30 November 2017
Social Protection, Community and Human Development (SPCHD) briefs media on progress made in implementation of MTSF 2014-2019 in the second quarter
Good morning ladies and gentlemen.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for joining us this morning. My name is Mr Hurbert Mathanzima Mweli and for those who do not know me, I am the Director-General of the Department of Basic Education.
This Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster briefing takes place at a time when we are facing many challenges as a country, and many of them fall within the ambit of this particular, and very important cluster within Government that seeks to improve the wellbeing of the citizens in our country.
We can start with some encouraging news from the Department of Basic Education.
The National Senior Certificate examinations came to an end on Tuesday, 28 November with no major incidents disrupting the examinations. I would like to thank all learners, teachers and officials who worked tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that candidates were prepared and that the integrity of the NSC Examinations was upheld throughout.
This year, the Department placed increased emphasis on security and the protection of the integrity of the NSC Examinations. This was done to mitigate the impact of anticipated risks associated with the storage and movement of examination scripts. The Department did so by employing the”Just in Time’’ printing approach which allowed for examination scripts to be printed as close as logistically possible to the writing of the examination.
There are 44 911 markers in 144 marking centres across the country marking more than 10 million learner answer sheets.
Marking has commenced and is set to be completed by 15 December 2017. This will be followed by data capturing and the UMALUSI standardisation and approval processes. The results will be announced by the Minister of Basic Education on 4 January 2018. So we do hope that the class of 2017 will bring us some good news at the start of the new year.
2018 School Readiness
While on the subject of a new year, we are also looking at our readiness for the beginning of the 2018 school year. We have received reports from provinces on a number of the key focus areas that we monitor as the DBE in preparation for the new academic year.
The heralding of a new school year means that there will be new learners entering new grades for the first time. Some of the challenges of every new school year is to ensure that the number of learners and the number of textbooks match. This requires that top ups of textbooks is managed, extremely carefully. The provisioning of Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM) is something that we monitor closely as the National Department to ensure that provinces are meeting their obligations to learners.
All provinces have reported that orders for top up of textbooks for the 2018 year have been placed and deliveries have already commenced in all provinces.
The Department introduced new literature textbooks for Grade 12 this year, and provinces were urged to pay particular attention to ensure that adequate top ups were done with regards to these books.
Provinces were requested to pay particular attention to the provisioning of braille and sign language LTSM. Sign language will be written as a Grade 12 subject for the first time in 2018 and it is important that provinces ensure that those learners are equipped with the requisite LTSM.
With regard to the workbooks that the DBE developed, we have completed the Printing of Volume 1 and Grade R for the 2018 school year. A total number of 27 835 865 Grades 1-9 workbooks will be delivered to 23 061 schools and a total number of 4 307 080 Grade R workbooks were delivered to 16 225 schools. As at 14 September, the printing of volume 2 was at 96%. The delivery commenced on 9 October 2017 and should be completed by 6 December 2017.
The Department has developed a 50 point plan to further streamline the provision of LTSM. This document outlines the roles of the National Department, the roles of the Provincial Departments, the roles of individual schools as well as the responsibilities of learners and parents. It also outlines the entire process from ordering to safe keeping, distribution and retrieving. This full document can be made available upon request and is simplified into 50 simple points.
The admission of learners is one of the key elements of readiness and informs resourcing of schools. Schools are able to determine the number of teachers, learning material and classrooms needed, based on the number of learners expected for the coming year.
The HEDCOM of 11 April 2017 approved a common admissions period for the sector. This Sector Plan and business processes help the system in its operations. It also enables Departments to inform parents and their children of their placements reasonably early (by end of October of every year ideally).
Provincial Departments of Education are required to report on identified key areas to the DBE monthly, with particular emphasis on the number of unplaced and placed learners.
Grade 1 and Grade 8 pose the biggest challenges for learner placement and Gauteng is facing the largest influx of learners with over 40 000 Grade 1s and over 40 000 Grade 8s still waiting to be placed as of the beginning of this month. The situation is being updated regularly.
The common challenge across all provinces is that the schools of choice are receiving far more applications than they can accommodate. Parents are refusing to accept that one school cannot place all applicants and that alternative schools should be considered.
The admission of non-citizens continues to be a pressure point as the Department of Home Affairs is struggling with the large numbers of applications for citizenship. The Department of Education, however, continues to work closely with Department of Home Affairs.
The provinces will continue to place learners in schools, however, the parent’s first choice of school may not be available, however, despite that we will ensure that we provide every child with a place as is in line with their constitutional right to basic education.
