The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: Until
when? Until the disciplinary process is over.
The Special Investigating Unit, SIU, has concluded the supply chain management process and has an assessment of them and has found that we have not been in adherence with what is required and we have contracted illegally - this particular individual I am talking about. Subsequent investigations have found that this is a matter that needs to be attended to. I can now report that the SIU issued summons on 26 November 2018 in the High Court in Limpopo division in Polokwane. Case number 720 918 for civil litigation to set aside a contract of a value of R2,2 billion in this regard.
The SIU has referred evidence to the construction industries, Construction Industry Development Board, CIDB, pointing towards the contravention of Construction Industry Development Board Act 6 of 2017 and the CIDB inquiry into the matter is ongoing.
The SIU has also requested that we undertake disciplinary measures and we have. Referrals have also been made to the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, which is looking into the matter.
An Interim Presidential Report was submitted to the Office of the Presidency on 30 October 2018. Corruption investigation dates have been extended with new information uncovered on a regular basis as we continue our investigation. The value of money assessment is being undertaken by the SIU. You will no doubt know that the SIU once again invaded the office of Lepelle in Limpopo seeking more information around this matter. We continue with the support of the NPA and the SIU to investigate this matter and bring it to finality.
The second part of the question is: When will the people of Giyani receive water from their taps? The responsibility of providing reticulation which is water from a secure dam into the household is the responsibility of the municipality. However we are mindful of the fact that there is a drought in this area and we have decided that we are going to provide the necessary support to Limpopo. We are going to upgrade a dilapidated 325 km bulk Nandoni Nsani Pipeline Water Treatment Works to ensure supply of clean water. We are hoping that the people in that area, very soon will be able to be provided with clean water. The date we have set ourselves is September 2020 to complete this pipeline. Thank you.
The hon Sihlwayi.
Hon Minister, the Constitution of South Africa
No. Hon Thring, I said the hon Sihlwayi.
Oh, I am sorry. I thought you ... I am sorry.
She is the one who asked the question, must ask the follow-up question first.
Are you alright, then we move on. Alright. The hon Mokgotho.
Hon House Chair and hon Minister, with the coronavirus epidemic that requires people to live a hygienic life, including washing hands and their food regularly: How are the people of these 55 villages in Giyani supposed to survive the virus? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: Well,
Cabinet has put together a team to work with the Minister of Health so that we deal with the matter of coronavirus should it come to our shores in full strength. We are working on this. This is part of the packages that we are going to be dealing with, providing each village with the necessary support; each school, hospital and church to make sure that this is provided for.
By when? I think it is an unfair question because you know the backlog that we inherited in this country when no water was provided for most of our people in our rural areas. We are required to provide that and this is what we are doing. We work seven days a week to make sure that we are providing clean water to our people. Thank you.
Hon House Chairperson, we want to take this opportunity to welcome the response of the Minister. However Minister, what we want to check as you interact with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs: How are you going to make sure that - because Giyani constitutes of 98 villages and now we are talking about 55. How are we going to make sure that the entire Giyani get water? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: Thank
you very much, for that question. Yes, we are mindful of the fact that the whole of Giyani needs to get water. At the moment what we are doing is providing the villages with an alternative form of getting water and this in the form of innovative technologies that are available to us. We are also providing tankers to these areas. However as I have indicated in my answer, we also want to replace the dilapidated 325 km bulk and upgrade Nandoni Nsani Pipeline Water Treatment Works to ensure that we have sustainable water. We are working on a regular basis to make sure that this is completed, but we will be using the necessary support system of other alternatives to water and providing tankers to those areas that are in Mopani and other affected areas. Thank you.
Minister, intervention by your department between 2015 and 2020 did not show any improvement in the delivery of water in the Mopani District Municipality. Sixty per cent of boreholes are nonfictional.
Minister, with your department's bad track record and your arrogance in answering our questions, I am not sure whether we can trust you in making any difference to the lives of the people of Giyani. Can you give us something else on how you are going to assist the people in that area?
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: Given
your arrogance, I wonder what our people will get out of you because this is the responsibility that you are also supposed to assist in. I do not know what you are doing. What I have been standing here and responding to, is what government is doing. I do not know what you are doing. It is not just Giyani that is short of water, it is people here in this province that you are not responsible for. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Order, hon members.
Chair, on a point of order.
Yes, hon member.
I am rising on a point of order on Rule 85(1) and (2) a member wishing to bring on an improper conduct to a member's attention of the House or improper motives on other members. It cast personal reflections upon a member; by the previous member ... It is unpaliamentary, Chair.
Alright. That is Rule 85(1).
[Inaudible.] But that is not the correct rule.
Thank you. Order, hon members.
House Chair, on a point of order.
Hon member, just a minute. Alright. What is your point of order, hon member?
House Chair, I just wish to point out.
I was supposed to have dealt with that one first.
But Chair it deals with what the hon MC Donald was attempting to do in the House. Chair, I believe that the hon MC Donald meant to rise on Rule 92(3a) and he rose on a wrong point.
Hon member, can I make a ruling. Hon MC Donald and hon member,I am the one who has to make a ruling. Hon MC Donald you rose on Rule 85(1) and you spoke about the unpaliamentary language and the unpaliamentary language is Rule 84. So, I am saying you should have stood on Rule 84 if it was unparliamentary language. Alright. Otherwise I will seek advice and come back. I will seek advice on that. Can we then continue hon members.
Hon Chairperson, the question has to do with the maternal and infant and child mortality. We have taken steps in making sure that there is reduction in both maternal and child mortality. According to the latest report from South African Medical Research Council released in January 2020, the maternal mortality ratio declined from a high of 198 per 100 000 deliveries in 2012 to 134 per 100 000 beds in 2018.
There are five major causes which lead to maternal mortality which we have been dealing with. This in simple terms we refer to them as the five "Hs" which we need to intervene to reduce maternal mortality. First one is hypertension, high blood pressure in other words. All pregnant women are given calcium supplements in order to prevent complications caused by high blood pressure which is called pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Introduction of four additional visits to antenatal care also helped.
The second H is called orthocentric haemorrhage. Introduction of innovations in management of women with orthocentric haemorrhage has also helped to reduce this complication. Also in ensuring availability of blood in every district hospital and a lot of number of other technical interventions which has also assisted.
The next H is that of HIV, Aids and TB. We have developed the last mile plan to accelerate the reduction of mother-to-child transmission and the early detection of HIV, TB and syphilis treatment. Pregnant women are initiated on life long antiretroviral treatment.
Health care worker knowledge is the next H. in this case we are providing a lot of training, skills development, such as helping mothers to breath, management of small and sick neonates and essential steps of management of obstetrics emergency. We are also conducting maternal and prenatal death reviews to establish possible modifiable factors which can help us to empower our health workers.
The last H is the health system strengthening in terms of quality improvement strategies in maternal and neonatal services and the implementation, amongst others, maternity waiting homes. These are some of the interventions which have resulted in the reduction of maternal mortality. On neonatal and infant mortality as well, this has declined even though we are still not happy with the extent of the decline from 208 per 1000 light beds in 2012 to 25 per 100 beds in 2018.
In this case, the causative factors are largely asphyxia, which is lack of oxygen. We have revised the intrapartum care guidelines to improve the monitoring of women in labour so that we reduce the gap where the baby does not get enough oxygen and, strengthening the availability of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, CPAP, in order to make sure that we help babies to breathe.
Prematurity is also a factor. In this regard, we have implemented the introduction of antenatal steroids during pregnancy in order to mature the lungs where there is a threat of premature delivery. We also recognised that most of our neonatal wards are overcrowded and also staff is overworked. It is a matter which we need to attend to.
