curriculation. The Department also indicated that funding for curriculum review was a challenge.
  • The Committee was concerned that whilst the plans of government was to expand access to the TVET Colleges to produce the skills required to grow the economy, and to correct the skewed pyramid within the education sector, the budget for the TVET Colleges had been cut, and the student intake was significantly reduced. This would also affect the lecturer retention.
  • The Committee was concerned about the parity of the promotional requirements for the National Senior Certificate in the schooling system and NC(V) in the TVET Colleges. The NC(V) students were required to pass all the seven subjects and with high marks, while the Grade 12 learners were promoted with lower marks.






South Africa has set itself the goals of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, growing the economy by an average of 5.4 percent per annum, and cutting the unemployment rate to 6 percent by 2030. The NDP states that education, training and innovation are critical to the attainment of these goals. The oversight visit to the post-school education and training institutions was in the main aimed at assessing and monitoring whether the institutions, including, universities, TVET Colleges and the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) were playing their role in the attainment of these goals. In working towards realising the NDP vision, government has set five year targets through the 2014 – 2019 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). This includes: having 30 percent of TVET College Lecturers in workplace exposure every year by 2019; improving the throughput rate to 75 percent by 2030; 140 000 work-based training and experience opportunities by 2019; and increased partnerships between SETAs and employers for placements.

The Committee visited universities, TVET College and the SETA funded projects. The Committee engaged with the institutions councils, management teams, labour unions, SRCs and Institutional Forums as well as learners who benefited from the skills intervention programmes. The Committee was able to get a balanced view of the issues presented by both management and stakeholders.

At the Coastal TVET College, the Committee noted that there were still outstanding issues regarding the migration of TVET Colleges, outstanding certificates and pending results, lack of clarity in relation to the student intake for 2017, student housing, improved partnerships with industry and provincial government departments amongst others.

With regard to the University of Zululand, the Committee noted the ongoing standoff between Management, Council and Union, which impacted on the core business of the University, which was teaching and learning, research and community engagements. The issues identified by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) Institutional Audit report and the Independent Assessor were still continuing.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) maintained its top ranking in terms of research outputs in the country and the pass rates were high despite the student fees protests experienced in 2016. There were challenges with regard to the delays in harmonising the conditions of service of employees and the disciplinary processes of the five DVCs, which was a threat to the stability of the University.

The Committee noted that there were pockets of excellence in the partnerships between the SETAs and employers in providing apprenticeship, learnerships, placements and bursaries to students in the TVET sector and universities. Learners who were in the programmes and those who have benefitted attested to the good work and the life changing opportunities were exposed to through these partnerships. The Committee would continue to follow-up on the outstanding issues and to monitor implementation of action plans to address the issues identified.


The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training having undertaken an oversight visit to the post-school education and training institutions of KwaZulu-Natal, recommends to the Minister of Higher Education and Training to consider the following:

5.1 SETAs

5.1.1 The observation of the Committee was that the commitment towards the implementation of the National Skills Accord by the social partners and government was lacking. The private sector functioned on an ad hoc basis when it comes to skills development. The private sector needs to re-align its objectives to be in-line with its commitment to the National Skills Accord. The Minister should look into the private sector’s commitment towards skills development.

5.1.2 The Committee noted the reluctance of the apprentices to engage with the Committee during the site visit of the Southern African Ship Yards about the stipends they received.  The DHET should engage the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO), MERSETA and Southern African Ship Yards to determine if stipends paid were compliant to legal prescripts so as to prevent the exploitation of the apprentices.

5.1.3 The Committee was concerned about the lack of alignment of the objectives of the SETAs with the targets set out in Chapter 9 of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030. The DHET should request the SETAs to submit their progress report towards meeting the set NDP targets. This report should also be forwarded to the Committee.

5.1.4 The Committee raised concerns with regard to the relationship amongst the SETAs and inadequate coordination of skills development within the post-school education and training sector. The DHET should organise a meeting with the SETAs, industry and higher education and training institutions to review and strengthen the relationship amongst the stakeholders responsible for skills development.

5.2 TVET Colleges

5.2.1 The Committee noted the concerns raised by the management and students with regard to inadequate teaching and learning infrastructure. The DHET should provide solutions with regard to infrastructure grant provision for expansion of infrastructure in TVET Colleges. The refurbishment of existing TVET College infrastructure should also be prioritised.

5.2.2 There were outstanding issues with regard to the migration of the TVET Colleges to the DHET. The collective agreement on the parity of salaries between lecturers appointed by the College Councils and those appointed by the Public Service under the DHET and the collective agreement to convert temporary and contract lecturers who served in the Colleges for more than 12 months to permanent positions was inadequately implemented across the sector. The DHET should ensure that there is harmonisation of conditions of service within the TVET sector and adequate implementation of the collective agreements.

5.2.3 The Committee noted that there were delays in the payments of NSFAS allowances to students, which contributed to students dropping out. The DHET should ensure that NSFAS improves its systems so that students receive their allowances timeously.

5.3 University of Zululand

5.3.1 There was an unworkable relationship amongst the stakeholders of the University, which has led to instability within the institution. The grave concern of the Committee was that the University was not finding solutions to avert the situation. The Council should intervene and assist in finding solutions to avert the situation so that the core business of the University is restored. The Council should consider the suitability and feasibility of the Vice-Chancellor and report to the Committee.

5.3.2 The Committee engaged with the University on the basis that it was previously placed under administration, and the new Council undertook to bring stability within the institution. However, the Committee was concerned that did not happen and was of the view that the Council seemed to be unable to resolve the problems at the University. The Committee should engage the Council on its plans to turn-around the situation at the University.

5.3.3 The Committee noted the allegations raised by the University stakeholders on the use of a specific private security company which charged exorbitant fees for its services. There were conflicts between management and unions on the utilisation of cooperatives within the University. The Vice-Chancellor should setup a forensic investigation into the functions of the cooperatives at the University as well as the company which had links to some Council members and report back to the Committee.

5.4 University of KwaZulu-Natal

5.4.1 There were outstanding issues of harmonisation of conditions of service of employees at the University since its merger in 2005. The disparities in the conditions of service contributed to the internal strife among employees. The Department should re-examine the merger agreements, as well as the conditions of service parity issue which caused strife among employees at the University and report back to the Committee.

5.4.2 The University experienced an impasse with its stakeholders as a result of the suspension of five (5) senior managers. The Minister should ensure that the current impasse at the University does not impact on its core business of teaching and learning, and the matter should be finalised. Conflict management and resolution within the University should be fully implemented.

Report to be considered.














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