One of the most important things at the start of the school year is to ensure that all classes have the relevant teacher in front of the class. The Council of Education Ministers recently received a full report on the filling of vacant teacher and promotional posts in the system.
The Department monitors the filling of posts in the Provincial Education Departments on a quarterly basis. This is done through the analysis of PERSAL data on vacancies and the reporting from the Provincial Education Departments through the HEDCOM Sub-committee on Human Resource Matters.
The Provincial Education Departments are encouraged to start with the planning processes that would ensure that all 2017/2018 Funza Lushaka graduates are immediately absorbed into vacant teaching posts. This not only fulfils the National Development Plan objective but also ensures that there is a qualified teacher teaching priority subjects.
Basic Education Lekgotla
We are confident as a sector that as the school year comes to a close, preparations for the 2018 academic year will be wrapped up and we will be more than prepared to start another school year as our processes continue to improve year on year as we streamline the system.
Preparations are also underway for a Basic Education Lekgotla that will take place early next year. All major education stakeholders will deliberate on critical developments in the sector and make recommendations for improving outcomes in 2018.
The NDP Vision 2030 has identified social service professionals as a scarce skill given the magnitude of social ills in the country.
In addressing the above challenge, the National Treasury allocated an amount of R181, 289 million to address the absorption of 556 social work professionals, given a joint business plan of an integrated sector strategy.
Fully registered ECD services were provided to 428 266 children, with subsidies to 407 338 children and an additional 51 494 children subsidized through conditional grant. ECD infrastructure development received a financial investment of R463 million from the National Lottery Commission covering all provinces for 208 projects that are at various stages of construction.
A total of Seven Hundred and Forty Eight co-operatives (748) were linked to economic opportunities, with 448 trained through various capacity building programmes in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Gauteng and Limpopo in partnership with the South African Council for Graduate Cooperatives (SACGC), the National Development Agency and the Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development (FEED).
Regarding Non Profit Organisations (NPOs), a total of 1 011 were trained on governance and compliance with the NPO Act, with a further 1 528 NPOs trained by the NDA in Civil Society Organisations (CSO) management.
215 216 vulnerable individuals were provided with food through Community Nutrition Development Centres (CNDCs) and a further 284 908 households accessed food through the Social Relief of Distress Programme.
Eligible older persons are accessing the Older Persons Grant (OPG) totalling 3 357 551, with 12 157 809 eligible children accessing the Child Support Grant (CSG), and 156 war veterans benefitting from social grants. Beneficiaries accessing the Disability Grant total 1 072 780, with 146 429 children accessing the Care Dependency Grant, whilst 474 410 child beneficiaries receive the Foster Care Grant.
The Improved coverage of people who can access social insurance defined as Compensation of Injuries Disease Act and Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA) have reported 100% of claims adjudicated.
This includes Compensation Fund with 101 229, Federal and Mutual Assurance (FEMA) with 3 930 and Rand Mutual Assurance with 13 498 claims settled. The Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD) certified 3 334 claims with a total of 2 377 of claims paid by the Compensation Commissioner of Health.
The Festive Season period is also characterised by high traffic volumes and accidents on our roads, caused by religious pilgrimages and mass events as well as alcohol and substance abuse.
It remains unacceptable that 14000 people perish on South Africa’s road yearly from road crashes. Government will heighten road safety education and awareness through media campaigns, community walk abouts, information distributions, as well as numerous other activities during this our busiest period.
During this season, government will deploy over 18 0000 (this number is written oddly 180 000 or 18 000) traffic officers with a specific focus on hazardous routs and monitoring traffic offences such as speeding, and overtaking on barrier lines. Over 1 Million vehicles will be stopped to check vehicle and driver fitness.
Government will also be conducting multi-disciplinary law enforcement operations to ensure the safety of road users.
Pedestrian’s safety is a critical part of the road safety programme.
Our roads will be monitored and ensure that people are not jay walking and no freeway crossing particularly in informal settlement areas. The focus will also be on drinking and walking to ensure the safety of pedestrians.
It is critical that all sectors of society work together with government to communicate road safety messages and to participate in road safety campaigns throughout this season. Arrive Alive! Let’s save lives and move South Africa forward.
The Deputy President of South Africa in his capacity as Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), and Minister of Health, will lead the national commemoration of World AIDS Day 2017 tomorrow at Walter Sisulu University Stadium, Mthatha Eastern Cape.
This year's theme is “It is my right to know my status. Prevention is my responsibility”. The theme encourages us to make our actions count and take personal and collective responsibility to prevent new HIV and TB infections in South Africa.
Through #RedRibbonFriday we encourage millions of South Africans to be conscious about the need to prevent the spread of HIV and TB and have conversations on critical questions around individual and collective responses.