Lastly, in terms of neonate, are infections. We have strengthened the implementation of guidelines to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmissions. In terms of child mortality as well which has declined ...
Thank you, hon
Thank you. [Time expired.]
Sihlalo weNdlu mandibulele kuSekela Mphathiswa ngempendulo ecace gca kodwa njengokuba sibona ukuba izinga lokusweleka koomama nabantwana, njengoko ebecacisile, lehlile, ingaba ikhona kusini na indima esiyibonayo kwiiMedico-legal claims? Ingaba liyehla kusini na izinga lamabango? Kaloku sakukhumbula ukuba izinga lokusweleka koomama nabantwana ibililo ebelixhome eli zinga kumamabango. Enkosi.
Hon Chair, the issue of Medico- legal claims is a major challenge to our health sector. These declines on their own do not translate into a reduction in the claims. In the sense that the large part of what we are facing in terms of these litigations, very few of them have to do with the immediate real current or the immediate past. If you look at many of those claims, you have the legal ... [Inaudible.] ... who goes around the residential areas, villages and townships looking for children who were born 20 years ago and then suing the state in terms of births that happened 15 to 20 years ago.
In that regard, we are strengthening our legal interventions in terms of record keeping and legal awareness because some of those are fraudulent. These interventions will translate into savings in terms of litigation some few years to come because what we are facing now is retrospective claims of what has happened some time ago. We are dealing with the litigation separately because it is not directly related to current performance of our health system. Thank you, Chair.
Deputy Minister, last year, 10 babies died at Tembisa hospital due to the hospital acquiring an infection. 10 families lost loved ones due to overcrowding that could have been prevented. The world has seemingly moved on. However, these families can never move on from this loss.
What steps has your department taken to investigate and to hold those accountable for the death of these children? But I would like you to be quite specific. How many people have been investigated? Have you informed the families? And, how far are you with investigations so that these families can begin to get closure of the loss they have suffered at the hands of this government? [Applause.]
Indeed hon member, we are working with our colleagues in Gauteng Provincial Health Department in identifying the positive factors. As you would know, the Human Rights Commission has also come into this. Therefore, one would want to venture very carefully, especially in responding in manners which could also overlap in the kind of area which is covered by the Human Rights Commission.
Our side of approach is really more in identifying the health related, as you have mentioned, issues of overcrowding, infection control and making sure that we can provide many more facilities so that we don't have this kind of overcrowding but also in improving interventions for infection control.
Going forward, we are working with our colleagues in Gauteng and other provinces to make sure that those basic non- negotiables, in terms of cleanliness and infection control are properly attended to. If there are any further steps which needs to be taken, our doors is open in making sure that these kind of tragedies can be avoided in future. Thank you, Chair.
Deputy Minister, now you talk about reducing the maternal mortality rates and in order to achieve that I think you need a by in from all provinces. Now let me give you a good example. Last week I visited an area, particularly in the Western Cape of Paarl. There is a host of clinics that have been shut down and people have to travel 10s of kilometres to go and get the service. These builders are standing empty but guarded by security guards. Now tell me Deputy Minister, what are these people, particular these pregnant mothers have to do, how do they travel? Most of them are unemployed and the clinics are closed. How are they going to protect themselves and help you to reduce the maternal mortality rate? Tell me, Sir.
Thanks to the hon Shaik Emam for that information. We will make a follow up because it is not something which is acceptable. When we are facing and rising burden of diseases and demand for services that any of our colleagues and partners in the providing of health services, should be closing down facilities. Everywhere else in the country, what we are working on is increasing access, increasing facilities and employing more staff, increasing more training, availability of equipments and so on. So, that is a matter that we will follow up with the relevant authorities in the form of the MEC and the Department of Health in the Western Cape to get to the bottom of this rationale.
We know that we are facing major budget cuts but we always try to caution ordinary people - the consumers of the services - to be cautioned against these cuts in funding. Thanks for the information. We will indeed make a follow up to get to the bottom of what is the rationale because it can't be good for the improvement of access. Thanks, Chair.
Deputy Minister, I want to ask that when will your department acknowledge that postnatal depression is one of the major child neglect, abandonment and also causes as an impact on children or infants dying.
What will the department do to take relevant steps and take precautionary measures to ensure that new moms who are mentally unfit are not allowed to leave with their children from the hospital when they don't have good support structures at home? Thank you.
On a point of order, Chair
Why are you rising, hon member?
I assume it's allowed to converse in the House but the hon member has been standing there for the past 30 minutes.
Okay, hon member. Can we continue hon members?
Hon Chair, indeed hon Chirwa is correct in the sense that as hon members would be aware that the issue of mental health has not received top priority in our health services because we are under pressure with other burden of diseases such as infectious disease and other non
communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In the process we have acknowledged that services for mental health have not received adequate attention. It is therefore true to say that it is one of the areas of mental health and postnatal depression which is a reality and in a basket of our improvement of quality and access to mental health services it is one of the areas that we need to increase our focus on. We can assure the hon member that in that basket of improvement of mental health services, we are indeed including postnatal depression as one of the areas of focus. Thank you, Chair.
Hon Chair, the hon member wants know whether we are ensuring appointment of employees properly. Indeed hon Chair and members, as the Department of Health we follow all the legal prescripts, the legal framework for appointments. We are not a department which works outside the existing framework which is amongst others prescribed by the Constitution of the Republic.
The Labour Relations Act of 1995, Employment Equity Act of 1998, Promotion of Administrative Justice Act of 2000, Promotion of Information Act of 2000, Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997, Public Service Act of 1994, as amended read in conjunction with the Public Service Regulations, the White Paper on Human Resource Management in the Public Service of 1997, Chapter Two of the Senior Management Service as well as the Minister of Public of Service and Administrations periodic directives on human resources management.
These afore mentioned legislative framework are not casting stone since departments and Ministers are also given delegations to develop their departmental recruitment and selection policies that meet their departmental requirements within the financial resources available.
Our department has put steps to comply with the legislative framework through its Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedure Manual read in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Service and Administration directives that are issued from time to time that guide the recruitment.
Hon Chair and members, I must also add that together with this we also rely on the Ministerial Handbook in terms of the appointment of role playing staff in the political offices. There is also clear guidelines in terms of role playing staff and we follow all these guidelines even on Ministerial Handbook approved by the Minister of Public Service and Administration and also by Cabinet and the President. These are all the prescripts which we follow in terms of the various categories of staff, whether in the department or in the Ministries, we follow all these prescripts. I can assure the hon member that indeed, we are very much compliant with all the rules and regulations. Thank you.
Sekela Mphathiswa ndiyavuya kuba uye wasifundela zonke ezi...
... pieces of legislation that you are relying on.
Njengokuba nawe usazi...
...the health industry loses about R20 billion a year to urhwaphilizo (corruption). This is money that could be used to fill critical vacancies such as nursing staff, community health workers and hiring of these doctors that we spoke about earlier. However, corruption has not been dealt with staidly by this government. Part of that is that appointment of close friends and families and those who are politically connected to the members of the executive are another way that this sector is robbed of good quality employees.
Considering all of that Deputy Minister, I would like you to please state categorically whether or not to the best of your knowledge, the Minister of Health has not appointed any family member in his personal office or anybody who is politically connected to him, and whether you can state on record that you, Deputy Minister have not appointed anybody who is related to you, whether closely or through an extended family or whether or not somebody who is going to be politically connected to you [Applause.]
