South Africa: Parliament On ‘Jobs for Sale’ Report
Basic Education Portfolio Committee to monitor finalisation of matters raised in "jobs for sale" report
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education today received an update on the so-called "Jobs for Sale" report. Committee Chairperson Ms Nomalungelo Gina welcomed the presentation and the speed with which the report had been finalised.
Ms Gina also highlighted concerns with how some of the matters had been concluded. She raised the matter of an unqualified teacher who, after the report had been finalised, received a bursary to get the necessary qualification. "Now the matter is closed. This is still questionable. Was this the correct method followed? It is not convincing," said Ms Gina.
The Committee heard that the Department of Basic Education has resolved to establish a task team to follow up on all outstanding cases, with the aim of monitoring and supporting provinces to finalise them, a process that will take a considerable period to conclude. The department also wants to audit the outcomes of all cases, including those finalised, to monitor the final decisions and recommendations by provinces.
The Committee further heard that the Ministerial Task Team, which initially investigated the matter, made 16 recommendations in the final report. In the first phase of the investigation, 81 cases were investigated with a further 39 investigated in the second phase.
Some of the recommendations include the removal of the powers of school governing bodies in the appointment process. This would require a change in legislation. The Minister of Education and Deputy Minister assured the Committee that they do not want to strip school governing bodies of their powers.
The Committee further welcomed the recommendation on initiating competency testing for school principals, but wants to take it further, to include deputy principals and heads of departments.
The Committee felt it would be unfair to single out one teachers' union as the culprit, as all unions are invited to be part of and are involved in the interview process. One teachers' union felt that a judicial commission of inquiry would have been better placed to do the investigation, as a judicial commission would have the power to subpoena people. The union believes this would yield better results.
The Committee also heard that the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill will address many of the issues raised in the report, including recruitment processes. The Bill has already been submitted to unions and school governing bodies.
The Department of Basic Education further said many of the findings did not require legislative amendments as policy existed to address these matters. Policies must be implemented correctly and consistently. Ms Gina said: "It is clear from the report that in most cases it is not that there are no laws or policies. It is a question of people not wanting to adhere to them."
Regarding the implementation of the recommendations made, the Committee heard that two provinces, Mpumalanga and North West, have presented progress reports, but have not yet completed the actions. Progress reports for Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo are still outstanding.
Ms Gina said the Committee will monitor the finalisation of all the matters referred to in the report. The Committee will next week engage with various affected stakeholders and those implicated in the report. This will include education labour unions, school governing body associations and entities.
Source: Parliament of South Africa.