ATC110824: Report on Oversight Visit to Eastern Cape from 16-19 August 2011

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

Report of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation on the oversight visit to the Eastern Cape from 16-19 August 2011, following the intervention by the National Department of Basic Education, dated 24 August 2011





The Select Committee on Education and Recreation, having undertaken an oversight visit to the Eastern Cape, reports as follows:


1.         Introduction


A delegation of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation conducted an oversight visit as follows:


On Tuesday, 16 August 2011 the delegation visited the region of East London, Eastern Cape. The Committee held meetings as follows:


Education Leadership Institute – Meeting with members of the provincial legislature and officials of the national Department of Basic Education, the Ministerial task team on intervention, teacher unions and the school governing body association.


This visit followed after a meeting between the Select Committee, members of the provincial legislature and unions and other relevant stakeholders on the intervention tabled by the Minister of Basic Education on the National Council of Provinces in terms of section 100 (1)(b). The Committee also interacted with the MEC for Education in the Eastern Cape, Head of Department in the Eastern Cape and the coordinator of the intervention task team to solicit views and also to get a briefing on what led to the intervention.



On Wednesday, 17 and 18 August 2011, the delegation visited the region of King Williamstown, in the Uthukela District, Eastern Cape. The Committee held meetings as follows:


i.         Mzontsundu Senior Secondary School - Meeting with relevant stakeholders, educators, the school governing body and provincial and national Department of Basic Education officials.

ii.       Mgcawezulu Secondary School – Meeting with relevant stakeholders, educators, the school governing body and provincial and national department of Basic Education officials.

iii.      Nomandla Senior Primary School – Meeting with relevant stakeholders, educators, the school governing body, parents and provincial and national Department of Basic Education officials.

iv.      Sompa Senior Primary School – Meeting with relevant stakeholders, educators, the school governing body, parents and provincial and national Department of Basic Education officials.


In the spirit of co-operative governance the Committee had invited officials from the Ministry and Department of Basic Education to form part of the overall delegation on the oversight visit.


The purpose of the oversight visit was to solicit views on all the relevant stakeholders, specifically teacher unions, task team and the Eastern Cape Department of Education and Basic Education on what led to the intervention and the impact of the intervention on teaching and learning. The visit formed part of the Committee’s oversight responsibility to monitor and support progress in the implementation of education priorities, more specifically the expectation pronounced during the 2010 State of the Nation Address, for both learners and educators to be in school, in class, on time, learning and teaching seven hours a day. The Committee also aimed to assess the impact the intervention had in terms of the level of delivery of learner and teacher support material (LTSM), provision of school nutrition programme, provision of infrastructure, including water and sanitation and scholar transport.


This report provides a summary of the key issues that emerged from the interaction with stakeholders, officials of the national department, provincial departments as well as the committee’s deliberations, observations and recommendations.


2.         Delegation


Select Committee on Education and Recreation: Hon M W Makgate, MP (ANC – North West) (Chairperson); Hon R N Rasmeni, MP (ANC – North West); Hon S H Plaatjie, MP (Cope – North West); Hon W F Faber, MP (DA – Northern Cape and Hon M L Moshodi, MP (ANC – Free State), JHon T A Mashamaite (ANC-Limpopo)


Parliamentary Staff: Mr M Dlanga (Committee Secretary: Select Committee on Education and Recreation); Dr H Baloyi (Committee Researcher); Ms C Adams (Committee Assistant) and Mr  J J Brynard, Content Advisor, office of the Chief Whip, NCOP.


Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature: Mr M Mrara, MPL (Chairperson); Mr M M Peter, MPL; Ms K Fihlani, MPL; Ms J Bici, MPL; Ms P T Mpushe, MPL and Mr M Mkosi (Researcher).


Eastern Cape: Hon M Makupula, MEC for Education, Eastern Cape; Adv M Maanya, Head of Department, Department of Education, Eastern Cape; Mr T Moniwa; Mr Z Tom; Mr F Sokutu and Mr A M Mkentane.


Teacher Unions: Ms F Loliwe (Sadtu); Mr CM Ndlazi (Sadtu); Mr H P Greef (SAOU)  and Mr A Adams (NAPTOSA).