Hon Chair, well it is a pity that hon Minister Mkhize had to go on a very urgent matter of national importance because he has adequately dealt with that issue [Interjections.] He has adequately dealt with that issue during the state of the nation address when that allegation was made [Interjections.]
I can state categorically that there is no such a thing. In fact your party also had to withdraw that allegation because it has got no substance. Now, you are repeating it here when it holds no water.
The hon member is the one who even took it to the media. The particular medial also had to retract that allegation. I have no doubt in saying that neither Minister Mkhize nor I can be accused of any such. It is a pity that the hon member not withstanding all the explanation is going around it again and again. Let us debunk that issue that is nonexistent. Thank you.
Hon Chair, hon Deputy Minister just for clarity regarding the new appointment in the Minister's office. I just want to know, was the relevant advertised? If not, why not? If so, where was it advertised? What number of candidates applied for the position? What number of interviews was conducted for this position? Thank you.
Hon Chair, let me help the hon member. That is why in mentioning various statutes and executive codes and so on I included the Ministerial Handbook which guides appointments. That is why I specifically mentioned role playing positions. If you - I do not know if, - maybe because the member has never been a Minister is not familiar with the fact that there positions called role playing positions in the executive office.
Those positions, you can advertise if you want to so that, that person can be considered in future for permanent employment. You can also identify qualified person of your choice and appoint them in the suitable position where they qualify without any competition. That person then is part and parcel of political support staff. When you go as the Minister or Deputy Minister, that person goes with you. Just for the education for the hon member [Applause.] That position does not have to be advertised if you go that way. I think you will learn something today. Thank you.
Sihlalo, Sekela Ngqongqoshe, ngiyadabuka nje ukukusho lokhu ukuthi sikhathazekile njengomphakathi ukuthi la ezindaweni lapho esihlala khona kuhlala njalo kunemigqa, kunakho konke ngoba abekho abantu abaqashiwe ukwenza umsebenzi. Ngikhuluma la ngabahlengikazi nodokotela ukuthi ufika njalo kunemigqa ngisho emakliniki, ezibhedlela le ezakithi emakhaya. Akwenzeki lutho ngoba abekho abantu abawulungele umsebenzi. Ngiyabonga.
Thanks to hon Hlengwa, indeed hon members we have never denied the fact that we cannot claim that all our facilities are fully staffed in terms of the needs of the service. I think even in my earlier comment I did mention that we are conscious of the fact that the distribution of key frontline staff is still a challenge because that is determined by the availability of the necessary resources for us to be able to fill.
In most cases it is not because the assessment of the needs has not been done. The assessment has been done. If you check in the books of those facilities, you will find that there are posts which have been approved in the frontline service area but because of the way in which our budget allocation has not always met the requirements; in most cases we are unable to fill those posts.
We are with innovative methods including making sure that in the clinics patients come in terms of appointments, especially those who are not emergencies; they can be properly given time and dates on which to come. Those who are stable can get their treatment outside through the various - where there are pharmacies and even in traditional authorities. We are working on those to reduce the queues, so that people who do not really require - and also through community health workers, some of them can be seen at home.
Going forward, we are not going to fold our arms and wait for increasing budget, we are coming with innovative methods, improving the filing system, making sure that people do not stay two or three hours waiting for a file. All those without even additional funds are going to reduce the long ques. Thank you.
Hon Deputy Minister, how has the Minister ensured that the appointment of employees in his office and the department are commensurate with the department's vision of ensuring and healthy life for all South Africans? Thank you.
Hon members, I think I touched on this earlier on. One of the things which we have also agreed on with our colleagues in provinces and I know some of them are quite advanced in identifying where we are spending a lot of money, especially at managerial level. There are some of our offices where you find that over time the managerial level the Senior Management Service, SMS, level has been exponentially increasing not in proportion to the frontline services.
We have agreed to review our structures in terms of that so that we have less and less top managers who earn higher salaries especially with improvement of technology, this doable. We are looking at that to reduce costs because for one deputy director-general position you can hire maybe up to five professional nurses. Those are the things which we are looking at in terms of - as the hon member is asking, the areas where we can strengthen the staffing, which will have a direct impact on the frontline services. This is our motto in terms of looking at how to make sure that our staffing actually talks to improving the quality of service. Thank you.
House Chair, the question was about the sanitation backlog in Chris Hani District and the answer is, when we did our investigation we picked up 272 schools that needed alternative sanitation in Chris Hani. Almost 60 of them will be delivered in this financial year. The next 100 of the 272 will be delivered in the 2020-21 and the last batch in the 2021-22 financial years, and this is informed by the budget we have been given by Treasury. Thanks, Chair.
House Chairperson, Minister, there is constant fights taking place between the tenderpreneurs of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu- Natal respectively and can also run through other provinces and with the service providers from the Department of Basic Education that would in the ultimate end delay the delivery of the expected toilets in schools. What would your intervention be, Minister?
Thank you very much member because what you are saying is absolutely true. There has been a major problem in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal in particular, which has hampered and delayed their work. We have reported the matter to Cabinet and fortunately in the Eastern Cape, working with the provincial government and the police, we have been able to open some process.
In KwaZulu-Natal it is actually a gridlock, same with Limpopo. So we are working with both the police and the province to help us deal with this because they are very murderous and I can readily reveal quite a number of horror stories around your radical economic transformation, RETs, because they call themselves, what do they call themselves again? They call themselves Amadelangokubona. [Seeing is believing] They have been a major problem but we are already working both with the police and the province and what they do, they would force prizes to go up but the long and short of it is that what you are saying is absolutely true and it has been a major problem in that area and it has caused lots of difficulties not only with sanitation but with infrastructure in general.
Can I ask further because the answer is not satisfactory.
I just would like to know what those interventions are.
... things that would be put in place
Hon Thembekwayo please ... [Interjections.]
Hon Thembekwayo, please ... [Interjections.]
Okay hon Shivambu, just wait a minute.
On a point of order.
Okay, I will allow you but let me address this one.
Okay, please do.
Hon Thembekwayo please whenever you want to raise something just raise your hand and I will recognise you then we continue with whatever that you want to raise. Hon Shivambu, why are you rising?
House Chairperson, on a point of order: We are asking questions here so that we can get answers. Hon Thembekwayo makes an observation and then asks the question of what is the department going to do. The Minister just stands up to confirm the observations. She doesn't say what is going to be done, and that is the issue that we are raising that let us get answers here. What is the purpose of asking questions if the Minister is not going to answer the questions? We want to know what is going to be done with the disruption of the infrastructure delivery, particularly pit latrines toilets that must be replaced.
Hon Shivambu, thank you very much. You have made your point, sir. Thank you very much. Can I address that? Thank you very much. Hon Shivambu, please. Hon members, a question has been asked to the Minister, the Minister has responded in a manner that she thinks is appropriate. I've got no right to dictate to her what she should say. I think the answer suffices. Thank you very much. Hon Van Der Walt? [Interjections.] Hon Mkhaliphi?
House Chairperson, I have a point of order. I think that you are going to throw back the question to the Minister. [Interjections.] Chairperson! Chairperson, let me continue. We have given sufficient time to the Minister to come with the answer. It is not a new question. So just ask the Minister to respond. It is your problem. Don't protect the Ministers here.
Hon Mkhaliphi! Hon Mkhaliphi, I am not going to do that but the Minister has answered the question. If members are not happy, please, you have requested my intervention and I am ruling on it. If members are not satisfied with the answer that the Minister is giving, you have your oversight responsibilities. There are ways in which you can address that but not this one. We cannot allow a conversation to occur. Hon members ...
