REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING ON ITS OVERSIGHT VISIT TO WALTER SISULU UNIVERSITY, UNIVERSITY OF FORT HARE, BUFFALO CITY FET COLLEGE, LOVEDALE FET COLLEGE AND PORT ELIZABETH FET COLLEGE DATED 22 AUGUST 2012

 

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, having undertaken an oversight visit to the higher education and training institutions in the Eastern Cape, reports as follows:

 

1. Introduction

 

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training undertook an oversight visit to the Walter Sisulu University, the University of Fort Hare, Buffalo City FET College, Lovedale FET College and Port Elizabeth (PE) FET college between 18 and 22 June 2012 as part of an ongoing oversight visits to institutions of higher education and training throughout the country. The purpose of the oversight visit was primarily to interact with the above-mentioned institutions on critical issues such as their admission policy, enrolment planning, their transformation plan, student access and success, and challenges of student accommodation in residences.

 

2. Background

 

The oversight visit consisted of a multiparty delegation of the Committee who visited the above-mentioned institutions on a fact finding mission. The oversight visit formed part of the Committee’s plan to visit the 23 public higher education institutions and 50 Public FET colleges across the country to focus on issues of student access and success, equity and equality, institutional governance, the disbursement of financial assistance in higher education and training institutions, the relationship between FET colleges and industries and other relevant matters in the higher education and training sector.

 

The Committee interacted with the above mentioned three public FET colleges and two universities. The interaction with the institutions provided an opportunity for the Committee to comprehensively engage with management and stakeholders of the institutions on critical issues pertinent to their operation. The programme of the visit included separate sessions with stakeholders of the institutions to provide an opportunity for them to raise their concerns in a safe environment.

 

3. Composition of the Delegation

 

3.1 The Parliamentary delegation

 

The multi-party delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training consisted of Adv I Malale Chairperson (ANC), Ms N Gina MP Whip (ANC), Mr S Makhubele MP (ANC), Prof S Mayatula (ANC), Mr C Moni (ANC), Mr S Radebe MP (ANC), Dr L Bosman (DA) and Prof A Lotriet (DA).

 

Support Staff: Mr A Kabingesi: Committee Secretary, Ms M Modiba: Researcher, Ms F Kwaza: Communications Officer, and Mr E Bazier: Committee Assistant.

 

3.2 Walter Sisulu University representation

Prof L van Staden: Administrator, Prof L Obi: Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Research, Mr S Mnyaiza: Acting Chief Operation Officer, Prof N Luswazi: Director Centre for Rural Development, Dr S Matoti: Director Institutional Development, Mr M Letlape: Interim Executive Director Student Affairs, Mr V Dwayi: Director Centre for Learning and Teaching Development, Mr M Payi: Director Centre for Community and International Partnership, Mr K Maphinda: Director Governance and Academic Administration, Mr G Ekosse: Director Research Development, Mr T Mashalaba: Director Financial Accounting, Mr P Mfazwe: Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and Ms A Church: Acting Director Marketing, Communications and Development.

 

Unions: Prof B Nakani: Chairperson, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Mr P Cenge: Lecturer NTEU, Dr Gumbi: Senior Lecturer / Secretary NTEU, Mr A Tyiwani: Lecturer NTEU, Ms M Yamaphi: Chairperson, National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU), Mr I Malema: Deputy Chairperson, NEHAWU, Mr N Charles: Treasurer, NEHAWU, Ms Z Makom: Member, NEHAWU, Mr N Memani: Chairperson, NEHAWU, Mr C Novukela: Member, Mr D Mafu: Shop Steward NEHAWU, Mr Z Mditshwa: Secretary NEHAWU, Mr N Blaai: Branch Executive Committee NEHAWU, Ms N Rabaza: Treasurer NEHAWU, Mr M Magewu: Extended Executive Member NEHAWU, Mr V Sonqishe: Deputy Chairperson NEHAWU, Mr S Mtshawulana: Shop Steward NEHAWU and Mr M Ntomtini: Shop Steward  NEHAWU.

 

Student Representative Council: Mr S Gavu: Premier, Mr P Langa: Deputy Premier, Mr A Mpatelwa: Deputy Secretary, Mr M Gxagxisa: Sports Officer, Mr G Mtshiyo: Member, Ms V Dinizulu: Member, Mr M Mtsolo: Member, Mr C Sigwili: Secretary, Mr Z Ntabankulu: Member, Mr K Mhlamvana: Secretary and Mr S Tsham: Sports Officer.

 

3.3 University of Fort Hare representation

Management: Dr M Tom: Vice-Chancellor, Dr J Mjwara: Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Institutional Support, Dr X Mtose: Dean, Faculty of Education, Mr B Gallant: Dean of Students, Mr G Bradley: Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, Mr B Tshotsho: Deputy Dean, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Mr C Jack Chief, Information, Mr R Bally: University Planner, Mr G James: General Manager, Operations, Ms Z Filtane: Director, Institutional Support, Ms N Toni: Teaching and Learning Centre, Mr A Johnson: Director, International Affairs and Ms N Rembe: UNESCO Chairperson, Oliver Tambo Chair of Management.

 

Unions: Mr V Peter: Shop Steward NEHAWU, Mr V Booi: Shop Steward NEHAWU, Mr A Magcoba: Shop Steward NEHAWU, Ms T Heshula: Shop Steward NEHAWU, Mr M Mrashula: Shop Steward NEHAWU and Mr T George: Branch Secretary NEHAWU.