National Department of Basic Education: Mr S Mlambo and Ms N Msimanga.



3.         Briefing by the MEC and Department for Education, at the Education Leadership Institute in East London, Eastern Cape


3.1                                       Overview and welcoming by Hon M Makupula, MEC for   Education


The MEC welcomed the delegation of the NCOP to the province. He indicated that the visit by the Select Committee should be understood in the context of co-operative governance.  He indicated that the role of the task team needed to be clarified. The challenges at the Eastern Cape Education Department can not be limited to administration. It was further reported that the Ministerial task team which also consisted of MECs had only met once. This was the structure that was appointed by the President of the Republic. The MEC wished the Committee success during its fact finding mission in the province and indicated that the visit by the NCOP Select Committee should be viewed in the context of trying to find amicable solutions to the challenges faced by the Education Department in the Eastern Cape.


3.2                   Briefing by Adv M Maanya: Head of Department, Department of Education, Eastern Cape


Adv Maanya drew the Committee’s attention to the challenges faced in the Department as follows:


The department had administrative and service delivery problems since the advent of democracy seventeen years ago. These problems arose as a result of various fundamental problems mainly associated with the amalgamation of the various administrations, which today constitute the department. During the same period the department either received disclaimers or adverse audit opinions from the Auditor General. Although various initiatives were taken over the intervention period to address these issues, the lack of effective management appears to have reversed every single gain that was made.


Following various interventions in preceding years, in August 2009, the Executive Council approved the initial turnaround strategy as part of a process to define and address the challenges facing the departments of Education and Health and to restore public trust in the system. This included a comprehensive situational analysis and the adoption of the intervention model. The situation analysis set out proposed medium-term interventions required to address the ongoing challenges in these departments.


At the opening of the schools in January 2011, the Department faced challenges in four key areas, namely; the termination of temporary educators, delivery of the stationery to section 20 schools, the suspension of the scholar transport programme and the problems of the implementation of the school nutrition programme. The causes of the problems are set out hereunder:


3.2.1           Temporary Educators – the Department of Education was required in terms of the 2010 financial turn around plan to terminate the services of temporary educators on the 31st December 2010. The termination was part of addressing identified inefficiencies and aimed at addressing the cost pressure on the personnel component of the budget which was overspending. It is required in terms of the South African Schools Act, that the MEC declares posts for institutions every year. Once the MEC had made such declarations, the Head of Department was required to distribute such posts to schools. The distribution of posts entailed the allocation of posts to the various schools taking into account various factors. The Department appointed temporary teachers from January 2010 after the declaration of posts for the 2010 post establishment. The Department declared 69390 posts for the 2010 academic year but could not secure a budget to fund all these posts.


3.2.2           School Nutrition Programme – The school nutrition programme was funded through a conditional grant and targets learners in Quintile 1 to 3 for both primary and secondary schools. As it was funded through a conditional grant, it was required that a business plan be submitted for the funding and the programme was implemented according to the business plan. As at January 2010, the model of implementation was the goods and services approach in terms whereof supplies were appointed. This posed a number of challenges including widespread fraud and corruption, poor quality of food, non-adherence to feeding menu and standards and in certain instances no feeding took place. The last tender process for the programme was done in 2008 where after the contracts were extended for two years. After consideration of these factors and various complaints and the decision of the EXCO, it was decided to change the model to transfer payments. This entailed transferring funds to schools for the schools to fully manage the programme. This was approved by the national department and due to delays, the programme was finally implemented from March 2011. Reports indicate that the change of model had been successful despite major resistance from suppliers and certain members of staff.


3.2.3           Scholar transport – as at December 2010, an estimated 110 000 learners were said to be transported. By August 2010, the budget for this programme was already exhausted. However learners continued to be transported resulting in high levels of accruals. The programme, like the school nutrition programme became vulnerable to abuse, fraud and corruption. A decision was taken to identify funds to continue with the programme until the end of the financial year. Funds could not be found and as a result the programme had to be suspended. However an exemption was granted to learners on farms who continued to be transported. A process was initiated to verify routes and the number of learners to be transported. A new system was introduced for the application of learners to be transported. This had resulted in the verified number of learners being 53 000. The Executive Council had by that time taken a decision to transfer the programme to the Department of Transport. The programme had by then been transferred to the Department of Transport. The Department of Transport would be responsible for the physical transportation of learners and coordinate all matters relating to the physical transportation, including but not limited to verify safety issues, contracting and managing suppliers. It was reported that the Education Department would remain responsible for determining requirements and coordinating all activities relating to managing the participation of schools in the programme.