... ngiyayivala lendaba.
House Chairperson, on a point of order: ...
What is your point of order, hon member?
... Yes, so the Minister has not answered ... [Interjections.]
Hon member, I have ruled.
... she has not answered. She repeated that what the hon member said was true. But, as to what the department is going to do, she has not answered. We need an answer, Chair. Don't protect these Ministers. Don't protect them.
Hon member, I have ruled. [Interjections.]
ILUNGU ELIHLONIPHEKILE: Uthe ubize amaphoyisa, awulaleli ntombazane. Awulaleli, uthe ubize amaphoyisa.
Hon member, please do not do that. It is uncalled for. It was uncalled for. Thank you hon Minister, you have answered the question. Where was I now? Mr Van Der Walt, is that you? Mrs, sorry about that, Hon Van Der Walt, you can continue.
Hon House Chairperson, Minister, the Eastern Cape by the department's own sanitation audit remains the province with the highest number of schools still using pit toilets. The total number is 1 598 schools. You've just referred to 272 in this specific area which will in the next year, though it is questionable if you couldn't have done 60 how you are going to do a 100 per year.
Since the President announced the Safe Campaign in August 2018, almost a year and a half ago, less than 10% or only 266 out 3 898 have benefited and we must now trust this government to complete the outstanding 90% plus to do it and deliver on it in just one year. What amount of the Presidential Golf Day as part of the Safe campaign will be allocated to these schools in the Eastern Cape? If none, why not? And where exactly will the funds then come from.
Chair, the question was specific. It asked about the Chris Hani District, that is why I responded to the 272. The fact that there are a 1 000 and something, it is a fact, you got it from us. So, I am not sure why you are throwing it back to me as if I am not aware because we did the audit. We gave you the answers. So, I was responding about the Chris Hani District Municipality and that is where the answer is. And if the member now to bring her information about the golf day, how much is going there, I can give her the information but I have not prepared about golf days and the budgets of those golf days but I do undertake to give her the answer on the golf day but this question was specific to Chris Hani that is why I answered on Chris Hani.
Sihlalo, Mhlonishwa uNgqongqoshe ...
... I would like to ask, with reference to the state of the nation address by the President of the country he said that government in the next six years will provide every school or every child in South Africa with a tablet in 2020 and also added bringing in coding and robotics to primary schools.
Now, in light of the budgetary cuts, how is this going to affect the roll- out of proper toilets in schools and also how is the department going to achieve all these but putting from a point that there are budgetary cuts in the department. Thanks.
IsiZulu: ... ngizophinda futhi, umbuzo ubukhuluma ngezindlu zangasese kwisifunda i- Chris Hani kodwa-ke uma sifuna ukukhuluma ngendaba yezimali eziphunguliwe uMgcinimafa awuzange ubuye kithi ithi iwuthathile lo-R700 million abssithembise wona nalo-1,2 billion osithembise wona. Ngakhoke lemali le yezenhlanzeko ihamba yodwa. Nalena yama-tablets imali ihamba yodwa futhi uma ilungu ifuna ngizothi ukuthi icebo lithini ngama-tablets ngingaphinda ngizoyicacisela ...
... but amongst other things that we have done is to start off with the private sector on their commitments for licensing and that is where we have started with the roll-out of tablets. We are working with the private sector in terms of robotics. Again, I can give you a full report, but for now, I can confirm that the money for sanitation has been guaranteed and has not been part of the budget cuts.
Hon Adoons! House Chairperson, thank you Minister for the response. My follow-up question is, what measures and resources are in place to ensure that schools that have been prioritised to receive infrastructure development are developed? And what are the timeframes for such a development? Thank you.
Chair, let me repeat that for sanitation we have identified the 4 000 schools, we have been given a budget of R700 million in this current financial year, next year R1,2 billion and that other year R800 million. So that money is secured and as a national department we are basically only responsible for the Accelerated Schools
Infrastructure Delivery, Asidi and also the Sanitation Appropriate for Education, Safe, and if a member wants me to give them the full report about the infrastructure plans in the sector, I can bring that report but I have to collect it from provinces because it is provinces who have the responsibility of building schools.
It is not a national competence and therefore I can undertake to bring that report but for now, we are only responsible for two projects, which Asidi, mud schools, not the entire infrastructure and Safe for sanitation which is also not the entire infrastructure but I can make an undertaking and give the member a full report from provinces on what their plans are. Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you, hon Chairperson and the hon member, Sokatsha. The question relates to a report by Commission for Gender Equality which was quite well publicised which made allegations that in some of our facilities, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, that HIV- positive women have been coerced into sterilisation.
Hon members, this allegation of coerced sterilisation of human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, pregnant women is very alarming and considered in a very serious light by the Ministry and the Department of Health. We cannot ignore such an allegation, it is very serious. However, the Department of Health wishes to state it categorically that there is no policy or guideline that has been issued that provides for sterilisation of HIV positive pregnant women, whether by consent to being sterilised or not. Being sterilised cannot be a precondition for delivering through a caesarean section.
Our polices are based on the Bill of Rights in our Constitution which states that everyone has a right to bodily and psychological integrity which includes; making decisions concerning reproduction, security in and control over your body and not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without informed consent. The only instance in which a clinician may not obtain informed consent from the patient is if the patient is not in a good mental state which precludes this or in the case where the patient is in comma. In these instances there would be still an informed consent obtained from the next of kin or in some cases from a court- appointed guardian. So, that is the law and the regulation.
The department had received this report from the Commission of Gender Equality. We also met with the chairperson, the deputy chairperson and the chief executive officer, CEO, of the commission. During the meeting, we raised a range of issues in an attempt to seek clarity including the copies of the affidavits that complainants deposed and details of how the investigation was conducted as the report did not contain these details. The chairperson of the commission promised to provide the additional details requested within two weeks. However, unfortunately up to now we have not received this report.
Therefore, this given, it limits our ability to really respond in detail. We have also requested our legal department to investigate this matter further. However, in order to better understand the nature and extent of the complaint and to take corrective action, we will establish - as a department - our own panel of independent experts including nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, and medical specialists to investigate the allegation including the whole issue of forced sterilisation. We will also request the people who were said to be the victims through a well publicised campaign to come forward and approach us and also where they need to do this in privacy, we also have approached the ombudsman person, Professor Makgoba, also to be available so that these matters can receive proper attention.
So, once this has been done, where there is transgression we will take appropriate steps if people have to be disciplined once there is clear information. Thus far, the Commission for Gender Equality has not helped in terms of providing clear information to us so that we can say that; it was in this hospital and this is the person who said this. It was very general in terms of the report which we received. We are awaiting their own confirmation of the details including the actual victims and the institutions where this happened. Then, we can be able to take appropriate action. Thank you, hon Chair.
Thank you very much, hon Deputy Minister for the progress that the department has made in terms of making sure that the issue is addressed. Deputy Minister, you have indicated that there is no policy on sterilisation, with or without consent of the patient and two provinces have been mentioned. Will the department further make sure that this practice has not been done in other provinces because it is only the two provinces that have been mentioned? What is the situation about other provinces? Thank you very much.
Chair, let me just correct to say that what I have said is that there is no policy which gives way to forced sterilisation and there is no policy also which says that an HIV positive pregnant woman when they deliver by caesarean section they must be sterilised. I just want to correct the hon member.
