August 20, 2019

The fourth term of Parliament is traditionally taken up with the annual task of poring over the Annual Reports of Departments and the public entities linked to them. This is when Parliamentary Committees really exercise oversight of the executive.

Only seven higher education institutions could report there had been no incidents of rape on their campuses in 2017. In response to a question from Nontando Nolutshungu from the EFF the Minister of Higher Education and Training replied that the Department does not usually collect such information as a matter of routine.

Parliament’s questions to the Minister of Basic Education reveal that the Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure launched in 2013 to improve educational infrastructure will have to be deferred by another five to ten years beyond 2030.

"Members have a right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts". This was the conclusion of a brief, but possibly much-needed history lesson by the DA’s Cathlene Labuschagne, who put forward a motion noting “incorrect claims about the DA” made by the Minister in the Presidency, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She is alleged to have said that the apartheid-era National Party had merged with the DA and, further, that the DA has existed for over 300 years.

Despite high levels of spending of the government’s Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG), dangerous pit latrines, crumbling mud classrooms and shortages of desks, chairs and other resources remain commonplace throughout much of the education sector. This prompted the parliamentary Appropriations Committee to ask if the education sector should be left with the task of struggling to improve its infrastructure, or whether this should actually be the responsibility of the Department of Public Works.

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Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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