3.2.4           Stationery for Section 20 Schools - in the 2011 academic year, the stationery for section 20 schools was delivered late owing to the failure of the Department to finalise the stationery tender on time. This resulted in the stationery tender having to be cancelled and culminated in a litigation which further delayed the process. Stationery had at that stage been delivered to all schools.



3.3        Impact and implications of the implementation of Section 100(1) (b)


A number of public announcements were made and the intervention together with the said announcements received extensive media coverage. It was further reported that the greater bulk of the media coverage was negative and had the effect of creating a great deal of confusion in the minds of public and staff of the Department including staff at all levels.


An announcement was made to senior management and at a press conference that the powers of the Head of Department were taken away and that created a number of administrative and management problems. Following these announcements, certain senior managers did not cooperate with various processes which were under way prior to the intervention. These included amongst others: lower levels of cooperation with the Auditor General, including non-attendance of Audit Meetings; the department was unable to submit its Annual Report to the Auditor General on time as the responsible manager believed he no longer had to report and account to the head of department and despite repeated requests he refused to submit the report; certain staff members saw an opportunity to take advantage of the intervention to escape the disciplinary processes which were under way long before the intervention. It was further noted that a practice emerged where certain staff wrote directly to the Minister contrary to the disciplinary code and procedure. A number of disciplinary hearings were delayed as the affected employees wrote to the Minister seeking her decision to set aside the disciplinary hearings.


The Leader of the intervention team committed the Department to a projected expenditure of R 702 million by entering into a settlement agreement with litigants regarding the filling of posts without the requisite authority.


The intervention team had made public statements on behalf of the Department without any reference to the Department, including on matters falling outside the scope of the intervention. A number of meetings were convened by the intervention team, issuing various instructions to staff including at school level without any reference to either the Head of Department or MEC. This caused confusion particularly amongst schools.


Despite the DBE having sought to specify the terms of the intervention, it appeared that the intention was basically to take over the entire administration of the Department.


The current state of confusion occasioned by the manner of implementation undermines various key activities of the plans approved by the Executive Council prior to the intervention and might lead to a collapse of the system.



4.         Briefing by Mr M Mweli: Coordinator Task Team


Mr Mweli indicated that there were two parts to the implementation of section 100 1 (b). The first part dealt with the stabilization and normalization of the academic year through the restoration of collapsed critical service delivery area in the following areas:


i.         Allocation and appointment of teachers to all schools and classes;

ii.       Supply of stationery and textbooks particularly to non section 21 schools;

iii.      Implementation of the National School Nutrition Programme to all learners who qualified;

iv.      Provision of learner transport services to all learners who are deserving;

v.        Deal with all mud, unsafe and inappropriate school buildings.


The second part dealt with uncovering the underlying causes of the historic challenges experienced with service delivery in the Eastern Cape Education Department (ECED). In this regard the approach was diagnostic for purposes of ensuring that the intervention was systemic and sustainable. This would then lead to short and medium to long term plans.


Strategic diagnostic overview of the challenges facing the Department include amongst others: matric pass rate, numeracy and literacy scores, systematic and whole schools evaluation, Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).


4.1 Teachers on prolonged sick leave: The recent reports indicate that there were 144 teachers on prolonged sick leave. The cost implications of these teachers who were on prolonged sick leave were approximately R34, 437,000.  One teacher was found to have been on sick leave for five (5) years and the cost thereof was over R2 million. The cost of the salaries for temporary teachers who replaced these teachers plus the already stated cost of salaries of the sick teachers would double the figure.