We do have legislation on sterilisation which guides all the health professionals. However, that legislation makes no provision for any kind of disease on which a woman comes to hospital to deliver and ends up in a caesarean section must be forced to be sterilised. That is just to clarify that. Indeed, this matter we are taking up not only limited to KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng but it is a matter that we are taking ... This panel that we are saying we want o put together will look across the country, not only in terms of where the report has mentioned because in case there might be other cases which have not been reported. We want to go to the depth of this matter so that it can be dealt with and be eradicated. If indeed it did happen as the report suggest, then we must get down to the culprits and deal with it once and for all. Thank you, Chair.
Deputy Minister, Commission for Gender Equality, CG, he has sent the Department of Health a series of recommendations on how to go about rectifying the human rights violations which forced women who were HIV positive to be sterilised. They have given the department detailed information and I know now that you dispute this on how these cases played out, but the CG also gave some practical steps on how you can begin to protect women, particularly, the vulnerable women from this kind of an abuse. One of the things that they did suggest in their report is that you need to amend the consent form so that it can be in different languages and so that there can be a cooling off period for women which is built into that.
That does not require you to institute an entire investigation before you can amend it. You can amend that form right now so that women - right now - cannot be subjected to such treatment. Have you done that? If not, why not?
Well, Chair, we are a department which is guided by a proper research and proper information. As I have said that I have the report with me and the recommendations from the Commission for Gender Equality. We have also met with them, there are number of other recommendations in terms of which they have proposed and should be taken by some of the entities like the Health Professions' Council, Nursing Council and so on. We have no problem even the issue of which the hon member is mentioning - you see - when we do intervene including; we must be able to identify. As we have said that we don't have any avenue or room through which any professional can claim that they misunderstood the current existing provisions. There is just no room for that.
We need to inform ourselves as to if a victim comes forward and explains exactly what they were told, we go to the particular practitioner who may claim that they misunderstood the current provision, then, we would be able to identify where the weakness are. However, we can't just wake up because there is a recommendation to amend without any proper substance. No, because we will be groping in the dark, we will make some amendments and then something else will happen. We need credible information which will then guide us in terms of where we need to intervene and what amendments need to be made, is it just a consent form, is it in the legislation and so on. This process, hon Gwarube, will help us to arrive at something which will be long lasting once we have credible information. Thank you.
Deputy Minister, what steps are being taken by the department to ensure that HIV positive women have access to sufficient counselling services to assist them with negative stigmatisation in general? Are there enough resources and programmes? I thank you.
Chair, indeed we acknowledge the fact that as much as a lot of progress has been made in reducing stigma - we have come a long way - if you think of where we were maybe 15 years ago - in terms of not only provision of treatment, counselling and testing - we know that while progress has been made the issue of stigma still remains a challenge. We acknowledge the hon member's concern. We are saying that every time we are doing our best to improve both quality and also quantity of access so that these services can be accessible in the rural areas, in the townships and everywhere in the farms and being of very good quality.
Indeed, that is an area which remains our focus. However, we are not starting from zero we are at the level where a lot of progress has been made we just need to improve and provide more access. Thank you, Chair.
House Chair, the question is around the migration of early child development, ECD, from the Department of Social Development to Education. I can report that work has started between ourselves and Social Development.
There is a memorandum of understanding, MOU, in place. There are structures working both at administrative and political level to ensure that we adequately prepare for this migration that has to happen. The first step is to initiate the legal part of it all. So, there are proclamations ready for the President to sign and also provincial MECs which will legally give the authority to the Department of Education to lead in this instance. We are also working with other departments which have a contribution in ECD; the Department of Health, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
In the meantime there is a process led by the Government Technical Advisory Centre, GTAC, and its function is to make sure that there is a technical team, because it is specified in the handbook, which has to look at function sheets within government and advice different departments on what to do and when. We are working close with them to make sure that there is a smooth transition.
We have established a number of work streams that prepares the system for the streams. Different provinces have started processes and they are at different levels but we are in communication with them. We also have very good facilitations because it is a very busy and congested area.
We are working with the National Education Collaboration Trust to help us consult and work with different stakeholders who are outside the system. We are also developing information systems and engaging different stakeholders, as I mentioned. We have convened meetings with ECD think tanks which involves people who are outside government and those working in government to make sure that we have an integrated ECD programme. We have had a number of round tables and there are meetings we have convened with different stakeholders.
In terms of preparation we have agreed with the Department of Social Development that we will use 2020 to consult and plan properly and then we will start practically migrating functions gradually from 2021 to 2024. So, we have given ourselves three years through which we can transit, but all the way we will be working with Social Development to make sure that it is a smooth transition. Thank you, Chair.
Chairperson, thank you to the hon Minister. I think you have answered my question adequately and with diligence. So, thank you very much.
Minister, last week the portfolio committee heard that research is still to be done on many factors of the ECD migration to your department. Actually, no answers could be given on any budget implication of it. I have actually asked why Treasury is not involved and it couldn't be answered. According to the President during his speech on 14 February this year during the Presidential Golf Challenge Fundraising Dinner, he said that funds raised have been allocated to special projects on ECD. Which projects was he referring to? Are they part of the migration and what amount will be allocated to these special projects? Thank you.
Chair, I just mentioned that we have agreed with Social Development that 2020 is going to be used for consultation and preparations and there is a GTAC process which includes Treasury. Because there are centres which are not run by government and there are those which we run and finance as government, the GTAC process is going to provide the final figures. That is why this year we are not able to takeover in terms of management.
We have just put work streams that are investigating and getting the necessary information. In the meantime we know things that have to be done to take us there. Amongst others is the training of ECD practitioners, resourcing of ECD centres, but more importantly is an audit of the ECD programme. Up to now Social Development was funding ECD centres only in areas where they operate and are identified as poor areas but as Education we are saying that ECD has to be accessible to every child. So, it is a different paradigm that we are moving from and therefore we need a whole year to investigate and work out.
Work in terms of collecting data is happening. We have funding even from external bodies. There is work that has happed. We have clear areas we know must be dealt with in the mean time with the President's fund as we proceed with plans for 2021. This year we are investigating, consulting and doing all the necessary preparatory work. Thank you, Chair.
Minister, in the recent presentation done by your department in our committee on issues of migrations of ECDs, the term migration of ECDs from Department of social Development to the Department of Education has confusing or abstract meaning in a sense that there is a lot of what migration does not refer to. For an example, it said that migration does not mean that all zero to five years old will be going to school. Then who will be going to school?
Migration does not mean that the Department of Basic Education will employ all ECD practitioners. Then who are those lucky practitioners that will be employed? It was further said that migration does not mean that suddenly the funding of ECD programme will increase over night. Then, how immediate will the funding of ECD programme increase? Thank you.
Chair, I do not know what is confusing about all the concepts that have been raised. Indeed it is not every child that is going to go to school. We are saying only Grade R and Grade RR will go to school. We are not going to bottle feed and change nappies at schools - it will not happen in school.
There are kids who are going to remain in community centres. Migration doesn't mean every child from zero to four is going to be in school. So, there is no confusion about it. We are very clear about it.
Again, there is no confusion about the fact that there will be a hybrid system. We are not necessarily going to say that private crches must close and everybody must be a government centre; there will be a hybrid of centres where some are private and some belong to the state. There is no confusion; it is quite clear.
It is not everybody that we are going to employ or host. With regards to budgets, ECD centres funded by Social Development will continue to be funded in 2020. It is only after we have finished the budgetary process with Treasury that we will then be able to pronounce how the funding model is going to happen.
There is nothing confusing, it is very clear. I agree with you on all the things you are saying except that there is no confusion; it is very clear. You are right again.
Chairperson, my question was answered as the Minister was responding to these questions.