 

Student Representative Council: Mr S Mbewu: President, Mr S Ndlovu: Deputy President, Mr L Mojo: Legal and Constitutional Affaris, Mr C Gumbo: Projects and Entertainment Officer, Ms B Kahla: Gender Officer, Mr S Mahlala: Transformation Officer and Mr P Dlakile: Gender Officer

 

3.4 Buffalo City FET College representation

Management: Mr D Singh: Principal, Mr N Ngaso: Vice-Principal, Planning Research and Institutional Development, Mr K Fassi: Vice-Principal Academic, Ms P Hing: Vice-Principal Academic, Mr R Ntanjana: Campus Manager, School of Occupational Training and Mr F van Rensburg: EMIS Manager.

 

Union: Mr M Mfazwe: Deputy Chairperson SADTU and Ms N Thuthani: Site Secretary SADTU

 

Student Representative Council: Mr A Mtedlana President, Mr M Zwide: Deputy President, Ms S Bantham: Treasurer, Ms Z Mbadamana: Recording Secretary, Ms K Zenani: Education and Transformation Officer and Ms N Mongotha: Religious Officer.

 

3.5 Lovedale FET College representation

Management: Mr N Stofile: Principal, Ms J Vester: Vice Principal, Education Services, Ms G Jacobs: Vice Principal Planning,Research and Institutional Development, Mr J Daniel: Vice Principal Education Services, Mr E Khumalo: Alumni Manager and Mr Z Chola: Senior Labour Relations Officer.

 

Unions: Ms Z Mgijima: Chairperson South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), Mr T Mangesana: Secretary SADTU, Mr L Diniso: Gender Officer SADTU, Mr N Rubude: Site Secretary, Mr Z Sicwetsha: Member SADTU, Mr M Jama: Member SADTU, Mr N Tatani: Member NEHAWU, Ms N Mtlabeti: Administration Officer, Mr E Mefu: FET Coordinator NEHAWU, Mr S Rabe: Member NEHAWU, Mr S Rulashe: Member NEHAWU, Mr M Koti:  South African State and Allied Workers Union (SASAWU) and Mr P Mlotwa: Member SASAWU.

 

Student Representative Council: Mr L Bolana: President, Mr L Magwebu: Chairperson (King Campus), Mr A Vala: Chairperson (Alice Campus), Mr L Makhenyane: Chairperson (Zwelitsha Campus), Mr C Poswa: Deputy President, Ms P Bentele: Secretary General and Mr l Mqingwana: Publicity Secretary.

 

3.6 Port Elizabeth FET College representation

Management: Mr J Grobler: Principal, Mr M Mzaidume: Vice-Principal, Ms S Raubenheimer: Vice-Principal Planning Research and Institutional Development, Mr D Baartzes: Vice-Principal Administration Services, Mr B MacKenzie: Registrar Institutional Development, Ms T Pienaar: Registrar Planning, Research & Partnership and Mr T Rademeyer: Registrar Student Support.

 

Unions: Mr G Chase: Branch Executive Chairperson SADTU, Mr S Xalipi: Site Executive Iqhayiya Branch SADTU, Ms K Matthys: Site Secretary Iqhayiya Branch SADTU, Mr X Swepu: Site Executive Member SADTU, Mr R Weiss: Site Representative Strauandale NAPTOSA, Mr N Gwaqa: Chairperson: NEHAWU, Ms S Moeketsi: Shop Steward NEHAWU and Ms N Molapo: National FET Coordinator NEHAWU.

 

Student Representative Council: Mr U Msuthu: President, Mr R Sigqibo: Deputy Chairperson, Mr B Motsie: Secretary and Mr N Quntana: Education and Transformation Officer.

 

3.7 Department of Higher Education and Training representation

Ms T Futshane: Acting Chief Director Vocational and Continuing Education and Training, Mr A Singh: Director, Ms B Swart: Director University Education, Mr D Maluleke: Deputy Director, Ms N Balfour: Deputy Director Eastern Cape Coordination and Ms P Sekgobela: Acting Parliamentary Liaison Officer Director-General’s Office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Summary of presentations

 

4.1 Walter Sisulu University

a) Background

Dr S Matoti, Director, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

WSU was established on 01 July 2005 in terms of the Higher Education Act No. 101 of 1997, as amended. The new university was named in honour of an icon of the South African liberation struggle, the late Walter Sisulu. Between 2002 and 2005, the South African higher education landscape underwent an extensive merger and incorporation process to bring about a more equitable dispensation to meet the requirements of a fast-developing, new democratic nation. The existing 36 universities and technikons were merged in various ways to produce 23 universities divided into three categories:

  • Traditional academic universities,
  • Comprehensive Universities (which offered both academic and technological qualifications) and,
  • Universities of Technology.

 

WSU was particularly uniquely positioned to play a powerful role in the national government’s new focus on rural development. Over 25 000 students (6 078 first time candidates) and approximately 2500 staff lived and worked across four campuses with 13 delivery sites in Mthatha, Butterworth, East London and Queenstown. WSU consisted of 89% undergraduate and 4% postgraduate enrolments. The racial composition of students was 99.2% African and 56% were females.

 

Now into its seventh year of existence, WSU was, in October 2011, placed under administration at the request of the Council, Management and WSU stakeholders. An Administrator, Prof L van Staden, was appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B Nzimande for a period of two years to lead WSU’s turnaround. Therefore, WSU was undergoing a massive turnaround strategy to improve infrastructure and review academic enterprise, financial sustainability, human resources and drive change management.