4.2 Inflated learner numbers: The learner verification exercise undertaken towards the end of the 2010 academic year in independent schools revealed that, in 25 schools there were variations which were greater than 50 learners per school. One school submitted an enrolment of 702 learners and it had only six learners. This gave a variance of 696 learners which translated to an annual saving of approximately R1, 949,045. Therefore a culture of monitoring and accountability needed to be restored.


4.3 Strategic leadership vacuum: There was a high turnover of political and administrative leadership. There was non-compliance and lack of implementation of key decisions. There was a general lack of strategic capability and leadership as well as inadequate planning, monitoring and evaluation.


4.4 Audit profile of the Department: The audit profile of the Department had not improved for many years. Regularity audit had come out as either adverse or disclaimer audit opinion. There was also a pervasive weak internal control environment and non-compliance with rules, regulations and policies.


4.5 Early Childhood Development: The policy obliges the Department to provide for Grade R which should only be attached to Primary Schools. For 0-4 year old, the Department was expected to provide stimulation programmes and training to Early Childhood Development practitioners. In the Eastern Cape, the Department carried the full responsibility for ECD centres which in the main catered for 0-4 year olds. The cost of this extra responsibility calculated in 2010 was estimated to R28 million.


4.6 Organizational culture: There was a culture of entitlement as opposed to hard work. There were very few officials that were committed to values of excellence and integrity. There was a general culture of lawlessness and no respect for authorities to an extent that some firm managers were targeted and driven out of their offices.


4.7Organizational structure: the current organizational structure was poorly conceived and designed. The structure did not engender strong principles of support to schools. It had revealed duplication and conflicting roles within and between line functions.


5.                   Briefing by Ms F Loliwe: SADTU Provincial Secretary


Ms Loliwe highlighted the following:


A number of meetings took place with unions and the Department of Education. One of the challenges was due to the lack of proper implementation of the scholar transport, school nutrition programme, unpaid pensioners and vacancies in the Department.


The union embarked on a strike and the memorandum was submitted to the Premier, the legislature and the Department of Education. The biggest challenge had been the issue of termination of contracts for temporary teachers. The union supported all the efforts to take the Department to court.


On 03 March 2011, Minister tabled a notice of intervention. SADTU requested a memorandum of understanding for the intervention. The Minister indicated that the intervention was meant to strengthen the Department.


SADTU supported the intervention, however the union was not happy with the implementation of section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution. The union would have preferred the implementation of section 100 (1) (a) of the Constitution. The union had a meeting with the Minister on 06 June 2011 where the Minister delegated certain powers between the HOD and the Leader of the Task Team.


The union had concerns about the interventions: The union was of the view that the interests of learners had not been prioritized. There was an urgent need for better conditions for teachers. There must be clarity on the implementation of section 100(1) (b) of the Constitution.


There had not been any progress with regard to the implementation of the intervention. The intervention must be complemented with programmes of the Department of Education in the Province.


The South African Democratic Teachers Union was appealing to the Department of Basic Education and the Task Team on Intervention not to sideline the union in this process.


6.                   Briefing by Mr H P Greeff: SAOU  Provincial Executive Member


Mr H P Greeff highlighted the following:


The intervention had been reduced into a power struggle between the HOD and the Leader of the Task Team. The National Department of Basic Education had a meeting on 05 August 2011. The HOD and MEC of the Province did not attend.


A number of senior officials in the Department of Education were on suspension and this haa a negative impact on service delivery. The SAOU was of the view that the intervention had not been successful. Approximately 120 section 20 schools were still to receive their allocated funds. The union was further calling for the clarity on the role of the HOD and the Leader of the Task Team as this had been a grey area since the intervention began.


7.                   Briefing by Mr A Adams: NAPTOSA Executive Officer


Mr A Adams highlighted the following:


The union supported the intervention; however the union was concerned with the following issues: unpaid salaries of pensioners, temporary teachers that had not received salaries for six months, no capacity at the district offices and the schools were falling apart. Mr Adams was of the view that the quintile system must be revised.


8.                   Briefing by Mr R S Edkins: FEDSAS  Deputy Provincial Manager


Mr Edkins highlighted the following:


The Department of Education in the Province and the National Department must ensure that filling of vacant posts was not disrupted during the implementation of the intervention. The association supported the implementation of section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution.



