Daily Archives: June 7, 2017

Deputy President Ramaphosa to engage with youth on HIV and AIDS issues at a Youth Conference

Pretoria – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will, in his capacity as Chairperson of the South African Aids Council (SANAC) and the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa (HRDCSA), participate in the inaugural HEAIDS Youth Conference on Saturday, 10 June 2017.

Deputy President Ramaphosa will engage with young people in an open dialogue on HIV, STI, TB, general health, youth economic empowerment, social inequalities and other challenges affecting them.

The Conference will take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

The dialogue will be one of the highlight of this Conference organised by Higher Education and Training HIV/Aids national programme (HEAIDS) under the leadership of Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana. The Conference will be staged between the 9 and 12 June 2017.

HEAIDS is a national facility to develop and support the HIV mitigation programmes at South Africa’s public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVETs).

The Conference, under the theme Ukuhlonyiswa Kwabasha (Empowering the Youth), brings together more than 1 800 young people from across the country who will include learners from schools, universities, TVET colleges and communities.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, and Deputy Minister in The Presidency Buti Manamela along with several other government ministers and a number of MECs of health will also be in attendance.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma appoints Justice Ray Zondo as Deputy Chief Justice

President Jacob Zuma has pleasure to announce the appointment of Justice Ray Zondo as the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa with immediate effect.

The position of Deputy Chief Justice became vacant as a result of the retirement from active service of Deputy Chief Justice, Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

Justice Zondo comes to the position of Deputy Chief Justice with enormous experience in the broader legal profession. Prior to being appointed as a Judge he practised for many years as a human rights and labour lawyer, having begun his career as an articled clerk under the late Mrs Victoria Mxenge.

Justice Zondo also served on several commissions and committees, including the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry regarding the Prevention of Violence and Intimidation as well as the Ministerial Task Team which was established in 1994 to draft the Labour Relations Bill for post-apartheid South Africa.

Justice Zondo was appointed as a Judge of the Labour Court in November 1997. In 1999 Justice Zondo was appointed as a Judge of the then Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court. In 2000 Justice Zondo was appointed as Judge President of the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court for a period of 10 years.

After completion of his ten years’ term of office as Judge President of the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court in 2010, Justice Zondo returned to the North Gauteng Division of the High Court as a Judge of that court.

Justice Zondo was appointed as Acting Judge of the Constitutional Court with effect from November 2011 until 31 May 2012. He was appointed as a Judge of the Constitutional Court in September 2012.

President Zuma wishes Justice Zondo all the best in his new and important responsibility of advancing our constitutional democracy.

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: Basic Education Dept Budget Vote NCOP 2017/18

2017/18 Basic Education Budget Vote Speech delivered by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, MP, at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Cape Town on 7 June 2017

Chairperson

Ministers and Deputy Ministers present

Honourable Members of the NCOP

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Chairperson, we thank you for this Debate on Vote 14 on Basic Education.

Chairperson, allow me to start by raising our serious concerns as a sector, about the violent service delivery disruptions taking place across the country. More concerning to us, is when schools are used as bargaining chips by the aggrieved communities out there.

These violent protests, which in most instances, have nothing to do with education, rob our learners of countless school hours, days and scarce resources. We must collectively protect and deliver on our children’s right to basic education unhindered.

Chairperson, let me add my voice to the voices out there that are condemning the violence that is meted out on women and children. What is nerve-racking, is the ferociousness that the latest victims had to endure. South Africa will never be the cohesive society that espouses the values of Ubuntu we all yearn for, when such atrocious acts continue to be committed by humans on others.

We wish to applaud those members of civil society, especially the courageous young men, who stood up and decried the recent spate of violence we are faced with.

We must all join these young men in their declared stance � Not in my name.

Chairperson, last month, South Africa, the African continent and the world, commemorated Africa Day 2017. In South Africa, we did this, guided by theme the Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World.