 

b) Admission Policy

Mr K Maphinda: Director of Governance and Academic Administration led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Registration as a student of WSU was conducted according to the General Student Rules as specified in the General Prospectus and as approved by Senate.
  • The general requirement for admission to degree programmes was a Matriculation endorsement of the National Senior Certificate. The general requirement for admission to diploma / certificates programmes was a senior certificate or NSC (endorsed for diploma / certificate admission).
  • An applicant who held a senior certificate and a three-year recognized diploma and had been granted a matriculation exemption by the Matriculation Board was admitted to a Bachelors Degree course irrespective of age.
  • The university had a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy in place to admit experienced candidates who lacked the NSC qualification.

c) Enrolment Plan

Dr S Matoti, Director, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Based on the 2010 figures, WSU had 26 734 headcount enrolments of which 6078 were first time entering undergraduates.
  • WSU consisted of 89% undergraduates and 4% postgraduate enrolments. Approximately 57% were enrolled in undergraduate diplomas and certificates and 32% in undergraduate degrees, 2.4% were enrolled in postgraduate to below Masters degree qualification, 1.3% in Masters degrees and 0.1% in Doctoral degrees. The university did not offer distance education.
  • The majority of students were enrolled in Business Management (32%), followed by 28% of enrolments in Science, Engineering and Technology, 23% in other Humanities and 17% in Education.
  • The headcount totals should be 26 700 in 2013, graduates should increase to 4906 from 3551 in 2010 and the targeted success rate for 2013 was 73.4% compared to 68% in 2010.

 

d) Transformation Charter

Dr S Matoti, Director, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The Transformation Charter was a product of broad consultation of different stakeholders within the university. The Transformation Indaba was held in 2009 and stated that there was a need for a transformation programme to be implemented over a five year period.
  • WSU accepted all students from different races, regardless of their gender, cultural background, language, economic and social background.
  • WSU developed six strategic initiatives to transform the university, namely; a learning and teaching charter and research agenda, fostering equity and non-discrimination, an engaged university, creating an excellent student life experience, resource mobilization and creating a WSU culture and identity.

 

e) Management of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursary

Mr T Mashalaba, Director Financial Accounting, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • NSFAS loans and bursaries made up 82% of WSU student fee income. The total allocation of the NSFAS funding for the 2012 academic year was R251 million and 5654 students were not allocated NSFAS bursaries owing to the huge demand.
  • The challenges in funding were extensive owing to the demand for financial assistance which exceeded the supply.
  • WSU was using very old ITS version system for the capturing of student data who qualified for NSFAS. Other institutions were using Integrator II which was fast and very effective.
  • The Financial Aid Office of the institution was in a poor condition. The documents were being kept in card boxes underneath the tables, photocopy and printing machines were not properly functioning, more than 50% of the computers were bought before 2002 and used old programmes, furniture in the office was in poor state and 18 staff members had been on contract for the past five years.
  • The shortfall of the NSFAS funding was R28 million and the university required an additional R78 million to cater for all the needs of students.

 

f) Student success and drop out rate

Prof L van Staden, Administrator, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The success rate of the university was 68% in 2010 and among the lowest in South Africa. The national benchmark success rate was 80% and the university targeted a 73% success rate in 2013. The throughput rate was 14% as compared to the national benchmark of 25%. Academic performance in terms of teaching output was poor.
  • The university had a foundation learning and development programme that provided opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education.
  • The inadequate student pass rate of the university was affected by various factors such as under-preparedness, poor financial backgrounds and other social challenges.

 

g) Success and challenges of the university

Ms A Church: Acting Director Marketing, Communications and Development led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • WSU had more than 25 000 students with 2500 staff members. Half of the population of the Eastern Cape was educated by the university. The university was the only institution of the three higher education institutions with a Medical School in the province.
  • The university was working with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) to produce Chartered Accountants and 100 students were already enrolled for the programme.
  • WSU had a research chair in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and various community engagements on HIV programmes in rural areas.
  • A major turnaround strategy had been submitted to the Minister. The university was financially bankrupt and 80% of its budget went to salaries of personnel staff.
  • The merger of the university was incomplete. Currently, there were three payrolls of staff from the three merged institutions. There was no harmonization of conditions of service of personnel staff.
  • The administrator submitted a proposal of R1.7 billion to overhaul the entire institution. There was a serious backlog of dilapidated infrastructure and student residences were not conducive to learning.
  • The two legacy institutions before the merger were also bankrupt; hence the university had been operating on a deficit for the past five years.

 

h) National Tertiary Educators Union (NTEU)

Prof B Nakani, Chairperson, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Lack of communication and consultation with the university stakeholders remained a serious concern for the union. There was a complete disregard of human resource management policies by management. WSU employed 45 directors who were not involved in teaching and there was extensive use of consultants by the university.
  • The merger of the three institutions was only on paper. Operations on different sites were still separate and the Programme Qualification Mix (PQM) did not cater for articulation from vocational education to degree programmes.
  • High academic staff turnover remained a serious concern for the union.