Hon Chair, the
question is about budget cuts and if our programmes of literacy and numeracy will be affected. Again the answer is that the department will continue with the implementation of literacy and numeracy projects as planned. The literacy projects that are the Early Grade Reading Assessment, Egra and primary reading improvement programmes are continuing. The department is also rolling out teaching maths for understanding in Grade R. So, all our projects in literacy are going to continue. The budget cuts are mainly around infrastructure not on substantive programmes. So, all these programmes that we have planned will continue as planned. Thank you very much.
Hon Chairperson and Minister, we welcome the confirmation that the various literacy and numeracy projects planned for the 2020-21 financial year will not be affected by the proposed budget cuts.
What informs the rational of implementing the literacy projects in Mpumalanga and the teaching of mathematics for understanding in 41 schools in the six implementing districts and what is the expected outcome of the testing? Thank you.
Chair, so one of the key problems that we have in education is the language barrier that the majority of in particular African kids have to experience when they go to school. I was actually quite happy about the question from higher education that language is a big issue and a big barrier in education. The pilot that we are running in Mpumalanga in the Nkangala District is actually a pilot that we are doing to look at. We are phasing it in Mpumalanga in Nkangala and eHlanzeni, for the primary school reading improvement programmes so that we are systematic and scientific about our approaches on how to change the situation.
The other programme that we are saying what informs as I say - it is the difficulties that we are experiencing in education in as far as the language is concern. For instance, we are very excited that the Eastern Cape has been running a pilot on bilingual teaching and we are going to start assessing bilingually from 2021. Those are pilots we are doing to make sure that as we shift around the language challenges we are seeing we are able to also be very scientific and orderly in the way we do things, because we know for a fact - that is why we are starting with the primary schools. That when our children get into Grade 4 - because of language problems, African kids find themselves going back because now they have to start learning in a language which is foreign to them. It takes them back and right through their career it becomes a catch up game. That is why we are looking at these areas around language because they are much bigger than reading with understanding, but they have everything to do with our ability to provide quality education at equitable bases for all children in the system. Thank you, Chair.
Chairperson, I will be making a follow up question because my monitor is not working. Minister, in the near future Grade R to Grade 3 will be subjected to the no repeat policy that was announced by you in 2018. What effects will the no repeat policy have when implemented on strengthening literacy and numeracy in Grade 4 and other grades upwards?
Chair, educationally, failing does not necessarily improve your deficits. That is a point of departure. So if you fail at Grade 1 it is not that you are staying away from school or not, it means they do not understand. Therefore we have to strengthen our support to learners rather than failing them. That is what we are saying. For when we are delaying them then we keep on progressing them so the strategy is to improve and support learners from early grades so that we do not have to repeat.
As a country we have the highest repetition rates and that is why we even have higher failure rates because we do not have remedial education and we do not have adequate support for children who are struggling and we have deficits. So, our strategy is to support more and deepen at a basic level. That is why we are ramping at the basic level and are also excited that we will be taking the function of early childhood development, ECD, to really have solid grounds prepared for our learners to study. We are going to phase it in as soon as we have strengthened our base. Thank you.
Chairperson and Minister, community involvement in schools have shown that significant short-term and long-term benefits - studies have shown that when schools, parents, families and communities work together to support learning, learners achieve higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay at school longer and this also reduces dropping out.
Will the department relook at education and consider greater community involvement to address numeracy and literacy challenges?
Hon member, I was going to agree with you, so you do not like it when people agree on the facts which are contained in education literature. So, I will pass the part of saying you are right because you do not people to confirm the correctness. So, the answer I have given is the fact that we are strengthening the base of the literacy basis as a way of intervention. I will not say agree with you as parents. So, it is true that when parents are involved - and that is part of the strategy. So, you take literature of education bring it and ask as if it is something new, that is what is contained in the literature of education that we have to involve communities and parents. That is our strategy.
I mentioned the National Education Collaboration Trust, NECT, to work with us to mobilise communities around the reading campaign. We have the national literacy campaign which we run with NGOs, a number of them to make sure that we can mobilise communities. That is what we are doing without agreeing and saying you are correct.
Chairperson, I will be answering the question. Minister, have the proposed budget cuts for the 2020-21 financial year in any way affected the field trial for the general education certificate which the department has schedule to complete in July 2020? Thank you.
Order, hon members, it is not a joke that the hon Nxumalo's thing is not working. It is nothing to laugh about. [Laughter.]
Thank you, hon Minister. Can you continue? IsiZulu:
UNGQONGQOSHE WEMFUNDO EYISISEKELO: Bab'uNxumalo umbuzo ubuthi: Ukuncishiswa kwesabelomali kuthinta kanjani ukubhala nokubala? Ngiphendule ngokuthi ...
It will not affect them. For we work with Treasury, we have gone to areas where we can absorb the challenges that are there and I was not requested to list all the areas which are going to be affected by the budget cuts. The question was literacy and numeracy. That is why I say they will not affect literacy and numeracy, but in different areas indeed in terms of staffing and quite a number of things we have had to cut down or slow down or postpone because of the budget cuts. Even your general education certificates - because it was not urgent for us to implement this year we have shifted it with a year to be able to absorb the budget cuts. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY: House Chair, all the TVET colleges have standardised the allowances. Given the substantial difference in the budgetary allocation to the universities and TVET sectors by National Treasury, it will take substantial time based on the current fiscus funding to close the gap between the two sectors. Alternatively, a significant budget increase for the TVET sector will be required from the National Treasury for that gap to be closed.
Mandibulele Sihlalo, Sekela Mphathiswa ndiyathemba ukuba njengoko engekho apha uMphathiswa ukwindawo zamaziko emfundo uye kujonga imeko yabafundi phaya.
TVET students get a below average allowance. They get R24 000 for accommodation and food in comparison to up to R50 000 for universities just for accommodation alone, which is double the amount of money.
They get up to R7 000 for transport whereas universities get up to R10 000. They stay in the same off campus accommodations. They transport using the same transport, costing the same amount of money. They consume food at the very same supermarkets. Deputy Minister, I do not think it is fair that these students are treated this way. Why is that TVET allowances can't be standardised in line with funding for university students, so as to mitigate the gap between them whereas they reside at the same space, they commute in the same transport and they eat food from the same retailers.
Port Elizabeth TVET College students eat with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, NMMU, students. If you go Tshwane, they eat with Tshwane University of Technology, TUT, and the University of Pretoria students. I think it is not fair, I do not know why they cannot do that, if you can answer that. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY: House Chair, I think the first thing that we must illustrate is that, with regards to universities there is a basis to determine the amount of money that must go into accommodation and into most of the other allowances. For instance, for a student at NMMU who stays in a private residence, the university or the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, does not pay more than what the university charges for that student if they were to stay in a formal university residence.
However, for a TVET college where most of the TVET colleges are not necessarily residential campuses, therefore there is basis to determine the amount. That is why there is a distinction, not only in terms of the allowances that students get at TVET colleges but also in terms of where they are located. Students in urban settings will get a higher amount in terms in terms of their accommodation compared to students in peri-rural and in rural settings. That is why there is that distinction.
As I said that ideally, we would want all the students to get the same in terms of all the allowances that they get from the NSFAS. We have only just started allocating allowances to students in TVET colleges and I think that, that is important. Secondly, we cover more than 85% of students in TVET colleges. So, of the 100 students who go to TVET colleges, 85 of those are getting funding from NSFAS.
Last year alone, of the 750 000 or so students who went to TVET colleges, 85% of those received allowances from the NSFAS. Although it is ideal, it is going to be constraint on the national fiscus and we are hoping that with time, we will be able to give students in TVET colleges the same allowances as we are giving to students in universities.