Surely as proud South Africans � the young and the elderly, we must agree with Kwame Nkrumah, when he said I am not African because I was born in Africa; but because Africa was born in me.

We must equally agree with President Thabo Mbeki’s proclamation on 8 May 1996 on the occasion of the adoption of the Constitutional Assembly of the RSA Constitution Bill that I am an African. We therefore, must disabuse ourselves of the notion that South Africa is a part of Africa, but in reality, Africa is part of us.

We are indeed the children of Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel, Jomo Kenyatta, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Wangari Mathai, Charlotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Chief Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Reginald Tambo, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Joe Slovo, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Steve Bantu Biko, Albertina Sisulu, Adelaide Tambo, Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, amongst many.

If all of us, as South Africa, can understand and embrace this reality, the xenophobic attacks on and hatred of our African brothers and sisters, can easily be an artefact of the past.

We have a responsibility to teach our children about the History of Africa. This we must do reminded by Dr Mokhubung Nkomo’s assertions that the future is embedded in the present as the present bears imprints of the past. There cannot be a prosperous tomorrow without a proper grounding and understanding of yesterday.

Chairperson and Honourable Members, during this month of June, we commemorate the centenary of the stalwart, the teacher, the internationalist, the unifier, the visionary, the leader � Comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo, in tandem with the commemoration 41st anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprisings.

The South Africa that the mass democratic movement and the Youth of 1976 fought and some sacrificed their lives for, is indeed the non-racial, non-sexist, united and democratic society, in which black and white, rural and urban, young and elderly, rich and poor South Africans live and work together in conditions of peace and prosperity, that Comrade Tambo spoke about at the George University in Washington in 1987.

This is indeed the South Africa Madiba ensured that it would espouse the democratic principles and values of Ubuntu, social cohesion, and unity in its diversity.

We must use the transformed socio-political conditions in our country to actualise the true radical socio-economic transformation of our societies, especially for our young people and women. Political freedom and a culture of human rights only, cannot result in complete prosperity without the true socio-economic transformation and emancipation of our societies.

We, together with our strategic sister departments and business partners, will be tabling a strategic framework to Cabinet on how our sectors could contribute to this imminent and noble imperative. Indeed in the year in which we are commemorating the leadership, life and teachings of Comrade OR, we must play a direct role in advancing the socio-economic emancipation of our people, particularly the youth and women.

Building a solid foundation for teaching and learning

Chairperson, in 2015, UNESCO adopted the global education agenda, Education 2030. The global education agenda is part of the seventeen United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that make up the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. SDG 4 calls for an inclusive, quality and equitable education and lifelong opportunities for all.

In our local context, we have our national basic education sector plan � the Action Plan to 2019: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030, which is designed to achieve the long-term vision of basic education as encapsulated in the National Development Plan (NDP), Vision 2030.

The NDP states that by 2030, South Africans should have access to education and training of the highest quality, leading to significantly improved learning outcomes. The performance of South African learners in international standardised tests should be comparable to the performance of learners from countries at a similar level of development and with similar levels of access.

Our very own world-renowned Constitution, which marked its 21st anniversary this year, declares basic education as an inalienable basic human right for all South Africans.

Therefore, the Constitution, the UNESCO SDG 4, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa on the African Agenda 2063, the NDP, and our own Action Plan 2019, all provide the moral imperative and mandate to Government to improve access, redress, equity, efficiency, inclusivity and quality of our basic education system.

Our sector plan therefore, strengthens and reinforces a whole systems approach intended to improve the quality of teaching and learning outcomes. Credible data and information, as well as credible research, assist us to identify practices that require different strategic approaches. There is now tangibly more understanding and cooperation within the basic education sector.

Chairperson, we have reported widely and repeatedly on our achievements as a sector, especially on access, redress and equity. We have indeed opened the doors of learning for all South Africans.

We are now increasingly prioritising interventions, policies and strategies that target improved quality of learning and teaching, and we are implementing accountability systems to ensure that quality outcomes in the basic education sector are achieved.