9.         Stakeholder Meeting at the Mzontsundu Senior Secondary School, King Williamstown


The meeting was officially opened by Hon M W Makgate, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation. The purpose of the meeting was to ascertain the challenges faced by the schools in King Williamstown and the surrounding areas particularly on the impact of the intervention on issues that relate to employment of temporary teachers; key to which was the provision of school infrastructure, water and sanitation, the availability of scholar transport and the delivery of learner support material.


10.        Challenges


The following were the challenges that were raised by the principals of various

Schools in the King Williams town area:


i.         The school lacked adequate infrastructure such as buildings, science laboratories, libraries and computer laboratories. Some classrooms had visible cracks, which posed a danger to both learners and educators.


ii.       Teacher union meetings and the workshops that were convened during working hours clashed with the time for teaching and learning.


iii.      The funds allocated to schools were received late. This disrupted the planning programmes of the schools.


iv.      The School Nutrition Programme had resumed in June 2011 after it was suspended at the beginning of the year due to corrupt activities.


v.        The status of access roads that linked schools and the communities were in a neglected state. This caused learner absenteeism during the rainy season. The school did not benefit from the scholar transport programme.


vi.      There was insufficient non-teaching staff such as clerks and administrators. Educators were sometimes performing administrative duties which jeopardized their teaching time.


vii.     The schools did not have access to the basic necessities such as clean water and proper ablution facilities. The infrastructure projects were sometimes abandoned without being completed due to alleged corruption in the tendering process.


viii.   The furniture provided to schools was substandard, breaking within months of being procured by the schools.


ix.     Although some schools had received learner support materials, it transpired that learner support material was delivered late.


11.        Responses to the challenges


Members of Parliament, and Officials from the provincial and National Department of Basic Education deliberated on the engagement with the stakeholders and responded as follows:


11.1      Schools Nutrition Programme: Although the programme was suspended in January, it was reported that the school was currently running the programme since beginning of June 2011. One of the classrooms had been converted into a kitchen.


11.2      Scholar Transport: The school did not benefit from this programme. Learners walked long distances to and from school. The school had been applying for this programme since 2007. Some learners walked approximately 17 and 24 kilometers to get to school. This led to learners being victims of rape. The scholar transport policy specified the criteria taking into consideration the age of learners.


11.3 Substandard school Furniture: The school had old furniture. Even though there was enough furniture, the school would appreciate getting new furniture.    


11.4 Temporary Teachers: The school was affected when the contracts for temporary teachers were terminated. After the department was ordered to retain the temporary teachers, only those that had their contracts were reinstated. The Department of Education could not fill any vacancies due to the fact that there was a memorandum indicating that there shouldn’t be any filling of vacancies.


11.5 Discipline: There was a general lack of discipline amongst learners. There was also lack of parental involvement. This was linked to the poor academic performance and high failure rate. The school had started to implement corrective measures to address the situation. One of the measures was whereby the principal conducted classroom visits to observe if teaching and learning was taking place and also to monitor attendance.


11.6 Learner Teacher Support Material: The school received textbooks on time. There was a challenge with regard to the stationery as the specific tender was cancelled. The Department was taken to court and the court process delayed the delivery of the stationery. The process to distribute stationery resumed again in May and June 2011. By the end of July the process of distributing stationery had already been completed 


11.7 Vandalism in schools: Communities had a responsibility of looking after their schools. This responsibility included looking after the infrastructure of the schools and ensuring that schools were not vandalised.


11.8Curriculum: The District only implemented the curriculum and did not have the power to change it. The District would further strengthen the training of teachers on the curriculum. The Department had acknowledged that there were challenges with regard to the understanding of the curriculum by educators in some schools. Curriculum Advisors were sent to support schools. The Minister had issued a statement on re-packaging the curriculum and the Department was in the process of preparing Intermediate Phase teachers for the implementation of the curriculum in 2012.


12.        Engagement at Mgcawezulu Senior Secondary, Zwelitsha


This school was situated in the small township of Zwelitsha in the King Williams Town District. This is a section 21 school.


12.1.1 School Nutrition Programme: The programme resumed in June 2011. Since that day there had not been any challenges with regard to the implementation of this programme. Learners were fed on time.


