Minister of Basic Education Budget Speech, response by EFF, IFP & FF+


22 Jul 2020

Department of Basic Education , Angie Motshekga, delivered her Budget Vote Speech on 22 July 2020


Honourable Speaker / Deputy Speaker

Cabinet colleagues and Deputy Ministers present Honourable Members

Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me, on behalf of the entire Basic Education Sector, thank the National Assembly for inviting us to table our 2020/21 adjusted budget at this 2020/21 Debate on Vote 16 – Basic Education in this House.

But before I get into the business of the day, it is critically important that we recognise and give respect to the dearly departed, Isithwalandwe, Seaparankwe ubaba Andrew Mlangeni. We agree with His Excellency, President Ramaphosa that the passing of bab’ uMlangeni, signifies the end of a generational history. His generation of leaders, was indeed a reservoir of knowledge, wisdom and sanity. We will surely miss their advice and counsel. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace; and the family be comforted.

Basic Education Sector priorities for the Sixth Administration

Speaker and the Honourable Members, you may also recall that during 2019/20 Debate on Vote 14, we reported that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), had approved the cardinal Sector priorities, intended to lay a solid foundation for a quality and efficient education system, as well as to continue contributing in providing permanent solutions to the architecture of the education and training system of our country

2020/21 adjusted budget allocation, Vote 16 – Basic Education

Speaker and Honourable Members, while we were either piloting or implementing our strategic policies, programmes and interventions, to propel the basic education system to greater heights, the country and the entire world was engulfed by the novel Coronavirus pandemic; bringing with it, an abnormal “new normal”. Part of this “new normal”, had to be the adjustments that were made to budget allocations earlier appropriated for the 2020 MTEF period. The DBE and its State organs endured budget cuts, similarly to other departments and State organs. Hence, we are tabling our 2020/21 adjusted budget at today’s Debate on Vote 16 – Basic Education in the National Assembly.

-Firstly, the initial overall 2020/21 budget allocation for the DBE before adjustments, was just over twenty-five point three billion Rands (>R25.3 billion); an increase of 3.3% from last year’s baseline.

-However, after the adjustments, the overall 2020/21 budget allocation for the DBE, was reduced to over twenty-three point two billion Rands (>R23.2 billion); which is a decrease of 5.3% for last year’s baseline.

-Therefore, the total reduction after the adjustments from the initial 2020/21 budget allocation, is just less than two point one billion Rands (<R2.1 billion); which is equivalent to 8.3% reduction from the original 2020/21 budget allocation before adjustments.

-Secondly, the initial overall allocation for 2020/21 Conditional Grants for the DBE before adjustments, was just under nineteen point six billion Rands (<R19.6 billion), an increase of 5.4% from last year’s baseline.

-However, after adjustments, the overall 2020/21 budget allocation for Conditional Grants, was reduced to just over seventeen point two billion Rands (>R17.2 billion), which is a reduction of 7.5% from last year’s baseline;

-Therefore, the total reduction after adjustments from the initial budget allocation for the 2020/21 Conditional Grants, is just over two point three billion Rands (>R2.3 billion), which is equivalent to 11.7% reduction from the original 2020/21 allocation before adjustments.

- Thirdly, the overall allocation for 2020/21 Earmarked Funding before adjustments, was just over three billion Rands (>R3 billion), an increase of 7.1% from last year’s baseline.

-However, after adjustments, the overall allocation for 2020/21 Earmarked Funding, was reduced to just under three point five billion Rands (R3.5 billion), an increase of 2.5% from last year’s baseline.

-Therefore, the total increase after adjustments from the overall allocation for 2020/21 Earmarked Funding, is just over four hundred and thirty-three point three million Rands (>R443.3 million), an increase of 14.4% from the original 2020/21 baseline before adjustments.

-Fourthly, the overall allocation for the 2020/21 Other Transfer payments before adjustments, was just under one point six billion Rands (R1.585 billion), an increase of 2.5% from last year’s baseline.

-However, after adjustments, the overall allocation for the 2020/21 Other Transfer Payments, was reduced to just under one point six billion Rands (R1.581 billion), a decrease of 2.2% from last year’s baseline.

-Therefore, the total decrease from the overall allocation for the 2020/21 Other Payment Payments, is just under four point seven million Rands (R4.7 million), which is equivalent to 0.3% reduction from the original 2020/21 baseline before adjustments.

Strategic realignment of the Basic Education Sector

Speaker and Honourable Members, we wish to remind this House that our Action Plan to 2020: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030, giving expression to our cardinal Sector priorities, is anchored on the noble declaration of our world-renowned Constitution, that basic education is an unfettered right for all; the directive of the National Development Plan (NDP), Vision 2030, which expects that “by 2030, South Africans should have access to education and training of the highest quality, leading to significantly improved learning outcomes”; as well as reflects the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG4, which calls for “an inclusive, quality and equitable education and lifelong opportunities for all”.

Therefore, the Constitution, the NDP, as well as the continental and international conventions, provide the moral imperative and a mandate to Government to make the social justice principles of access, redress, equity, efficiency, inclusivity and quality educational opportunities, widely available to all citizens. We continue to roll-out our plans, projects, programmes and interventions to ensure that the social justice principles, which characterise the basic education system; are implemented. This, we must continue to do, despite the challenges we face, including the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic

On the first Priority, namely, “Strategically ramping up the provision of Early Childhood Development (ECD), particularly the urgent implementation of the two-years of ECD prior to Grade 1; and the relocation of 0-4 year-olds from the Department of Social Development to Department of Basic Education” –

-To cater for the two years of ECD prior to Grade 1, section 3 on compulsory attendance of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996) is in the process of being amended through the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill, to cater for the compulsory attendance – first, in Grade RR by learners turning five

(5) years of age; and second, Grade R by learners turning six (6) years of age.

-The Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) is supporting the DBE and DSD to ensure a smooth and seamless relocation of ECD delivery for the DSD to the DBE; firstly, by conducting the ECD function diagnostic assessment to determine the resources connected to the ECD function in DSD at the national and provincial levels, and any data and assets associated with the ECD function; and secondly by conducting a readiness assessment for the DBE to receive the ECD function at both national and provincial levels. The Diagnostic report will be completed before the end of September 2020; and DBE Readiness Assessment Report before the end of November 2020.

- An ECD Think Tank, comprising of a group of experts from Government, academia, NGOs and civil society, has been established. In the main, the Thank Tank will assist in finding solutions to some of the challenges facing the ECD sector, and to provide guidance on how Government can achieve a transformed

ECD sector. The Think Tank will also provide inputs into the draft National ECD Framework, and planned implementation plan of the framework.

On the second Priority, namely, “The strategic implementation of a curriculum with skills and competencies for a changing world in all public schools” –

-The DBE has developed the Coding and Robotics Curriculum for Grades R-9, which is currently been repackaged to ensure proper sequencing and seamless progression from one phase to the next. We are planning that the repackaging process will be completed by the end of July 2020; after which this curriculum will be presented to Umalusi for approval. Training for teachers and subject advisors will be conducted online, because of the COVID- 19 pandemic. We are grateful to the ETDP SETA for making available seven million Rands (R7 million) for this training.

-We are working hard to strengthen our skills development initiatives through the Three-Stream Curriculum Model. Our partnership with Ford Motor Company, will see a total of 240 engines donated to Technical Schools offering Automotive as a subject.

- In our efforts to provide every school with ICT devices, loaded with digital content, the DBE, in partnership with Mobile Network Operators, have completed the audit of all 477 special schools. We have also finalised the implementation plan with the Mobile Network Operators, to provide all these schools with devices, connectivity, digital content, as well as ICT integration training for teachers.

-The Department, in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, has identified 152 sites in 76 education districts, to equip them with Virtual Classroom infrastructure. Through this initiative, the Sector will fully embrace the digital revolution of remote learning. Districts will be able to benefit, through curriculum specialists’ streamed lessons on digital platforms.

-Development of History for Grades 4-12 –The development of the History Curriculum for Grades 4-14 started in 2019, and the

Ministerial Task Team anticipates to complete this process in 2023. In 2019, the Ministerial Task Team developed a framework that would guide the curriculum development process, and embarked on a consultation process with History curriculum specialists, to identify new content, topics and concepts around which in-depth research will be commissioned.

-Introduction of KiSwahili, as the Second Additional Language (SAL) – The process of incrementally refocusing the teaching and learning of the previously marginalised African Languages in South African schools, has led to the introduction of KiSwahili as a Second Additional Language (SAL) in Grades 4-12 in 90 schools (10 per province). The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) for Kiswahili SAL for Grades 4-9, has been versioned and the Kiswahili Toolkit has been developed for the respective Grades. The restructuring of the History curriculum, the introduction of KiSwahili as the Second Additional Language, and the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) are part of the DBE’s responses towards the Decolonisation of the curriculum.

On the third Priority, namely “Dealing decisively with the quality and efficiency through the implementation of standardised assessments at Grades 3, 6 and 9; and offer the General Education Certificate (GEC) before the Grade 12 exit qualification – a pronouncement of the first White Paper on Education and Training (1995), intended to reduce the failure and drop-out rates, and direct learners through different education and training pathways” –

-General Education Certificate (GEC): The policy framework for the introduction of the General Education Certificate (GEC) has been drafted, and submitted to Umalusi for review and approval. Work has been commissioned on a blueprint for assessment options, that will inform learners, teachers, parents and the system about the suitability of learners to undertake an academic, vocational or occupational track in senior secondary school (Grades 10-12). Initial field trials on the assessment components are expected to be finalised in the next 12 months; and the first roll- out of the GEC is scheduled for 2023.

-National Assessment Framework (NAF): The Department has drafted a National Assessment Framework (NAF), which will serve to coordinate all assessments conducted in the General and Further Education and Training Bands. A basket of purpose-driven assessments from school entry (Grade R) to Grade 9, has been designed for implementation during the Sixth Administration. These assessment programmes and our participation in international benchmark assessments (TIMSS 2019, PIRLS 2021 and SEACMEQ V), will be implemented according to our current Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), and the Department will be able to provide regular reports on the progress the Sector is making. In addition, the assessments and public examination system in the FET Band, is also being reviewed, so that it can be aligned with the National Assessment Framework.

-Systemic Evaluation: A significant intervention of the National Assessment Framework, is the roll-out of the Systemic Evaluation initiative, targeted at establishing key learner competencies in Mathematics and Languages at the end of Grades 3, 6 and 9; and finding out what are the enabling school and system support factors that contribute to the improvement of learning outcomes. The first cycle of the Systemic Evaluation, is scheduled for administration in 2022.


Speaker and Honourable Members, may we state the obvious, that as a Sector, we are as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as all members of society are affected. In fact, we are a microcosm of communities, in which our schools are located. It is appropriate to show respect to the families of our school communities whose members had succumbed to the virus. May their souls rest in eternal peace. We also wish those, who are currently infected by the virus, a speedy recovery. We implore everyone to strictly observe the health, safety and physical distancing protocols, determined by the Department of Health.

We can report that we have escalated our consolidated report from the broad consultations we had conducted with all national stakeholders, partners, civil society organisations with a vested interest in our Sector, to the Inter-Ministerial Disaster Management Committee, the National COVID-19 Command Council (NCCC), and Cabinet for consideration. We will soon come back to report on the recommendations and directives of Cabinet.

At all times, we must remind ourselves about what President Ramaphosa said in his 2019/20 SONA – that we must “reimagine and build the South Africa we yearn for, a South Africa of our dreams”. There is no doubt in our minds, that our country has indeed ushered in the “new dawn”, a period characterised by selfless public service, hope and renewal; despite the “new COVID-19 normal”.

We wish to thank His Excellency President Ramaphosa, members of the NCCC and Cabinet; as well as the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee for their principled leadership and professional advice, especially during this time. We must take our hats off to the South African Human Rights Commission, our world-renowned scientists, and our health and education experts for their support and counsel.

We wish to thank our sister departments and their State institutions, especially Rand Water, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), our State institutions, partners, stakeholders and civil society organisations, the NECT, our teacher unions, the national SGB associations, the principals’ associations, national organisations responsible for learners with special needs, as well as independent schools’ associations.

We wish to thank the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, the Whippery, and the Honourable Members of this august House, especially our Chairperson and the Honourable Members of our Portfolio Committee for your continued robust and constructive engagements. We must acknowledge the members of the Council of Education Ministers and their respective Heads of Departments, who will remember 2020, as the year of real trials and tribulations in the Sector. But more importantly, we will go through the years as a cemented and socially cohesive unit.

Finally, I wish to thank the Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule; the Director-General and his senior officials, the Ministry staff, and my family for their selfless support and cooperation.


I thank you


Department of Basic Education , Deputy Minister Reginah Mhlaule, gave her Budget Vote Speech on the 22 July 2020

Honourable House Chairperson

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee and Honourable Members Minister of Basic Education, Mme Angie Motshekga

Members of the National Executive present Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen Sanibonani

Honourable speaker, we woke up this morning to the sad news of the passing of Bab Andrew Mekete Mlangeni, the last of the Rivonia Trialist, recipient of the Presidential Order for Meritorious Service: First Class and Isithwalandwe/Seaperankwe – the highest honour of his beloved organisation, the African National Congress which recognised his outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle that held to our democratic dispensation in 1994. Let me join the President in sending condolences to the Mlangeni family, fellow comrades and the people of South Africa for this great loss.


We’ve also learnt that a number of honourable members of this very house have tested positive with the Coronavirus in the last few weeks. We remain grateful for those who have already made a full recovery and send our prayers for all those who are currently in the fight against this virus and hope for their speedy and full recovery. .

Honourable House Chairperson, an education can enables humanity to make a better tomorrow. It is only education that makes us dream, and go on to achieve greatness. It is within this context of the all-encompassing power of education that informed our decision to reopen school in these uncertain times of a global health pandemic. It is and remains a calculated risk not just to rescue the 2020 academic year, but to save a whole generation.

New research from the Stellenbosch University academics is suggesting that without rigorous catching up, the skills of Grade 12 graduates would be lower than in the no- pandemic scenario for a decade up to 2031. In contrast, the catching up scenario if done right, takes the quality of graduates back to the no-pandemic trend by 2023, researchers’ say. This is just one reason why we have resolved to gradually, grade- by-grade reopen our schools.

We convene today under the circumstances, not of our choosing, but those imposed on us by the global heath pandemic which has placed us in a new normal. Thus, our reopened schools offer a new frontier against the pandemic as they are repurposed as epicentres of surveillance, screening, and contact tracing, and testing of cases that would otherwise have fallen through the cracks. The Covid-19 storm that threatens to engulf us and reverse the gains of the recent past in our basic education sector must not be allowed to do so.

We are steadfast in our resolve that the Covid-19 pandemic won’t be allowed to reverse the gains of the National Democratic Revolution. Ours is a historical mission to bring about a new society built on the ashes of our ugly past. We are battle- hardened as former anti-apartheid activists. We insist that as headwinds threaten to stall our march to victory, no child should be left behind. We made a revolutionary vow never to flinch in the face of adversity. As a result, we remain committed to the call of the National Development Plan (NDP) that basic education must play a greater role in building an inclusive society, providing equal opportunities and helping all South Africans to realize their full potential, in particular those previously disadvantaged by apartheid policies, namely black people, women and people with disabilities.

Honourable Members, the Covid-19 battle has re-educated us all on the fundamentals of basic hygiene practises such as hand-washing with soap and the additional use of 70% alcohol-based sanitisers, wearing face masks correctly and social distancing. These are non-pharmaceutical measures which will assist our fight against this global pandemic as we learn to co-exist this virus.

This period of uncertainty offers us an opportunity to craft a post-COVID-19 basic education social compact. It must be built on the back of the solid success of the last twenty-five years. It was no surprise that the Class of 2019 achieved the historic 81.3 percent pass rate. A record of 409 906 candidates passed the 2019 NSC examinations. This achievement is no mean feat considering that the matric pass rate moved from a low base of 53.4% in 1994 to around 60% in 2009, to above 70% pass rates in recent years. Thus the growth to the record-smashing 81.3 in 2019 was organic.

Even before the historic matric pass rate, the focus of the sector and even that of our critics had shifted. It had shifted mainly from policy uncertainty occasioned by the on- off curriculum changes, teacher vacant posts, underqualified teachers, and discord between us and the organised labour amongst others to about educational quality.

Honourable House Chairperson, let’s recap that the 2019 NSC passes for quintiles 1 to 3 (“no fee”) schools combined, stood at 248 960. The Bachelor passes achieved by learners in "no fee" schools stood at 96 922 – an increase of 14.4% from 2018. The poignancy of this increase lies in what research tells us, that in 2005, 60% of the Bachelor passes, came from the best performing 20% of the schooling system. However, with the introduction of pro-poor financing of the education system, in 2015, "no fee" schools, produced 51% of the Bachelor passes, which increased to 55% in 2019. Therefore, the significance of this, is that the gap between the Bachelor passes produced by "no fee" schools versus those produced by fee-paying schools have significantly and progressively increased from 2% in 2015 to 10% in 2019. This was a remarkable achievement based solid foundation since 1996.