We are of the strong view that the internal efficiency of the system and quality basic education outcomes will be achieved through specific and deliberate interventions in the early Grades. This, we are doing because research has shown that the major root causes of dropping out of school towards the end of secondary schooling, are weak learning foundations in the early Grades.

Therefore, the most important priority must be to improve the quality of learning and teaching, so that we can ensure improved quality outcomes in the early Grades. It is through this pointed focus that learners in the Foundation Phase can be equipped with the skills needed to cope with the curriculum requirements of the higher Grades.

Chairperson, we can report with pride that the effects of our interventions in the Foundation Phase are beginning to result in improved learning outcomes. The skills of learners are continually improving � the rigorous and widely respected international testing programmes are showing an upward swing. I will illustrate these assertions a bit later.

Budget Vote 14 for the 2017 MTEF Period

Chairperson and Honourable Members, the Budget Vote 14 we are presenting, is marked by a consolidation of our work, and on guiding and deepening learning and teaching in the classroom. We continue to confront the persistent challenges within the basic education sector.

Today, we stand in front of this House to seek a fresh mandate for our programmes during the 2017 MTEF period.

This we are doing on the 23rd anniversary of our democratic dispensation; the 21st anniversary of the ratification of our democratic Constitution; the 54th anniversary of the African Union (formerly the Organisation of African Unity); and the 41stcommemoration of the Youth of 1976 � all celebrated and commemorated during the centenary celebration of OR Tambo’s exemplary life, selfless leadership, and revolutionary teachings.

2017/18 allocations for Provincial Education Departments

The total allocation for the 2017 MTEF period for provincial education departments totals R717 billion, which represents an average increase of 7.1% from the equivalent allocation for the 2016 MTEF period. Specifically, the 2017/18 total allocation for all our provincial education departments, stands at R223.8 billion, which shows an increase of 4.9% from last year’s allocation.

The Honourable Members of Provincial Legislatures will give more details in this regard.

Chairperson, we have been closely monitoring whether provincial education departments are achieving the predetermined norm of the eighty to twenty split between Compensation of Employees (CoE) allocations versus the other line budget items.

For the 2017/18 we have observed that six provinces have achieved this norm. For instance, Gauteng is the lowest at 74.1%; followed by the Western Cape at 74.6%; then the Northern Cape at 76.1%; the North West at 76.9%; the Eastern Cape at 79%; and the Free State at 79.2%.

The three provincial education departments, whose CoE budgets still hover above the 80% norm, include Limpopo and Mpumalanga at 81%; and KwaZulu Natal at 84%.

Chairperson, the 80% CoE threshold is critical, to at least enable provincial education departments to procure the requisite goods and services, such as LTSMs, ICTs, infrastructure, the NSNP, and be capable of transferring funds to schools in terms of the thresholds determined in terms of the norms and standard for the funding of schools.

We wish to congratulate the six provinces for managing their CoE budgets to levels lower than the determined 80% threshold, and encourage the remaining three to do likewise.

Analysis of performance management at the provincial level

At the outset Chairperson, I must state that within provincial education departments, we know that where there is effective and accountable management and leadership, good performance and functionality are guaranteed.

Even the Auditor-General has pronounced that any traceable lack of leadership, is the main contributor of underperformance and dysfunctionality. This is the reality of any sector. Organisational culture, lies at the heart of much of the dysfunctionality that we see in our frequent oversight visits, whether it is at school, circuit, district or provincial level.

Chairperson, the NDP states that South Africa needs to have established a state that is more capable, more professional and more responsive to the needs of the citizens. In addition, the NDP notes that the unevenness in state capacity and capability leads to uneven performance in local, provincial and national government.

It was within this context, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has been implementing the MPAT � the Management Performance Assessment Tool, in order to facilitate and support reforms in the areas of management practices and leadership.