 

i) NEHAWU

 Ms M Yamaphi: Chairperson, NEHAWU, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The union was extremely concerned that the Committee came at a very late stage to the university when the situation was critical. Since the appointment of the Administrator in October 2011, the situation in the university had deteriorated.
  • A huge gap existed between the Technical Task Team of the Administrator and the university stakeholders.  A stakeholder’s summit convened by the Administrator was held in East London for two days. It was meant to develop a roadmap for a turn-around strategy for the university.
  • The report of the Administrator on the stakeholder’s summit identified key focus areas of which some of the Technical Task Team members did not have experience. NEHAWU wanted experienced people to be appointed to lead those areas since the current team of the Administrator was failing.
  • There was no improvement in student registration and unfortunately a student died during this period owing to student protests.
  • The human resource department was managed by a consultant who was not fully dedicated to the university. NEHAWU proposed for the dismissal of consultants in the Technical Task Team.
  • The human resource management policies were not implemented by the Technical Task Team. Certain students from Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) were appointed to senior management posts without having the necessary experience.
  • Inadequate implementation of supply chain management policies remained a serious concern. There were appointments of companies without following the proper tendering procedures.
  • There was a conflict of interest in the company (Fastrack) which was awarded a tender to turnaround financial systems of the university, since the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) owned it.
  • The consultants employed by the university were being paid large fees without completing their duties efficiently. The consultants did not transfer their skills to staff members so that they can be capacitated. Most of the consultants used the university credit card and they made duplication payments.
  • An amount of R460 000 was paid to a Pretoria company that designed the SRC constitution and some consultants had a vested interest in the company.

 

Recommendations of NEHAWU:

  • The merger of the university should be reviewed.
  • A team of highly experienced experts should be appointed and services of consultants should be terminated by 30 June 2012.
  • The Administrator should review his terms of reference and perform accordingly. The deadline to meet his targets was 30 September 2012.
  • The harmonisation of conditions of services should be prioritised by the Administrator and his team.
  • A retention strategy should be developed to address the high staff turn over experienced by the university.

j) Student Representative Council (SRC)

Mr S Gavu, Premier of the SRC, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The SRC was concerned that the Administrator came from an institution (Tswane University of Technology) that was also under administration and that WSU had become a colony of TUT. The student leadership was not invited in the stakeholder’s summit held in East London by the Administrator.
  • Finance: The finance department was currently headed by consultants who worked three days a week in the university and were unable to address all financial queries of students.
  • Student Affairs: The report of the Independent Assessor noted serious concerns regarding the management of student affairs at WSU. The challenges of students got worse since the Administrator was appointed. Former students of TUT occupied positions of managers in this department without the necessary experience. Inadequate student support services remained a serious concern.
  • Academic Enterprise: The current infrastructure was unable to accommodate the number of students registered in the university. The majority of Computer Laboratories were dysfunctional, with very few computers (100 computers for 7000 students).
  • Human Resources: A shortage of lecturers remained a serious concern for students. The students had never met the Administrator and were not aware of his Technical Task Team. Certain staff members had been appointed as consultants. Senior managers who were employed before the Administrator was appointed still occupied their positions.
  • Safety and Security: Three students lost their lives within the campus owing to crime this year alone. The three security companies hired by the university were not competent to protect students from criminals.

 

k) Visit to residences

The Committee observed the following during its visit to student residences:

  • The conditions at the student residences were not conducive for learning.
  • The buildings were old and required urgent refurbishment.
  • The geysers were not functioning properly and students had to bath in cold water.
  • The roofs of some residences were leaking which posed serious challenges during the rainy season.
  • There were no elevators in any of the residences on Campus for students with disabilities.
  • Some of the kitchens shared by students did not have functioning electric stoves.
  • The showers and toilet facilities were in very bad condition.

 

 

 

4.2 University of Fort Hare

a) History and context

Dr M Tom: Vice-Chancellor led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The university was founded in 1916 as a non-racial higher education institution to meet the needs of the black population. It became designated as a university for blacks in 1985 and remained a centre of anti-apartheid resistance until 1994. The first black Vice-Chancellor was appointed in the university in 1991.
  • The university experienced a financial and administrative crisis in 1998. During this period, there was a decline in enrolments due to the financial crisis. Recovery plans began in 2000 and by the year 2001, the university had increased its enrolment to more than 10 000 students.
  • In 2004, the university became the only historically black university to incorporate a campus of a historically white university (Rhodes University) following a national restructuring of higher education.
  • The university was the only higher education institution in the world to produce five different leaders of African countries. Some of the well known students included; Dr N Mandela, President R Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Hon Y Lule, Archbishop D Tutu, Mr R Sobukwe, Mr C Hani and many other leaders.
  • The university was situated on the south-eastern coast of South Africa. It had three campuses straddling a distance of 120km, from Alice to East London. The university served one of the poorest regions of South Africa, helping to bring students from areas sidelined from development into the mainstream of the national economy.
  • Alice Campus: The buildings in the campus were old and needed extensive refurbishment. Lecture venues were old, outdated and inadequate. Residences needed renovation and an additional space for 2000 beds. The library was too small and the university planned to build a new library to celebrate its centenary in 2016. The university had a Dairy Farm which aimed to benefit nearby communities. There was also a Nguni Project with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to purchase cows to the value of R2.7 million to be given to local communities.
  • Bisho Campus: The campus was developed specifically to train and develop public servants for the province. The campus was small, new and modern, opened in 1990.
  • East London Campus: This campus was incorporated from Rhodes University in 2004. It was a small campus in the downtown area of East London which consisted of well maintained and modified buildings. The campus was currently beyond its capacity. There was a shortage of large lecture venues and a lack of residences remained a serious concern.
  • Enrolments: The university had a total headcount of 11 982 students in 2011 of which 9208 were undergraduates. In terms of demographics, 94% students were African, 4% White and 2% Indian. Female students made up 56% of the student population and 87% of students were South Africans and 10% were Zimbabweans.