House Chair, when the former Chairperson of NSFAS Nxasana was released from his duties, there was an allegation that there is continuous breakdown of the Information Technology System, IT, when we saw a lot of students dropping out as a result of receiving their allowances late. The department and the Minister went on and appointed an administrator with the hope that things would change.
2017, 2018, 2019 and this year, things remained the same. As I talk to you right now there are so many students, both in universities and TVET colleges who have not received their allowances, not only book allowances but including accommodation allowances. We see many of these private landlords evicting these students.
We want to check what the necessity of appointing an administrator was if the IT system remains the same and we are of the view that - perhaps you can advise the House if the IT system was ever changed since the one they were using with Nxasana.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY: House Chair, I can confirm that the problems which we experienced in the academic year 2017/2018 which was the first year of the introduction of the fee free higher education. Those challenges were not experienced immediately after the appointment of the administrator which was - and the administrators now in his second year. Yes, there have been challenges and those challenges mainly relate in instances where we have seen students coming out saying that they have not received their allowances.
Those instances are when the NSFAS paid directly to the college or the university and expect that the college or university will dispense the allowance to students. That is where we mainly or predominantly experience problems. The NSFAS is doing its best to ensure that we migrate from paying the allowances to the institutions into paying the allowances directly to the pockets of the students. There will be challenges when it comes to that.
In fact, the fraud committed in the past at the NSFAS which is something that is being pursued has been because of the fact that payment was linked to people's cell phones. That has been cleaned up as a result of the new IT system that has been introduced by the NSFAS. I must in a nutshell, yes there are still challenges but I do not think that we should exaggerate the extent of the challenges we have experienced with regards to the disbursement of allowances to students. We have done much, much better in for the last two years. Thank you.
Hon House Chair, hon Deputy Minister from our previous engagement as a portfolio committee with the department as well as NSFAS, it became clear that the equalisation of student allowances is being introduced gradually. For instance, since 2018 TVET colleges and university students have been receiving the same personal allowances and overtime there is an intention by the department to equalise the transport, accommodation and the meal allowance. Can the Deputy Minister confirm whether this is still the intention of the department to equalise this allowance over a period of time.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY: I think the point is that if we get the allocation from National Treasury to equalise the allowances between university and TVET college students, we would do it tomorrow. Thank you.
Hon House Chair, Deputy Minister it is true that a lot of these students in TVET colleges well, not to a great percentage but some of them have not been paid. They get paid from the colleges and I do not whether you have intervened and why are they not getting paid.
Deputy Minister, more importantly which I find that nobody wants to address is the very high percentage of dropouts in the first year, 60%. Is that not wasted resources if 60% of the money that you are allocating to TVET colleges NSFAS qualifying students are failing and dropping out? It is a lot of money. Could it not be put to better use? What is your intervention in that matter?
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY: I think that is a new question but what we are continuously doing as the department is to provide all forms of support particularly to first year students in our universities and our TVET colleges. That includes psychosocial support, any form of academic support that they will need in order for them to succeed.
The failure rate at for most of our students at that level is quite worrying. It is something that we are continuously preoccupied with working with the institutions to ensure that we reduce that particular rate. However, I must emphasize that because there is a tendency to suggest that, because this is fee free higher education, therefore because they are getting this education for free they are not taking it seriously. In fact, a study that was done by the NSFAS has shown that overtime the students who have been recipients since the Tertiary Education Fund of South Africa, Tefsa, days have performed much better than students who have been self funding.
We need not use this argument that fee free higher education means that the students are taking this education for granted. In fact those who have been recipients of government loans or bursaries have outperformed all other categories of students as it relates to education. We are committed to ensure that we turnaround the failure rate as it relates to our first years. Thank you.
Chair, indeed there is no policy which only focuses on parents who relocates. All admissions are managed under the South African Schools Act of 1996 and my view is that it is adequate. It deals with all different permutations around admissions, whether it is parents who are relocating or is communities that are relocating. The principles are clear and this should suit even relocating parents. With regard to the radius, they have to be closer to the school; it is acceptance on a first come, first served basis. If the parent can't find a space for their child, the district will assist them. So, you don't need a special policy to deal with that. The current provisions are adequate to handle any other admission needs for learners. Thank you.
Minister, the Western Cape department of education has 18 000 learners who are unplaced, while there are schools, for an example the Range High School in Elsiesrivier, which has 16 newly renovated classrooms that are empty - empty Minister, empty as in empty. The total learner enrolment is a mere 350. What would the Minister's intervention be regarding the filling up of the 16 classrooms with learners, and the adding up of the educators to reduce this backlog? Thank you.
I can easily make an undertaking to try and get more information from the member, because indeed no one is allowed to deny any learner admission. That is why even when schools are full; parents are supposed to go to the district offices, because the department is obliged by law to find a place for learners. There is really no reason why it should happen in that manner. I will get the information and we will follow up with the province and find out why they allowed the situation to happen that way. I was not aware of it. It is illegal; it is not supposed to be so.
I am taking the question again. Minister, this we know is occurring in all the provinces, not only in the Western Cape and we will need to find out if that person applied. Did the department take this into consideration during budget allocations of these learners, if not, why not, and if so, what are the details if budgets were allocated?
I am saying the law says that basic education is compulsory. So, you don't have to say whether they applied before time or not, we are obliged by law to provide spaces for learners when they turn up at our doors. It is not about budget or anything; it is about laws that state that every one of those children has to be at school whether we don't have enough money or not. That is why in other schools we even overcrowd them because there is no way that we can turn them back like it happened during the apartheid era, where they were turned back because schools were full. Under the democratic government there is no full school; provinces have to find ways of making sure that they provide spaces for learners because that is what the law obliges them to do. So, we will follow up and check why it is happening and assist by working with the province to make sure that indeed we don't fall short or act illegal, because it is illegal to turn kids back.
Hon Minister, is there any policy on relocation in place, and if not, why not? And is there a policy that would also reprioritise or prioritise learners that have relocated due to different circumstances that they find themselves in? Thank you, Chair.
As I indicated, the current policy on admission suffices, because it states that learners have to be within the certain radius of the school or they have to be the first to apply but if not, then the province is supposed to find a place for the learner. There is no need for a relocating policy for families because kids who are in the Eastern Cape are also in South Africa, maybe if you mean those who have immigrated. In Gauteng they have the same problem, and in Durban they also have the same problem. The current policy suffices but the bottom line is that provinces have to find places for learners at school. That is why there are mobile classes. There are all sorts of methods to make sure that they can absorb any relocating community or parents. There is no need for another policy; the current policy suffices.
Thank you, hon Chair and I wish to thank the member for the question because, firstly; it gives us an opportunity to deal with the issue violence against women and children broadly. Before I directly answer the question, I do want to make this statement that the best way to end violence against women and children is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Prevention should start early in life educating young boys and girls by promoting respectful relationships and gender equality.
However, hon Chair, I do want to say that while I speak about this being done in schools for young people I do note that in the South African context, it is important for us to do more work on this amongst adults. We have to do this in our homes, in the work place, in the churches and in the streets so that we can prevent violence against women and children. Unfortunately, we usually deal with it when already a disaster has happened.
It is for that reason that we believe that we need education for prevention which by the way it must start right in this House; in the manner in which we bring our own children, in the manner in which we relate to the boy child at home and in the manner in which we relate to the girl child at home. I do want to thank, for instance, those parents especially men, who have stepped up to say no, to violence against women and children. Those men have done so, first and foremost in places where nobody can see them. Usually we talk about this when we see it. The bottom line is that it is happening in homes in hidden instances.