We have noted similarities in the findings of the Auditor-General and the MPAT scorecards. Hence, the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) reaffirmed its commitment to move towards clean audit opinions amplified by improved management practices and leadership within the 2017 MTEF period. The Western Cape Education Department has already reached this level; while Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Northern Cape, North West and the DBE are not far-off.

We are committed to facilitate and support reforms in the areas of management practices and leadership within the sector. We also wish to implore this august House, especially the Select Committee, to work with us to expand our reach in monitoring and evaluation oversight and support to our provincial education departments, especially Mpumalanga, Free State, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo.

Chairperson, we wish to remind this House that the Provincial Treasuries in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo had taken over the financial responsibilities from the Eastern Cape and Limpopo Departments of Education in terms of section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999.

We understand that on 31 May 2017, the Select Committee on Finance received a satisfactory report on the progress made in the Limpopo Department of Education, to an extent that the Limpopo Provincial Treasury may withdraw in July 2017.

We are closely monitoring the progress in the Eastern Cape. What comforts us, is the fact that the Head of Department has recently been appointed. We have deployed three senior officials to assist the HoD with critical management practices and leadership areas which require such support.

2017/18 allocations for the Department of Basic Education

Chairperson, the 2017/18 Overall Budget Allocation for the DBE is R23.4 billion � an increase of 5.1% from the 2016/17 allocation.

The 2017/18 allocations for the five Basic Education Programmes, are aggregated as follows � Administration is allocated R416.3 million; Curriculum Policy Support and Monitoring is allocated R1.9 billion; Teacher Education Human Resource and Institutional Development is allocated R1.2 billion; Planning Information and Assessment is allocated R13.2 billion; and Educational Enrichment Services is allocated R6.7 billion.

The overall 2017/18 Conditional Grant Allocation for Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST); Infrastructure delivery (both EIG and ASIDI); the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP); HIV and AIDS; and the new grant for Learners with Profound Intellectual Disabilities is R20.1 billion.

The total Earmarked Allocation for the 2017/18 financial year for Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme; Umalusi; the Second Chance Programme; the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT); Workbooks (including Braille workbooks); Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) � Operation Phakisa; and a new programme called, the Early Grade Reading is R2.4 billion.

Chairperson, the fact that the 2017/18 budget has increased from last year’s budget by 5.1% for the DBE, and by 4.9% for provincial education departments, confirms the ANC-led Government’s commitment towards education as its topmost priority.

International assessment benchmark tests and the National Senior Certificate examinations

Chairperson and Honourable Members, we had earlier argued that the basic education system is on the upward trajectory. Progress in the sector has also been confirmed by the recent cycles of regional and international assessment studies.

The results of recent regional and international studies � the fourth Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ IV), and the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2015) respectively, show that the performance of South African learners is improving � symptomatic of a system in an upward trajectory.

The SACMEQ IV study results confirmed the upward trends, and showed for the first time, that South African learners at Grade 6, achieved Mathematics scores which are above the significant centre point of 500 points.

The TIMSS 2015 results on the other hand, further affirmed noteworthy growth patterns, which when compared with other countries since 2003 at the Grade 9 level, clearly demonstrate that South Africa has shown the largest improvement of 87 points in Mathematics, and 90 points in Science.

More importantly, the largest gains were evident within the historically disadvantaged sections of the schooling system, that is, quintiles 1-3 schools.

Chairperson, at the national level, we will only focus on National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination at this stage, and on the 2016 NSC examinations in particular. The Class of 2016 was the ninth cohort of learners to sit for the NSC examinations, and third cohort to write CAPS-aligned NSC examinations. The Class of 2016 recorded the highest enrolment of Grade 12 learners in the history of our country.

Without going into details about the performance of our learners, districts and provincial education departments, it should suffice to remind this august House that for the past six years, we have recorded NSC pass rates, which have consistently been above the seventy percent (70%) threshold.