 

b) Transformation Plan, Graduation Rate and Staff Profile

Dr J Mjwara, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Institutional Support, led the presentation, which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The objectives of the transformation plan of the university were to meet the learning needs and aspirations of learners, to address development needs of society and provide the labour market with qualified and caring professionals, to contribute to the socialization of enlightened, responsible and critical citizens and to contribute to the creation, sharing and evaluation of knowledge.
  • The barriers to transformation included; the perception that transformation was for certain people, inconsistent governance, a failure to set realistic time-frames, a lack of institutional buy in and a lack of resources.
  • The pass rate of the university was 83% of the registered courses; the graduation rate was 23% above the national average of 21%.
  • Based on 2010 figures, permanent staff headcount was 712 of which 429 were professional staff. Of the 292 instruction research professionals, 33% had PhD, 24% had Masters degrees and 25% other qualifications. The ratio of FTE students to FTE instruction staff was 1:29.
  • The total allocation of the NSFAS bursary at UFH increased to 19.3% from R104.3 million to R124.5 million in 2012.

 

c) Unions

Mr T George led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The union was extremely concerned with the dilapidated infrastructure of the university. The university’s inability to attract and retain best students and academic staff remained a serious concern.
  • The geographic location of the Alice campus was a concern since Alice was a small town with inadequate social activities. The town was under-developed and 70% of the houses in the town were owned by the Department of Public Works. The union would like these houses to be allocated to the academic staff of the university owing to the lack of adequate accommodation in the area.
  • There was serious biasness towards the East London campus in terms of infrastructure development resulting in the Alice campus being ignored.
  • The current funding formula did not take into account the historical background of UFH. There was a need for a redress funding to develop the infrastructure of the university.
  • The university should be declared a heritage site since it had historical buildings that were part of the history of the country.
  • The relationship between the management of the university and the union was cordial. Management had an open door policy and the union participated in council meetings.

 

d) Student Representative Council

Mr S Mbewu, President of the SRC, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Registration: The process of registration in the university was very chaotic at the beginning of the year. There were serious allegations of corruption being investigated which included the sale of application forms to students by support staff.
  • Accommodation: The majority of students registered in the university were from very poor backgrounds and deep rural areas. The university residences were in a very poor condition and not conducive for learning. A student had died due to a fire which broke out in one of the residences. There was an urgent need to refurbish and expand the residences. The university did not own all the residences in East London and private owners charged exorbitant prices for accommodation.
  • NSFAS: The current allocation of the NSFAS bursary was not sufficient to cater for all the students needs. Many students living in university residences did not have a food and book allowance and, as a result, some of them dropped-out of the university.

 

4. 3 Buffalo City FET college

a) Historical Background and context

Mr D Singh, Principal, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Buffalo City FET college was established in 2002 as a result of the merger of three Colleges, namely, East London College and its St Marks Campus, Border Technical College and Knox Bokwe Careers College in Mdantsane.

·         The Border Technical College premises had since closed down and its Business Studies programme absorbed into the East London Campus and its Engineering Division into St Marks Campus

·         The college had two specialized campuses, namely, the School of Business based at the East London Campus, the School of Engineering based at the John Knox Bokwe Campus in uMdantsane and the School of Occupational Training based in Southernwood.

·         The college had a plan to open another campus at the Greater Kei Local municipality which would focus on Agriculture and Tourism.

·         The college currently served the surrounding Buffalo City and Amathole District Municipality and attracted students from Mdantsane, East London, King Williams Town and Zwelitsha. A significant number of students were also attracted from Cofimvaba, Umtata and Butterworth which were accommodated in the College’s hostel facilities.

 

b) Admission Policy

·         The purpose of the admission policy was, inter alia, to provide a support structure and a frame of reference for the College to apply an admissions and registration policy.

·         To determine authority, development, approval, and issues pertaining to the admission of learners at College; to provide guidelines for the Buffalo City College Further Education and Training College (hereinafter referred to as college) to admit students without unfairly discriminating in any way, including on the grounds of race, ethnic or social origin, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, religion, belief, culture, language, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS status or disability; and to determine minimum admission requirements in respect of specific college programmes.

·         To determine the number of students who may be admitted for a particular college programme and the manner of their selection.

·         To determine the minimum requirements for re-admission to study at the College.

·         To refuse re-admission of a student who failed to satisfy such minimum requirements for re-admission.

·         To provide for the cancellation of registration of learners in terms of the policy of relevant college policy, e.g. Finance, Teaching and Learning Policy and Attendance Policy.

 

c) Headcount Enrolments 2011/12

·         During the 2011 academic year the college had 2,567 students enrolled for NC(V) across the three Levels and 4, 035 students enrolled for the Report 191 Programmes for N1 –N6.

·         For the 2012 academic year the college had 2624 students enrolled for the NC(V) Programme and 1461 students enrolled for the Report 191 Programmes.  Of the 1461 Report 191 students 737 are registered for Engineering studies at N2 – N6, and 724 for Business and other programmes.  The college currently has no N1 Engineering students.

 

d) Staff Profile

·         The college currently had 301 staff members, 170 of these are employed on a full time basis by the Provincial Department of Education, 69 employed are full time employees employed by the College Council and 62 are temporarily employed by the College Council.

 

e) Partnership with industries

·         The college had formed partnerships with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and Bunono Engineers who offered work-based experiential training to learners. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SARS was signed in March 2012 and the MoU with Bunono was still in draft form.

·         Eskom offered bursaries to the Report 191 Engineering students as well as learnerships to the same students.

·         The relationship with the ETDP SETA was to train the lecturers to obtain a formal teaching qualification though the Vocational Education Orientation Programme (VEOP).