12.1.2 Learner Teacher Support Material: Learners benefited from the programme. The learner support material including textbooks were delivered to the school. The schools purchases textbooks direct from the bookshops. This was aimed at preventing delays that school experiences when material had to be delivered. The approach of buying direct from bookshops helped the schools in preparing for the annual assessments. The school used a catalogue to ensure that the study material was in line with the curriculum.


12.1.3 Scholar Transport: the school does not benefit from the programme. This specific school was in dire need of this programme. Learners in this school cross rivers when commuting between the school and the village.


12.1.4 Discipline: The school had developed a disciplinary code of conduct. Educators were also required to adhere to the code of conduct by being in school on time, teaching. The school management team monitors the implementation of the code of conduct to ensure that there was discipline. The school governing body was part and parcel of the stakeholders that are responsible for the implementation of the code of conduct.


12.2        Challenges


The following were highlighted as challenges:


i.         There was a lack of proper infrastructure such as a library and laboratories.

ii.       Insufficient number of classrooms.

iii.      No proper ablution facilities and school shares such facilities with the community.

iv.      No proper fencing and this leads to vandalism.

v.        The moratorium on the employment of temporary teachers posed a huge challenge.

vi.      Some of the classrooms had leaking roofs.

vii.     There was a general lack of discipline amongst learners.

viii.   The area where the school was located was in an area where there was high crime rate.

ix.     Despite the fact that there were no proper sport facilities, the school had been performing well in terms of extra mural activities.

x.       A number of learners came from child headed homes. This lack of parental

xi.     Involvement had an impact on their academic performance.


12.3      Responses to the challenges


Members of Parliament, Members of the Provincial Legislature and Officials from the National Department of Basic Education deliberated on the engagements and responded as follows:


The district and provincial head office was aware of the challenges at Mgcawezulu Senior Secondary School. It transpired during the meeting that the school appeared on the list of the schools that needed renovations. It was only roofing that had been listed as a challenge.


It transpired during the meeting that the responsibility to build schools resided with provinces. The national department assisted only where there was a need. The funds allocated to schools had to be used for their intended purposes. The department of education infrastructure unit can only provide structures and not furniture.


The schools used its allocated budget to purchase stationery.


The school signed an agreement with social development and health department. This was aimed at addressing the challenges of drug abuse by learners. Workshops had also been conducted with the intention of warning learners on dangers of drug abuse.


The department of education both at national and provincial level has a responsibility to support educators on both curriculum and professional development. The provinces have good development programmes and in most cases the challenge is not on the programme itself but on the implementation of the programme.


The number of changes in senior management and political leadership in the past 16 years has not assisted the development in the province.


The department of education in the province is working on programmes to establish links with Municipalities and Public works department with the intention of sharing infrastructure programmes.


13.        Engagement at Nomandla Primary School, Libode


This is one of the mud schools that the department of education was ordered by the Bhisho High Court to fix. A new temporary structure has been completed. This is part of the agreement between the department of education and the schools. In terms of the agreement, the schools were to be given mobile classrooms, water tanks and enough desks. The purpose of the visit to the school was to inspect and observe the extent of progress made thus far on the construction of the temporary classrooms, school nutrition programme, scholar transport and infrastructure.


13.1.1 School Nutrition Programme:  the company that previously responsible for implementing this programme experienced challenges of late payments. This year the programme has been running smoothly. The service provider is a local company. No delays in processing payments. The programme resumed in February 2011.


13.1.2 Leaner Teacher Support Material: the school is a section 21. This is one of the schools that purchases textbooks direct from the bookshops.


13.1.3 Scholar transport: the school does not need this service. All learners that attend the schools reside within the jurisdiction of the school. No reported cases of learners that cross the river or bush to get to school.


13.1.4I Infrastructure, water and sanitation: the school is relying on water tanks that have been provided by the O R Tambo District Municipality.