The numbers of candidates who qualified for admission to Bachelor studies, candidates who attained Diploma and Higher Certificate passes, and candidates who passed with distinctions, especially in the critical subjects, increased.

More gratifying, is that more girls registered, wrote, and passed the 2016 NSC � another sign that equity continues to be addressed. Even the number of learners with special needs who entered, wrote and passed the 2016 NSC examinations, some achieving Bachelor passes and passing with distinctions, also increased � a sign that our basic education is indeed inclusive.

Chairperson and Honourable Members, you may recall that in 2015 we introduced the policy on learner progression. The policy enabled the progression or condonation of over-age learners, who had failed Grade 11 more than once, and met all conditions determined for progression.

These learners were given extra support to adequately prepare them to sit for the entire Grade 12 NSC examinations, or allow them to modularise their examinations � meaning that they wrote part of the examinations in November 2016, and the rest during the current month of June 2017.

The fact that the highest number of candidates registered for the 2016 NSC examinations, is testament that retention and throughput rates are gradually improving and that the drop-out rate is gradually decreasing. This is positive indeed, especially when the NDP enjoins us to mediate the high drop-out rate of learners from the basic schooling system by increasing the learner retention rate to 90%, and allowing for an increase in the number of learners entering vocational and occupational pathways.

The analysis of the data from the 2016 NSC examinations on progressed learners, paints an extremely interesting picture. The significance that can be attached to the progressed learners is that these would-be-high-school dropouts, if they were not progressed, were afforded with an opportunity to either go to university or TVET College.

Chairperson I had mentioned that the NDP enjoins us to increase the number of learners entering vocational and occupational pathways. The incremental implementation of the three-stream curriculum model, which includes the academic, technical-vocational, and the technical-occupational streams, responds to this NDP injunction.

Basic education is now a progressive system with a diversified curriculum, a system that looks at the whole development of a child � our future leaders.

Our emerging national assessment framework

Chairperson, during our 2016 Budget Vote Debate, we announced that we are reviewing the Annual National Assessments (ANA) as our response to general concerns levelled against the ANA. I can now report that the ANA has been reviewed and reconceptualised as the National Integrated Assessment Framework (NIAF).

The new model comprises three tiers, namely the Systemic Assessment will be administered in Grades 3, 6 and 9, once every three years; the Diagnostic Assessment; and the Summative Examination. The systemic assessment will be piloted in October 2017, and the first systemic assessment will be implemented in 2018.

Consultations, on the diagnostic assessment and summative examination with our social partners, are set to be concluded by the end this month.

Chairperson, some of the improvements from the new model of national assessment include � firstly, the use of a single assessment tool, as was in the case of ANA for a variety of purposes, will be avoided through the three separate assessment tools, each with a specific purpose; secondly, with the systemic assessment being administered once every three years, it will give the system ample time to remediate before the next assessment; and thirdly, the assessment overload will be obviated by the administration of the national assessment in selected Grades.

Evidence from research reports

Chairperson, to corroborate that our system is on the rise, I wish to refer to four research reports. The first research report, published by UNESCO in 2015, reveals that, since the advent of democracy in 1994, more learners remain in school up to Grade 12.

In this regard, South Africa does well relative to other middle-income countries, such as Tunisia, Egypt, Costa Rica and Uruguay. Virtually, all children remain in school up to the year in which they turn 15 years of age � in line with the compulsory schooling policy embodied in the South African Schools Act, 1994.

The second research report was published by the DBE in 2016. This report shows that in 2015, close to 60% of young people were successfully completing thirteen years (including Grade R) of education, in the sense that they were attaining the National Senior Certificate or an equivalent qualification from a college.

This figure becomes 56%, if only the National Senior Certificate is considered. Comparatively in 1995, thirty nine percent (39%) of young people aged 25 years, had reported having completed Grade 12.

The third research report, published by Dr Martin Gustafson in 2016, indicates that an increased number of learners achieved a mark of 60% or more in Mathematics and Physical Science during the 2016 NSC examinations.