 

f) College challenges

  • There was currently no Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the college.
  • There was no seed capital to start new projects.
  • There was a lack of specialist experienced staff e.g. IT, Auditor, Accountant, artisan trainer.
  • There was a lack of student accommodation.
  • There was no new staff establishment by DHET for the college.
  • There was a resistance to change by some staff members.
  • The late release of exam results by the Department resulted in student protests.
  • There were outstanding certificates – NCV and 191.
  • There was no PERSAL system at the college.

 

g) Unions

Mr M Mfazwe: Deputy Branch Chairperson of SADTU led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Since the promulgation of the Further Education and Training Colleges (FETC) Act No 16 of 2006, employees employed by the college council were affected the most. There was no harmonization of the conditions of service between the state and college council employees.
  • The working conditions in the college remained a serious concern for the union. There was a shortage of lecturers in relation to the growing number of students.
  • The labour unions of the college had a good relationship with college management and were consulted on critical issues affecting the college.

h) The Student Representative Council

Mr M Zwide, Deputy President, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • SRC Workshop: The SRC of the college had a workshop in Port Alfred where it discussed its implementation plan. Out of the workshop deliberations, the SRC developed its community outreach programme and training and development programme to capacitate its members.
  • Relationship with management: The SRC had a cordial relationship with the management of the college. Management had an open door policy to discuss any critical issues with the college stakeholders. The SRC was able to resolve challenges with management of the college and it also participated in the governance of the college.
  • Results: The late release of results was the main concern for all students of the college. Students who had completed their National Certificate Vocational NC(V) last year had not yet received their certificates and this disadvantaged students in terms of their progress to continue with their studies or seek  employment.
  • NC(V): Students were seriously concerned with the NC(V) qualification since it was not recognised by industries and some universities did not accept students with NC(V). The Department should advocate the NC(V) and make industry aware of its importance.
  • Accommodation: Shortage of accommodation remained a serious challenge for the college. Majority of students in the college came from rural areas outside East London and were unable to obtain accommodation in the college. There was currently no residence policy in place at the college.

 

4.4 Lovedale FET college

a) Student Representative Council

Mr L Bolana, President of SRC led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The SRC was extremely concerned with current leadership of the higher education and training landscape of the country.
  • The late release of the NC(V) and Report 191 results remained a serious concern for students of the college.
  • Students had a serious challenge with the transport grant from NSFAS. Certain students did not obtain the R6000 allocated for transport costs and were struggling to travel to the college on a daily basis due to the high cost.
  • The NSFAS bursary allocation for students was inadequate. The bursary did not cover meal vouchers for students staying in residences. Majority of students received the bursary late during the academic year which caused some to drop out.
  • Students were being taught by unqualified lecturers who lacked a sound knowledge of subjects resulting in a high failure and drop out rate.

b) Unions

Mr E Mefu, the FET Coordinator of NEHAWU led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Uniformity in the conditions of service between state-employed and college council employed staff remained a serious concern. The contracts of college employed staff were different and they did not obtain benefits enjoyed by state employees.
  • The college employed staff members who have been on contract for more than 10 years. The shortage of staff remained a serious concern for the college. Lecturers were overburdened with work owing to the high student / lecturer ratio.
  • The late delivery of textbooks affected learning and some textbooks had not yet been delivered to the college. Training at the college was biased towards lecturing staff while support staff were not offered any formal training.
  • College staff did not belong to any bargaining council and their conditions of service depended on the decisions of council. The college council was not fully functional and did not prioritise the needs of its employees.

 

c) History and context

Mr N Stofile, Principal, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Lovedale started as a mission station in 1824, on the Tyume River in Alice. John Bennie of the Glasgow Mission Society of Scotland founded Lovedale through the influence of Dr John Love, after whom the mission was named.
  • In 1838 a small dwelling and church school were established at the mission and by the end of this year the school had 132 pupils. The educational institution of Lovedale was officially opened on 21 July 1841. The first principal was Rev. William Govan, after whom Govan Mbeki, former member of the African National Congress (ANC), was named.
  • In 2002, a merger between three institutions, namely, East London College, Zwelethemba College and Lovedale Community College gave birth to Lovedale FET College. Today, the Lovedale FET College consists of three campuses (Alice, King Williams Town and Zwelitsha), each one addressing particular needs of the community.

 

d) Challenges

Student Challenges

  • Absenteeism owing to the lack of transport funds and delays in NSFAS processes.
  • Irregular attendance during assessments.
  • Insufficient career guidance and support.
  • The lack of academic support and a foundational programme for high risk students.

 

Lecturer Challenges

  • The lecturing staff, especially in engineering studies had challenges in teaching methodology.
  • The majority of lecturers were incapable of balancing theory and practical components of the NC(V) curricula.
  • The lack of planning and managing of the actual teaching and delivery of the curricula.
  • The lack of support from industry and local business in forming partnerships for lecturing staff.

 

Administrative challenges

  • Insufficient classrooms to accommodate increased student enrolments.
  • College inability to employ staff members on a fixed contract owing to the new labour regulations, which meant that the college cannot retain its staff members.
  • The Department’s FET college bursary scheme allocation was not sufficient.
  • Administrative assistance from the district office was non-existent.
  • Absence of PERSAL for the college made it difficult to manage staff appointments and withdrawals.

 

Bursary Administration challenges

  • The students’ lack of understanding of what bursary and registration forms were designed for.
  • Students submitting incomplete forms, which in turn delayed the bursary process.
  • Students not informed timeously about the outcome of their bursary application
  • That students would only receive 90% of the NSFAS bursary owing to top slicing.
  • The late submission of the required documents from students.