13.2 Challenges


The following were the challenges that the delegation discovered:


i.         The access road that links the school with the village was in a bad state making it impossible to get to the school during the rainy season.

ii.       The construction of the temporary structure is still in progress.

iii.      Due to shortage of classrooms, some classes are combined. At one stage in 2009 the foundation phase class was accommodated at a community household. This was not an easy situation to manage.

iv.      There is no parental involvement as some learners don’t submit their home work on time.

v.        The school has access to the first aid kit but no one has been trained to use the kit.

vi.      Learners struggle to leaner in English as soon as they get to the inter-immediate phase.

vii.     There is high rate of learners dropping –out of school.

viii.   There is a challenge of teenage pregnancy.

ix.     There were no proper ablution facilities.


14         Engagement at Sompa Primary School, Libode


The school was situated on a hill. It’s difficult to get to the school when it is raining. This is one of the mud schools that are currently under construction. The temporary structure is in the process of being completed.  The school governing body proposed that the school be moved from the current location.


14.1.1 Scholar transport: the school does not need this service. All learners that attend the schools reside within the jurisdiction of the school. No reported cases of learners that cross the river or bush to get to school. Although the school did not apply for this programme in 2010, an amount of money was allocated to the school. The school used those funds to purchase furniture.

 14.1.2      School Nutrition Programme: the school is benefiting from the programme. The programme resumed in April. This is after the programme was suspended in January 2011. There is no proper place to prepare food for learners. Food gets prepared outside the schools premises and this has a negative impact on teaching and learning.

14.1.3       Infrastructure, water and sanitation: the school relies on water tanks that have been provided by the Municipality. The tanks came as part of the temporary structures that were put in place.

14.1.4       Learner Teacher Support Material: The leaner support material was delivered on the 03 June 2011.

14.1.5       Academic performance: the overall performance of the school is not bad, however there is a room for improvement.

14.1.6       Scholar transport: the school does not need this service. All learners that attend the schools reside within the jurisdiction of the school. No reported cases of learners that cross the river or bush to get to school.


14.2    Challenges


The school has a challenge of absenteeism. This occurs during rainy season. Because the school is located on the hill, it becomes difficult for motor vehicles to get to school.


The workshops for teachers that are scheduled during school time disrupt teaching and learning.


The clinic is far from the school. In this case the school informs the parent in cases where a leaner needs to be visit a clinic. The school provides money for transport.


The school has had instances where learners are kidnapped through “ukuthwala custom” (force young girls into marriage).


The delegation was concerned that although it became clear that challenges may be experienced when the permanent structure of the buildings is constructed, the issue of relocating the school to another area is not an option as the community members concurred that the school can not be relocated.


14.3 Responses to the challenges


Mr Chief Director responsible for infrastructure programme indicated that the school is one of seven (7) schools that are on the list of the infrastructure prgramme. The programme of putting up temporary structures also includes fencing of the schools and providing water and proper sanitation.











15.        The following are key Findings Emerging from Engagement with Key Stakeholders and School Observations


15.1.          All key stakeholders support the intervention. However, the implementation of it appears to be the problematic. In particular, the stakeholders want the intervention processes to be collaborative.

15.2.          What emerged strongly is that the intervention team is excluding other key stakeholders including the ECDE itself.

15.3.          Lack of clarification of roles (for different stakeholders) role players in the intervention

15.4.          Frustration amongst key role players such as the Portfolio Committee, Auditor General and other stakeholders, which impacts negatively on the intervention process.

15.5.          There was a need to ensure that the review of the quintile system that is in process eliminates inconsistencies in the current classification of schools.

15.6.          There was a need to strengthen intergovernmental relations in order to facilitate effective service delivery particularly in services that cut across jurisdictional boundaries. This included the need for schools to improve relations with municipalities and make inputs on their Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) in order to ensure that municipal services are provided to schools.

15.7.          There is a need to ensure that outstanding learner support material, including workbooks are delivered to schools as a matter of urgency in order to facilitate effective learning and teaching. In future the department should ensure that all learner support material is delivered before the reopening of schools.

15.8.          The Department should monitor schools to ensure that they use allocated funds for intended purposes.

15.9.          The Department of Education at provincial, national, district and circuit level needs to improve relations and communications with schools to ensure that teaching and learning takes place with fewer disruptions.