All South Africans are encouraged to wear a red ribbon every Friday as a visible symbol of solidarity and commitment to the fight against HIV and AIDS., take a picture and share it on social media using the hashtag #RedRibbonFriday, organize HIV testing services in your workplace and raise awareness about the prevention of HIV and TB.
The Department of Health and Transport launched a collaborative first-ever health promotion campaign targeted at the taxi industry recently. The National Taxi Council (SANTACO)’s Operation Hlokomela promote responsible behaviour in terms of reducing and eliminating preventable road accidents and care of drivers, passengers, pedestrians and the community at large while PHILA focuses on healthy lifestyles.
Provincial NHI workshops
Following the publication of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Policy towards universal health coverage in the Government Gazette in 30 June 2017, which included the NHI White Paper and implementation processes of the NHI, the Minister of Health is currently conducting provincial NHI workshop as part of stakeholder engagement which is crucial for successful implementation of the NHI.
The collaboration between COSATU and the National Department of Health (NDoH) to roll out provincial workshops across all nine provinces to educate workers and civil society on the NHI has been a success thus far. Preparations to conduct a similar NHI workshop in the Free State Province before the end of the year, 2017 are at an advanced stage.
The NHI is currently in Phase Two (2) of its implementation, and it is essential to obtain key stakeholder participation for this and subsequent phases.
Nation-Building and Social Cohesion
The NDP envisions a South African society in 2030 that would embrace its diversity across the contours of race, class, gender, religion, culture and other social constructions.
It is sad that today, some members of our communities are yet to internalise the fact that the rights of women and children are the same and equal to those of men, and that the abuse thereof, especially violence is unlawful.
Through the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign which we embark on from 25 November to 10 December 2017, we continue to rally the nation under the theme: “Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward”. Together we must end this cycle of abuse in our homes and communities. Under the leadership of the Minister for Women in the Presidency, Mrs Suzan Shabangu, we are called to engage in dialogues around the root causes of our violent society to end violence against women and children. We call upon all Men to lead the change we want to see in our communities.
Victims of violence and abuse have legal recourse against their perpetrators. Support systems are in place such as 24 hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) to report incidents of abuse. GBVCC toll-free number is 0800428428, SMS Please Call Me to *120* 7867#, SMS Help to 31531 or Skype: HelpMeGBV.
Sports and Recreation
As a country we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate France on putting forward a successful bid, and extend our best wishes for a well organised and exciting tournament in 2023. South Africa has demonstrated to the world that we remained united as a nation during the successful hosting of various international events in the past. Such events foster social cohesion and nation building, and also creates jobs. We remain proud of our Bid team’s effort led by the Deputy President of South Africa.
The Department of Sport and Recreation SA (SRSA) has just hosted the 12th Edition of the South African Sport Awards. The 19 Awards were presented on the evening of 15 November with major awards scooped by both Caster Semenya and Luvuyo Manyonga.
Government introduced the ring-fencing of R300 million for innovative delivery mechanisms to accelerate and broaden delivery of sport facilities. To date 30 municipalities are at construction phase with 4 having reported 100% completions.
We are getting more South Africans to participate in sport and recreation as part of healthy lifestyles and for social cohesion and nation building benefits. 174 079 people actively participated in government organized sport and active recreation events nationwide.
3154 Athletes were supported at 15 sport academies and 28 athletes were supported through a scientific support programme to assist them in achieving success in international sport.
The Department of Human Settlements recently approved the policy and funding adjustments to Social Housing Programme, in order to improve performance.
The adjustments to the programme includes the shift in the income bands which raises the lower qualifying household income limit for the primary social housing market from R3 500 to R5 500 per month and the upper qualifying household income limit from R7 500 to R15 000 per month. Prior to these adjustments, social housing benefitted households with monthly incomes of R1500 and R7500. The adjustment mitigates the ability of households in the “missing middle or gap market” to access adequate shelter in well-located urban centres.
The programme has achieved a measure of success in improving the location of housing and human settlements and ensuring that poor and middle income households are able to find accommodation in areas of socio-economic opportunity.
Westgate Social Housing Project in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal is a demonstration of the success of the programme.
To date decent shelter has been provided to over 4, 6 million households, across the racial and income divide. While we celebrate this remarkable achievement, there still remains much that needs to be done. We invite the private sector to partner with government by making use of available government serviced sites, to construct homes.
At the 2017 Budget Vote speech Minister Sisulu announced the 48 approved catalytic projects. These projects will see government delivering no less than 10 thousand housing units per project, when fully implemented. These catalytic projects are now in various stages of implementation.
In our quest to secure well located land for new development aimed at benefiting the poor and lower middle income households, we are pleased to report that over 14 000 hectares of land have been released for human settlements development. These land parcels are expected to transform the pre-1994 spatial plan whilst contributing to the Spatial Transformation Agenda.
Early this year we indicated that the Department of Human Settlements was working on a draft Property Practitioners Bill (PPB) which will revoke the current Estate Agency Affairs Act of 1976. All inputs from the public participation programme has been consolidated and the Bill is currently at Cabinet for approval before tabling to Parliament.
Higher Education and Training
As we prepare for the coming year the focus will once again be on higher education. Once the Grade 12 results are released, thousands of young people will flock to Universities and Higher Education facilities in a bid to make a better future for themselves and their families. This is at a time when the country is grappling with the mammoth task of finding a sustainable post school education and training funding solution to support our young people from the poor and working class.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has welcomed the release of the report by the Heher Commission of Inquiry into the funding of higher education and training by the Presidency.
The Ministerial Committee on Higher Education Funding led by the Minister in the Presidency, as well as the Presidential Fiscal Committee led by the Minister of Finance had been tasked by the President to process the report in detail — working in conjunction with the Ministry of Higher Education and Training.
The Department has pleaded with the public, students and higher education institutions to embrace the fact that the report does not pronounce on policy, and that concrete decisions around fees still had to be made. President Jacob Zuma will make a pronouncement on the report once the ministers have concluded their work.
On that note, we further urge all students and other stakeholders to remain calm and ensure a peaceful end to the academic year — including allowing examinations to be completed without disruption. The security and safety of staff and students on our campuses must not be compromised.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) stepped up its efforts from August to encourage learners and students requiring support from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2018. Students, parents and guardians are cautioned that National Student Financial Aid Scheme will not open another window for new applications after today’s cut-off date (30 November 2017)— as doing so will delay the process of finalising funding lists for 2018.
Our last count suggests that NSFAS had received approximately 190 400 applications by 27 November. Results will be communicated in the first week of January 2018. Applicants wishing to enquire about their application status are advised to call the National Student Financial Aid Scheme contact centre on 08600 67327.
The Department of Higher Education and Training encourages all young people to start applying for their smart identification cards in time for the 2019 enrolment period, as this would make the processing of applications even more efficient due to completeness of records.
We have intensified the fight and increased information programmes against bogus colleges — warning prospective learners and students to ensure that all the institutions of higher learning that they apply to or attend are accredited and duly registered with the government, to avoid being scammed and wasting their time and money.
The Department of Higher Education and Training also warns the public that unregistered local and international colleges are using a range of nefarious methods online to deceive vulnerable citizens looking for post school learning opportunities, including marketing themselves.
We therefore urge the public to check that the programme offered by the provider is accredited and registered by consulting the Department’s Register of Private Higher Education Institutions and Colleges. The list is available on the website: www.dhet.gov.za/Resources/Registers
The public is also requested to notify the Department, or report any suspicions of fraudulent practices to the law enforcement authorities.
Central Applications Service (CAS) Policy
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has recently approved a policy for the establishment of a Central Application Service (CAS) for post school education and training (PSET). The policy is an initial step in the legislative process to establish a one-stop online application system for students to access multiple institutions without the need to queue at those institutions. It is envisaged that the CAS will become fully operational in 2024 for 2025 applications.
Meanwhile the Central Applications Clearing House (CACH) online application service will be open from 05 January- 28 February 2018. These services are particularly useful for applicants who applied for admission to a university or college in time, but have not been offered a place or their programme of choice. It can also be useful for prospective students who achieved better results than expected and now wish to access a different course or a university or TVET college. Those who missed the application window period for one reason or the other can also use it.
Registration can be done on CACH’s website: http://cach.dhet.gov.za. Alternatively, prospective students can call the toll-free call centre number on 0860 35 66 35 from 8am to 8pm. CACH is also contactable via standard SMS (name and ID) to 49200 or by email: CACH@dhet.gov.za.
In closing we would like to wish all of those traveling during the festive season to do so safely and obey the rules of the road and be considerate of others. Safety is always a major concern during this period and law enforcement will not tolerate criminality and lawlessness during this time.
With that we wish you all a good holiday period, I hope you will come back refreshed and ready to tackle the new year if you are fortunate enough to get a break for the holiday season. I know many journalists, like us will unfortunately not be resting. We will be preparing for the release of the Grade 12 results and we will be ready to greet you in the new year and hopefully have some good news to share.
Thank you for coming.
Mr Elijah Mhlanga
Cell: 083 580 8275