 

e) Achievements

  • The increased and beneficial partnerships with various organizations and industries
  • The intense and ongoing lecturer training by the Province, the Department and the Education and Training Development Practices (ETDP) SETA.
  • Development in the college in terms of infrastructure, academic resources and human resources.

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 Port Elizabeth FET College

a) History and context

Ms J Grobler, Principal, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Port Elizabeth College was the largest of the eight multi campus FET colleges in the Eastern Cape, currently boasting a student population of more than 5000 and was made up of a merger between three Technical Colleges within the Nelson Mandela Metro namely Russell Road, Iqhayiya and Bethelsdorp, each with its own rich and illustrious history.
  • The merger process took place during 2002 and in 2003 when the current Principal Mrs Heather Joy Grobler was appointed. There were three campuses and six sites of delivery, namely Russell Road Campus comprising of Russell Road, Victoria and Erica, Struandale Campus, comprising of Iqhayiya, Algoa and Zincedeni and finally the Dower Campus.
  • Results: Results in FET colleges remained a serious concern nationally as the sector struggled to find suitably qualified lecturers who were mostly employed in the private sector. There was a serious concern with the pass rate of maths and applied accounting in the college. The college had developed a foundation programme aimed to assist learners who were struggling to cope with the above subjects.
  • Drop-out: The drop-out rate out of students in the college remained a serious concern with various contributing factors. In 2010 the college experienced instability and during that period many students dropped-out due to the fact the college was struggling financially.
  • Partnerships: The college had good partnerships with the business chamber and SETAs. The college had a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) for NC(V) students to articulate to degree programmes after completion. The majority of the students at the college were placed in various industries during the June holidays to obtain work experience.

 

b) NSFAS bursary management and administration

  • The demand for financial assistance in the college exceeded supply since the majority of the students came from disadvantaged backgrounds in rural areas. In 2011, the college received sufficient funding from the NSFAS and it was easy to address the demand for financial aid. However, for 2012, the college received an allocation of R36 million with a R4 million deficit of the actual plan. This placed increased pressure on the management of the college in attending to the demands for financial support.
  • The student protests in the college had been caused by the demand for financial assistance. The college had set aside R13 million from its own funds to deal with the challenge of financial support.

 

c) Unions

South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU)

Mr G Chase, Branch Executive Chairperson, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Lack of policies: The college was operating without policies and procedures which led to the lack of responsibility and accountability at all levels.  This situation led to the abuse of power and allowed management to implement decisions based on personal feelings and subjectivity rather than policies.
  • Lack of vision: Owing to the lack of vision by management, emerged students strikes which could have been avoided if management had created a platform to address issues with the stakeholders of the college.
  • Lack of responsibility: The management of the college was very reactionary. They only acted when there was a crisis at the college rather being pro-active. The college was run on crisis mode and management tended to wait until a situation was out of control before attempting to resolve the situation.
  • Nepotism: Nepotism was at its highest level in the college. People were handpicked to occupy positions on the basis of personal relations at the college.
  • Employment equity: The college had been operating for years without an Equity Plan and as a result no employment equity had been implemented. Out of 30 senior posts in the college, only four were occupied by Africans.
  • Racism: Racism was at its highest point in the college and this was evident in the composition of staff. SADTU and NEHAWU were constantly reminded by the Principal that they were in a minority in the college.
  • Top-ups: Two white lecturers were paid two salaries per month which was an abuse of college funds and irresponsible expenditure.
  • Lack of training for certain staff: The college had a skills development Registrar but the level of skills for lecturing staff and the staff in general was poor. Bursary forms were only given to privileged individuals.

 

 

 

 

 

National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA)

Mr R Weiss: Site Representative Strauandale led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • There were two investigations currently conducted by a Jet Services facilitator and two advocates from NMMU into the affairs of the college and the union was eagerly awaiting the outcomes of those investigations.
  • The FET Act No 16 of 2006 was not implemented when the SRC elections were being held. The union was extremely concerned that there were no SRC elections held for 2012.
  • The disruption of classes by the SRC leadership during lecturing times remained a serious concern for the union. The displacement of management by other unions was a serious concern for the union.

 

National Education and Health Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU)

Ms S Moeketsi: Shop Steward led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • Since the merger of the college in 2002, the college has had serious challenges to deal with. There was a leadership vacuum in the management of the college. The current Principal did not posses leadership skills to steer the college in the right direction.
  • The union voiced a serious concern regarding the management and leadership style of the Campus Manager at Iqhayiya Campus. Workers were undermined and shifted to positions for which they were not designated. Irregular appointments remained a serious concern on that campus.
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM) policies were not followed properly in the procurement of goods and services for the college

 

Student Representative Council

Mr U Msuthu, President, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:

  • The SRC constitution was submitted to Council and signed fraudulently without proper consultation from the SRC which resulted in delays of this year’s SRC elections.
  • Senior management of the college disbanded the SRC illegally citing its term of expiry. The SRC constitution was not in line with the FETC Act No 16 of 2006.
  • The minimum requirement for NC(V) learners was not Grade 9, but it was a Matriculation certificate and this was not in line with government policies of expanding access to post school education and training opportunities for young people. Young people with Grade 9 were denied the opportunity to further their education and skills by the college.
  • Student Support Services remained a serious concern for students. The college did not have adequate support programmes for learners who were struggling with their studies. There were no student advisors in the college.
  • Delays in the release of results and certificates for NC(V) programmes remained a serious concern for students.