15.10.      There is an urgent need for the PC on education in the province to be brought on board in terms of the intervention processes and decisions that are unfolding. The chairperson of the PC on provincial education was just not happy about the way the processes is unfolding because the committee is not consulted on these issues, including the signed intervention MoU

15.11.      The National DBE should ensure as a matter of urgency that there is consultation cooperation and collaboration throughout the intervention process

15.12.      There is also a serious need for key stakeholders to be consulted on the processes and decisions of the intervention. The PC on Education in the province is seriously offended by the fact that the Minister does not consult it on intervention matters.

15.13.      The problem of scholar transport around King Williams Town district is still continuing. It is therefore very urgent for the Intervention Task Team to address the situation.

15.14.      Section 21 schools seem to be better off in terms of procurement processes and LTSM. It would therefore be advisable or recommended for the Department of Basic Education to look into the possibility of moving Section 20 schools to Section 21.

15.15.      The infrastructure situation in the Eastern Cape Province is appalling as seen in schools such as Nomandla and Sompa primary schools. It is therefore imperative for the ASIDI programme to be speeded up.

15.16.      Lack of trust between the PC/ECDE and the head of the intervention task team, e.g. the chairperson of the PC said: “we cannot give our money to a stranger” referring to the head of task team.

15.17.      The main cause of the problem to the smooth running of the intervention is the tug-of -war between the head of the task team and the HOD.

15.18.      The Eastern Cape Provincial Cabinet (EXCO) is fed-up with the instability within the province particularly with regard to the intervention to an extent that it took a resolution that the intervention task team must leave the province until a political decision has been taken on the intervention.

15.19.      Poor monitoring and evaluation of teaching and learning processes or visibility at school by education officials.


16.        Recommendations


Having been briefed by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and having conducted an oversight visit to the Eastern Cape (EC) and interacting with various role players and stakeholders, including the Eastern Cape MEC for Education; the Chairperson and Members of the provincial Portfolio Committee of education; the HOD and officials of the EC Department of Education (ECDE); the Convener of the intervention Task Team; officials of the EC Department of Roads and Public Works; various education teacher unions as well as principles, educators, representatives of learners, parents and members of school governing bodies of certain schools in Bhisho and in Libode in the Eastern Cape, the Select Committee on Education and Recreation recommends as follows: 


16.1)          That the National Council of Provinces supports and approves the intervention by the Department of Basic Education in the Eastern Cape Department of Education in terms of Section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution;

16.2)          That the intervention be conducted in the spirit of cooperative governance with the Eastern Cape Province remaining the key pillar of service provision and without displacing the provincial sphere of government and with a collaborative approach to provide support and direction to the provincial department of education and to bring about a sustainable turnaround and to ensure efficient and effective delivery of educational services in the province;

16.3)          That the affairs of the provincial department of education be investigated as a matter of urgency to establish whether any provisions of the Public Finance Management Act or any other legislation have been contravened and also that allegations of fraud, corruption and mal-administration in the department likewise be investigated urgently and that appropriate action and steps be taken against any perpetrators swiftly;

16.4)          That the Department of Basic Education in collaboration with the ECDE provide the Council with:

(a) a comprehensive problem analysis which also sets out the root causes of the challenges; (b) the final intervention plan, indicating the corrective measures taken or to be taken to address the challenges;

(b) details of the functions and/or responsibilities that have been assumed or taken over and by whom it was assumed or taken over, as well as details of all delegations of powers, functions or duties and to whom it was delegated;

(c) A comprehensive report within 14 days on the progress since the intervention began and thereafter provides the Council with quarterly reports on the progress from time to time;

(d) an audit of all backlogs in respect of proper school infrastructure and facilities or a lack thereof as well as a comprehensive programme with timeframes to eradicate same, including the eradication of mud schools, and thereafter provide the Council with quarterly reports on the progress in eradicating such backlogs or the lack of infrastructure or facilities from time to time; 

216.5)      That Council reviews the intervention regularly and make further recommendations to the national executive if and when necessary.




The delegation, led by Ms M W Makgate MP, thanked the Members of the Provincial Legislatures, Provincial Departments of Education and the National Department of Basic Education for the support given during the oversight visit.





Report to be considered.












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