Improvements in these subjects and level of performance are important, as this means that more learners get to qualify for science and mathematics oriented studies at university; and are hence equipped to fill critical skills gaps in the economy. By far, most of the improvements have been recorded amongst black-African learners.

The fourth research report, which was released by the DBE in 2016, shows the extent to which in the past, Bachelor passes tended to be concentrated in better performing schools, particularly former model C schools. In recent years, we however, have observed a remarkable shift towards greater equity. For instance, in 2005, as many as 60% of Bachelor passes (or endorsements, as these were called at that time), came from the best performing 20% of the schooling system.

However, in 2015, the best performing 20% of the schooling system only produced 49% of the Bachelor passes. In other words, the remaining 80% of the schooling system accounted for a larger proportion of all learners deemed ready to enter university.

Also, university readiness had become more equitably spread by 2015. Chairperson, we have noted from the 2016 NSC examination results that the best performing 20% of the schooling system produced 45% of the Bachelor passes � signalling a greater proportion of Bachelor passes produced by the 80% of our schooling system.

With this evidence Chairperson and Honourable Members, we are convinced that the overall quality, efficiency and inclusivity of the basic education system is on the rise. We are definitely on our way towards achieving a high quality basic education, in which the performance of our learners in international standardised testing is improving, as enjoined by the NDP.

During the current MTEF period, we will continue with the good work done in the past three years, particularly focusing on the Foundation Phase.

Accountability imperatives throughout the entire system, and the concerns raised by the National Treasury, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, the Auditor-General, the oversight committees of Parliament, and the public, will be addressed without failure.

District development and the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT)

Chairperson, we must equally recognise the cardinal role played by the current 81 basic education Districts. The NDP states that teaching in schools can be improved through targeted support by District.

To deliver on this injunction, for the past two to three years, we have been convening quarterly meetings with all the District Directors, based on specific themes for the academic year. In our quest to improve teaching and learning outcomes in our schools, Districts account on their interventions.

The District Excellence Awards held in April 2017, were a fitting tribute to recognise the enormous work done at this layer of basic education management level. Congratulations to the Thabo Mofutsanyana District from the Free State � the recipients of the main awards.

Chairperson, the President has consistently invited all South Africans to join hands and make education a societal issue. We wish to recognise the enormous work done by the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) for coordinating valuable contributions made by teacher unions, South African business, universities, research institutions, non-governmental organisations, and many ordinary South Africans.

The NECT has supported the sector greatly by developing, capacitating, and supporting Districts in specific management, administration, and on our core mandate � teaching and learning at the school level.

Conclusion and tributes

May I conclude by sincerely extending a word of gratitude to Deputy Minister Enver Surty; the Chairperson and the Honourable Members of the Select Committee; Education MECs and their HoDs; our Director-General, Mr Mathanzima Mweli and his team of senior managers; the Chairpersons and CEOs of the SACE, Umalusi and the NECT; our strategic and generous business and international partners; the NGOs in the sector; and more importantly organised labour, especially teacher unions and the principals’ association; and officials in my office for their diligence and support.

We are immensely grateful to all the teachers, principals, parents, learners, SGBs, individuals, who work tirelessly to make quality, effective, inclusive, and efficient basic education a reality in the various parts of our country.

Last but not the least; I must thank my family for their unwavering care and support.

Source: Government of South Africa

Home Affairs served with notice to strike

Pretoria � The Department of Home Affairs has been served with a notice to strike on 19 June by unions representing employees at the department.

The Department of Home Affairs and the unions are set for conciliation on Tuesday at the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council (GPSSBC), in line with the Constitutional Court’s directive that the dispute be referred for conciliation.

In light of these developments, the department wishes to advise officials that the status quo remains and that officials are expected to comply with the current opening and closing hours for Civic Services Front Offices, the department said in a statement.