Honourable Members, whereas from 2015 to date, greater equity and redress imperatives are systematically addressed, inequalities remain in the system. However, major strides have been recorded since the rollout of pro-poor policies such as no-fee schools, nutrition, scholar transport, and health services amongst others, these have shifted the balance of forces at the school level in favour of the marginalised learners.

All these interventions, which are called the "social wage" by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), have improved access, and retention of learners in schools, thus promoting equity and quality immeasurably. This is indeed a very encouraging development for our country.

Honourable House Chairperson,

Under Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring.

In the last decade of the NDP, we are accelerating progress based on this solid foundation. Our vision of the post-COVID-19 basic education is anchored on the immediate implementation of a curriculum with skills and competencies for a changing world. This is to meet the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through the ICT roll-out; as well as the introduction of Entrepreneurship, and the building of Focus Schools. At the heart of the post Covid-19 basic education roadmap is the elimination of the digital divide by ensuring that all schools and education offices have access to the internet and free data.

During this financial year, the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme (PSRIP): Through the DBE’s Primary School Reading Improvement Programme, direct curriculum support is provided to 30 000 teachers of English, First Additional Language from Grades 1-6 across all nine provinces. The training of Subject Advisers and School Managers has been moved to an online platform, to specifically support teachers with curriculum catch-up as well as psychosocial and health safety guidance associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Curriculum support materials, such as reading texts for learners, and videos clips for parents and teachers, are being distributed via social media. In addition, Reading has been packaged into the trimmed Annual Teaching Plans (ATPs), amongst others, as one of the fundamentals to be prioritised.

However, none of these plans will make a lasting impact if the envisioned new basic education doesn’t accelerate progress in the decolonisation of the curriculum. This shall be done through the teaching and promotion of African languages, South African and African History as well as national symbols to all learners up to Grade 12. The decolonisation mantra is rooted in a recognition of the turbulent history of our country. I am happy to report that work on this front is at the advanced stage.

To succeed Honourable members, we need a new type of teacher. Thus, under programme 3: Teacher, Education Human Resource and Institutional Development, we will improve the professionalism, teaching skills, subject knowledge, and computer literacy of teachers throughout their entire careers. This will enhance our singular focus on improving the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy, especially “reading for meaning.” Our new National Reading Plan provides an excellent explanation of the various aspects of our reading problem.

As the National Reading Coalition works with partners to coordinate successful reading initiatives both nationally and at circuit level. It is raising the profile of reading across 222 education circuits (25% reach) through the provision of reading resources to schools and communities, and through the implementation of community-based activities, aimed at stimulating a culture of reading across the county. The Coalition has also responded to the pandemic by making available readers through a number of e-platforms, which have been publicised widely.

Honourable members, to ensure sustainable progress on quality, Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services, Cabinet has decided as you already know that the function of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) shifts from the Social Development to the Basic Education. The newly revamped ECD sector is in the making. We have made a conscious decision that the building blocks of our envisioned basic education, post Covid-19, must strengthen the foundations of early learning. This calls for the institutional transformation of the early childhood development sector.

The function shift allows us to reimagine the whole concept, meaning, and delivery of early childhood education. To assist us in realising the reimagined ECD sector, the following process will be undertaken:

  • Convene an Inter-Ministerial Committee,
  • Various work streams are working on the cradle to grave plans for the reimagined ECD sector,
  • A draft of an Integrated National Strategy for the ECD Sector,
  • finalise the National ECD Framework specifying the roles and responsibilities of Basic Education, and develop a costed implementation plan,
  • Develop a long term financing strategy.

These plans will succeed only if we craft a new human resource plan for the ECD sector, including minimum norms and standards, and quality assurance plan.

In conclusion Honourable House Chairperson,

We have greatly improved the quality of our teachers. In 1994, only 54 percent of the African teachers were qualified, but today out of over 410 000 teachers, only a statistically insignificant number is still completing their qualifications. Interestingly, Honourable Members, nationally, the supply of newly qualified teachers had almost tripled over the five year period, growing from 5939 in 2008 to 25 877 in 2017. This is of course as a result of growing our timber through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme.

Some optimistic experts now expect South Africa to have a surplus of teachers soon. A further thirteen thousand Funza Lushaka bursaries have been awarded to student teachers, this year alone.

Let me take this opportunity to the thank the Minister of Basic Education, Mme Angie Motshekga for her sterling leadership in driving the sector during this very difficult and trying time in our country and the world.

Honourable members

If we pull together as a nation, we shall triumph. The war against Covid-19 is firmly in our hands.