Directly to the question hon Chair, I would like to indicate that in partnership the Department of Social Development and SA National AIDS Council, SANAC, men sector under the banner;
Takuwani Riime (Let Us Stand Up Together) ...
English: ... has serve to elevate the gravity of gender-based violence and the central role men and boys can play in mitigating this scourge.
Our men and boys championing programmes serve not only to address issues of gender-based violence in isolation but also address issues of human immunodeficiency viruses, HIV, prevention and abuse of alcohol and drugs. By the end of March 2020, we would have held men's parliament and boys' assemblies in the 9 provinces. I would request hon member, that those members who are diverting us to another topic ... It would be good for them to listen because this is a very serious matter ...
... go ahead, hon Minister.
Yes ... a matter ...
... go ahead, hon Minister. Order, hon members.
I also would like to say that the sessions that we've held to give a voice to men and boys' fears and hopes and also addresses various stereotypes and harmful beliefs and practices which have contributed to the perpetuation of violence against women and children. Significantly, though, these have also served as the safe space where men and boys are able to share their vulnerability as both victims and perpetrators of gender-based violence. Thank you.
Thank you, Minister, for your intervention by your department. Mhlawumbi (Maybe)can you share with us the lessons that have been learnt by these programmes and how they could be used in creating a better South Africa?
Thank you, Chairperson. I do want to indicate that the lessons we are learning here we are being given by the children themselves. The children, for instance, developed what we call a children's charter. Part of that charter is one that was drawn by the children, many of whom are the young boys throughout the nine provinces. Therefore, the lessons that we are learning is that slowly but surely young men are beginning to speak about these issues, they are beginning to raise these issues. However, Chairperson, I think what is important for me is that hon members who are in the House today, it might be of important to them because they have their constituencies, to take those documents which have been produced by the children themselves who are indicating how they think we can be able to deal with these issues. As I have said earlier on, house to house, street to street and community by community. The lessons are many and the fact that men themselves have come out to say that they can tackle this issue, it means that men have learnt from each other and they are supporting each other to fight the scourge against women and children.
Thank you, hon House Chairperson. Hon Minister, last year on 18 September, when President Ramaphosa announced his emergency plan to fight gender-based violence he said that he has tasked your department, the Department of Social Development, to amongst other things; strengthen the gender-based violence command centre, increase visibility, education and awareness around substance abuse while rolling- out more treatment facilities. Now, we have most definitely not seen a greater focus in the fight against substance abuse nor have we seen additional treatment centres and there is no greater focus on the command centre. In fact, I have often asked you why it is not being rolled-out at schools and why not the number being publicised on the South African Broadcasting Corporation, SABC, for example.
Therefore, my question is, can you list your successes on these specific issues in the past five months since the announcement of the emergency plan to fight gender-based violence by our President? I thank you.
Thank you, hon member. First and foremost the very one that the very one that the member has indicated is very successful story of the command centre. I fully agree that one command centre is not enough. It would be good for us to have been having the command centres in almost all the provinces.
May I also - because you are asking about the successes - indicate to you that the very command centre has won awards in the African Continent and globally for responding timeously and also having infrastructure that is able to respond. However, I do say that, that is not enough. I do want to say that we will work as a province and make sure that each and every province must have its own command centre. Here is the issue, you can have a national command centre, you have people that are sitting at one place at national whereas if you were to have a centre in each of the provinces, people who are in the province would understand better the challenges that are faced by different communities in each of the provinces. So, we will work on that and make sure that we improve it.
I do agree with you with regard to the issue of substance abuse, I also personally feel that we have taken the issue of violence against women and given a lot of focus of it without necessarily going into the issues of the causes of it. Part of the causes is alcohol and abuse. That is why we are saying - as a department - that we need all other departments to step up with us in terms of ensuring that the Department of Health, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, including the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation. Once you have better human settlements then it means people are living in better environment, better communities, the lighting and the entire infrastructure that they need it means it would be better.
We are saying that what the President has directed us to do, we want to work on it on the basis of the District Development Model which all of us as Ministers have been asked to do. We feel if can break it down to there, we will then respond better. I don't want, for instance as a Minister, to occupy the space of members of the executive council, MECs, who are in provinces. I can't go down there and be pushing with them. I need to support them and I also don't want to go and occupy the spaces of mayors and others. We need to empower them to be able to deal with the issues immediately. Thank you.
Thank you, House Chair. The boys' assembly and the men's parliament are all annual once off summits and not ongoing programmes. On average 300 to 600 young men between the ages of 15 and 24 participate in these annual once off summits. Minister, is your department in regular contacts with the past participants? What impact assessment tool is used to assess past participants to determine that they advocates against gender- based violence and femicide? In fact, are men championing change in their communities as a result of attending these annual once off summits?
Thank you, Chairperson. I wouldn't call them a once off and therefore nothing happens thereafter. It is important for us to bring all these young people together even if it is a once off in that year but the programmes that they have are so enabling that, first and foremost, when they are in one environment they are able to share best practices with each other. They are also able to share what is happening within the different provinces. However, this is what I think is very important. Once they leave the area - that is why we want to say - once they leave the conference, let there be a follow up. How is the follow up? The department has a follow up but let me also say you, hon member, that we have very interesting nonprofit organisations, NPOs, and nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, who have also stepped up to work with us in order to make sure ... because some of these NPOs - as you very well know - are in different areas.
We don't want it to be a once off because it is a lot of money but we do want to bring them to a centre where we as a department together with the other departments - by the way - we even bring people from the Department of Defence and other areas who can come and have the conversation with them. It is a once off in the form of bringing them together but the plan to make sure that there is continuous activities is there. Thank you.
Hon Ngwenya will take it, Chairperson.
Thank you, Hon Minister ... [Inaudible.]... Minister, I would just like to find out in terms of these programmes, how do you identify the young men and young boys who attend these programmes? Have there been boys and young men from rural and semirural areas who have attended these programmes? How had they changed the lives of the young men and young boys especially in rural areas?
Thank you very much, hon Mente. We do not necessarily select them. They are selected at the provincial level through schools and through a variety of ways. It would not be a good idea for us to be the ones as a department who goes around selecting them. Actually, we need to improve from a point of view of bringing more of those who come from the rural areas because those are the ones who are marginalised in many instances.
As for prove whether it has an impact or not I do think that it has an impact because I also arrived and found that these has been going on for a very long time. When you attend and listen to the young people, you feel that you are coming across young people who are being exposed and who have ideas about what needs to be done. You also feel that these are young people who feel that they do not necessarily have enough power in the places where they are because we are not empowering them enough. Their request ... that is why, for instance, they presented the children's charter to us. Part of that charter clearly indicates to us what they expect as children. The bottom line for young people is that, we, the adults are the ones that create most of the problems for them. You can hear when you are having the conversation that they are saying that talk to our parents, our teachers and our communities.
I do think that this is an important engagement but it does need us to improve it so that it is not one and the same old way of doing it. We need to look at what we have done in the past five years or so, what is it that we can change. I have indicated to the department that we need to do things a little bit in a different way and we need to look more on the impact side as the chairperson and yourselves in the committee have said that, Minister, we don't want you to be counting numbers we want you to tell us what impact is that making. That is the change I would like to see happening in the department. Thank you.
Hon members, the time allocated for questions has expired. Outstanding replies received will be printed in Hansard. Hon members, please, allow me to go back to the Ruling I made earlier.