The department has been engaged in a protracted dispute with the Public Servants Association (PSA), the National Health, Education & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) on the issue of implementing new opening and closing hours. The dispute dates as far back as March 2015.

The unions objected to officials working on Saturdays, which, according to them, officials would effectively be required to work for six days a week as opposed to five days.

This, according to the unions, meant extra transport costs for officials spread over six days, to cover Saturdays, and costs incurred towards caring for members’ minor children, as well as leave allocation.

Follow the unions’ demands that the department either compensate employees working on Saturdays or reverting to a system where employees work a five-day week, from Monday to Friday, the department indicated it is not in a financial position to consider and accede to this demand.

Instead, it tabled an alternative settlement proposal in which officials would be granted a day off during the week, on Wednesdays, to ensure that they do not extend their days over 6 days.

In this way, officials would not incur additional transport costs and would be able to make appropriate arrangements for child care like other staff working a five-day shift per week.

The compromise would ensure also that fears around allocation and calculation of leave days would be allayed, with no official affected by whether they did a five-day or six-day shift.

This would further mean that officials would work a full day on a Saturday comprising an eight-hour shift. Officials would still work a total of 40 hours per week, in line with the laws of the Republic.

The unions rejected the department’s offer and instead tabled a further demand that the department suspend the 2015 circular that gave effect to the implementation of the 2015 opening and closing hours, suggesting that officials should be allowed to work on Saturdays albeit on a voluntary basis.

The proposal was not acceptable to the department, as it would pose serious challenges for proper planning, work scheduling and accountability, and would also compromise service delivery which the public has become accustomed to.

The department’s offer of a day off for a Saturday worked would be similar to the arrangement made in 2010-2014 in terms of which a day off was granted for Saturday work.

The only exception, however, was that in the previous dispensation, officials would be allowed to take any day of the week.

That dispensation presented serious challenges to the administration of the Department in that officials tended to take different days in the week which resulted in the Department perpetually operating on limited personnel.

The proposal tabled by the department today, that officials be granted Wednesday off, was intended to cure that challenge, the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

SOUTH AFRICA: PARLIAMENT PASSES LEGISLATION ON SEXUAL OFFENCES

PRETORIA, South Africa’s National Assembly has passed two pieces of legislation clamping down on sexual offences and child pornography. The House adopted the Judicial Matters Amandment Bill as well as the Film and Publications Amndment Bill.

South Africa has seen an outcry over the spate of gruesome murders and kidnappings of women and children.

Statistics for the 2015/16 financial year show that there were over 51,000 cases of sexual offences. This translates to 145 cases per day, 42,000 women were raped during the same period and this translated to 117 per day.

The National Assembly has now passed legislation to establish of sexual offences courts.

African National Congresses’ (ANC) Bongani Bongo says, The ANC government has supported this and we strongly believe that removing the exclusivity in this particular bill will make sure that issues that are a serious cry for the nation, around issues of rape and the abuse of women, will be catered for in every court, in every jurisdiction of the court everywhere.

The Democratic Alliances (DA) Werner Horn says, To ensure that dedicated and exclusive sexual offences courts are maintained and rolled out in by the department rather than a hybrid system in which courts deal with other cases along with sexual offences.

We further propose that townships and remote rural areas be prioritised and in 2018 sexual offences should have been established in those places, says Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Sam Matiase.

Meanwhile, the Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) Professor Temba Msimang says, The accused may also have committed other offences which do not constitute sexual offences. Consequently it might be desirable that all the committed offences are tried in one case.

The sad part is that these statistics high as they may be are based on reported cases and that the reality is far worse reflected in these statistics, says National Freedom Party’s (NFP) Sibusiso Mncwabe.

The African Christian Democratic Party’s (ACDP) Steve Swart says, It is crucial that survivors of rape and sexual offences need to have their matters heard in those specially designated courts where you have skills, prosecutors, magistrates, social workers who are able to assist those victims and ensure that they don’t go through secondary trauma.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK