THURSDAY 20TH MAY 2021 – PIETERMARITZBURG
By – Hon Mntomuhle B Khawula: IFP
Hon MEC Mshengu
Hon VF Hlabisa – Leader of the Official Opposition and President of the IFP
Ladies and Gentlemen
In the foundations of the IFP, education is one of the key principles in the development of the people and unlocking their prospects of prosperity, self-help and self-reliance to a focused and successful wellbeing. The IFP well understood that the injustices of the past oppressive governments in the economic, social, educational, religious, cultural bondages, and all else, would be properly dealt with if people of our country were properly educated. It is for these reasons that in its liberation struggles, the IFP always encompassed its efforts with freeing our people from the bondages of diseases, poverty and ignorance.
As such, one of the most important focus areas of uMntwana WaKwaPhindangene and the IFP, was the building of schools in all communities of our province. It is for this reason that this present government of our province today is able to boast being the biggest education department in the country, with more than 6000 schools in its operations. The foundations of these achievements were adequately laid by non-other than the Prince of KwaPhindangene. Thank you Shenge. I can proudly say without fear of any contradiction that the display of knowledge and good English that the likes of the Zikalalas, the Mshengus, the Hlabisas, the Nkonyenis, the Hlongwas, the Kunenes, the Mazubukos, the Mncwangos, the Khozas, the Mlotshwas, the Phakathis, the Manqeles, and many others, is a result of your efforts in promoting the education of the Black child in KwaZulu. (Mhlonishwa Sihlalo bonke oDoctor Mthembu laba noDoctor Nzama nabo ngiyabafaka kulelibhodwe lika Mntwana).
This achievement was obtained through the meagre financial resources that the apartheid government was allocating to KwaZulu government then, as a punishment for refusing to accept Homeland Independence. Post 1994, when equality was obtained, when the allocation of resources is no longer based on the colour of a people, we expect the democratic government to focus more on the quality of education that our system is delivering to our youth.
The IFP appreciates the opportunity we have had with the Hon MEC to deal with a variety of areas of concern pertaining to education. The Hon MEC has promised to give attention to the issues we raised with him. Therefore, I am not going to repeat those issues here, save to say that they do remain matters of concern, Hon MEC.
We welcome the promising results that the province continues to obtain in the NSC results nationally. Our KZN class of 2020 achieved this result in spite of the very challenging circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Be that as it may, we would still want to see our province also focusing more on quality results for our matriculants. It will be remembered that the country established the TVET Colleges originally as FET Colleges in order to provide a more skills, technical and developmental oriented approach to education in the country. This originally would not require a minimum 28 points pass for university entry which is a must with all universities in the country. It is very concerning to the IFP that some TVET colleges have now adopted this university approach to entry at the TVET colleges, focusing more on academic scoring instead of a skills and technical approach. Whilst this is more a national matter Hon MEC, it however also impacts a lot upon your provincial products who have to suffer the consequences of this new approach by TVET colleges. It is a matter that you must raise on our behalf at your meetings of the Council of Education Ministers.
If South Africa is a developmental state in accordance with almost all the policies of the country from around 2007, Hon MEC, this is a matter that must be of great concern to you too, and to your organisation. The ethos and principles of a developmental state are gradually getting lost in the way our TVET colleges are operating in admitting our matriculants.
In a paper written by the “Human Resource Development Council of South Africa”, titled, “FET COLLEGES PURPOSE IN THE DEVELOPMENTAL STATE: IMPERATIVES FOR SOUTH AFRICA.” In January 2014, they refer to this matter and they state that,
“The concept of a developmental state in a democratic South Africa is informed by local realities such as popular democracy; social inclusion; economic restructuring for mass participation by the majority; improving health care, housing and education; business growth; job creation; poverty eradication; public service delivery; social protection; pro-poor growth; and sustainable livelihoods.”
Hon MEC, of concern is that TVET Colleges seem to be operating in a direction adjacent to these principles, especially in respect of inclusivity.
Your department MEC should not operate like it is an extension of SADTU. SADTU, like all other Teacher Unions, is only your stakeholder in the department. In the Districts operations of this department, SADTU calls the shorts. They are the ones who have a say on who should be promoted into what position, and it happens as per their wishes. In instances where there is someone, they don’t like who gets promoted to a particular position, SADTU destabilises and disrupts operations such that the individual is unable to function. This happens with full knowledge of district officials who do nothing to protect the department. This is the case with Circuit Manager Mr Ninela in uMhlali, Ilembe District. The matter has been reported to the immediate supervisors, to the district, and even to the KZN Legislature Portfolio Committee Chairperson who have all turned a blind eye to the matter.
Hon MEC, the ‘Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council’ Resolution no. 3 of 2008, amongst other things, prohibits Grade Progression that jumps other levels and enforces career-pathing that is based on competencies, experience and performance without jumping levels. Your department appoints people without experience to jump levels all over the show. Surprisingly, some of these appointments are for positions from school level right up to Head Office in your doorstep. These are in direct contravention of (OSD) PSCBC Resolution no. 3 of 2008. But the department pays a blind eye to the flouting of this Resolution because the intention is to please an Alliance Partner. This is surely unacceptable.
If, for any unknown reason you were not aware of these misnomers and injustices MEC, we plead that you begin to take drastic steps to curb them.
I thank you.