 

5. Observations

5.1 Walter Sisulu University

  • The Committee was extremely concerned that the university operated on a deficit of R135 million due to poor financial planning and the exploitation of resources for individual interest by previous management. The university liabilities exceeded its current assets by R356 million and its current reserves were critically low (the university was literally bankrupt).
  • The university was placed under administration in November 2011 following the report of the Independent Assessor’s report and Prof L van Staden was appointed to rescue the institution from total collapse.
  • Since the appointment of the Administrator in November 2011, university stakeholders such as Labour Unions and the SRC were of the opinion that the university’s state of affairs were deteriorating. Some of the major allegations raised included the excessive use of consultants, a conflict of interest in the companies appointed to render services to the university, irregular appointments of senior managers and the lack of engagements between the Administrator and university stakeholders.
  • The demand for financial assistance at WSU far exceeded its supply, which resulted in the NSFAS allocation being spread too thinly to as many students as possible. It emerged that 82% of student funding came from the NSFAS allocation since the majority of students at the university came from disadvantaged backgrounds. The situation had become so severe that there were no meal vouchers for some NSFAS bursary beneficiaries.
  • The Department, through the National Skills Fund (NSF), allocated R310 million in December 2011 to support to the growing demand for financial aid which brought a huge relief to the university.
  • It emerged that the institution had not actually merged and that it was unable to harmonize human resource management systems. The different campuses were still adhering to their pre-merger human resource and administrative systems.
  • Financial instability has had significant impact on the teaching and learning output in the university and that academic success, as measured by pass rates (68% compared to the national average of 80%), graduation rates (18% compared to the national average of 23%) remained a serious concern.
  • Overcrowding in lecture rooms was a reality in the university owing to inadequate infrastructure. The university had reached its carrying capacity in terms of student population in the campus and infrastructure backlog was enormous. The university required R1 billion to address the infrastructure backlog.
  • Safety and security was a serious concern in the university. Intruders were able to gain access to the university since there was no adequate fencing and security personnel visibility. As a result, three students lost their lives owing to criminal activities this year alone. The Administrator submitted a R15 million bid to the Department for palisade fencing around the university.
  • The shortage of lecturers was highlighted as a main concern of students. There were no Tutors in the university. Student Support Services were in a state of collapse and academic exclusions remained a concern.

 

5.2 The University of Fort Hare

  • The university had historically experienced financial difficulties and as a result, enrolments declined significantly during the period of 1998 – 2000. A turnaround strategy that was implemented in 2001 stabilised the situation of the university and since then there had been significant improvements in enrolments.
  • The university was among the oldest institutions of higher learning in the country and its infrastructure had not been improved for several years. The old buildings in the Alice Campus required urgent refurbishment.
  • In terms of governance, the University Council was functional and there were no reported challenges in its composition. The university had a solid student governance system and Labour Unions played a critical role in the decision-making of the Council. There was harmony between management and university stakeholders.
  • The demand for financial assistance exceeded the supply. As a historically disadvantaged university, most of its students came from disadvantaged backgrounds and the NSFAS funding was their only means of accessing higher education. This resulted in top slicing to ensure that the highest number of students received financial aid and, unfortunately the final allocation per student did not cover books and meal vouchers.
  • It emerged that there was a serious crisis with regards to the shortage of accommodation in the university. The university was situated in a rural area and most of its students came from distant areas and the small town of Alice did not have adequate infrastructure to accommodate them. Even the current residences were in a state of disrepair and required urgent refurbishment and expansion.
  • It emerged that the university admitted only 3000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) students out of the 13 000 applications it received for the 2012 academic year. The lack of capacity remained a serious concern for the university in admitting more students.
  • Students were extremely concerned with the withholding of results by the university for those students who owed the university and, this mostly affected those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

 

5.3 Buffalo City FET College

  • It was noted with serious concern that the college experienced a decline in headcount enrolment for the year 2012 (6 602 students in 2011and 4 085 in 2012) while the country was struggling with the growing number of young people with no employment or formal training.
  • The college had a serious challenge of accommodation. It could only accommodate 250 students out of the 4 085 student population and some of the students came from rural areas far from the city.
  • Delays in the release of results remained a serious concern for students of the college. Students who completed their NC(V) and Report 191 programmes had not yet received their certificates from the college.
  • The college was commended for having had an unqualified audit report for the past four years.
  • The Committee was extremely concerned with the poor pass rate in the NC(V) programme especially in Electrical Engineering and Design.
  • It emerged that some of the lecturers in the college were unqualified hence the college experienced poor pass rates in the NC(V).

 

5.4 Lovedale FET College

  • Lack of support from industry and local business for experiential learning opportunities of NC(V) graduates was highlighted as the main concern of students.
  • The demand for NSFAS bursaries at the college was very high since the majority of the students came from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • The college did not have access to PERSAL which created a challenge when resolving human resource management grievances.
  • Students complained about the inability of lecturers in balancing theory and practical components of the NC(V) programme, and as a result, there was a high failure rate of the NC(V) programme in the college.
  • Student support services were inadequate in the college. Learners with Grade 12 were being taught in the same class as learners with Grade 9 for the NC(V) programme.

5.5 Port Elizabeth FET college

  • The Committee was extremely concerned with the conflict that existed between the college management and college stakeholders such as Labour Unions and the SRC.
  • It emerged that there were serious allegations of mismanagement by the Campus Manager of Iqhayiya Campus and the majority of the concerns raised by the college stakeholders were mostly from this Campus.
  • Students complained about the late release of results by the college and how it affected their quest for progressing both academically and economically.
  • It emerged that the student protests which resulted in the displacement of management at college were as a result of the NSFAS bursary grievances by students.
  • There were serious allegations of racism and nepotism in the appointment of senior managers in the college and there was no employment equity in place.
  • The inadequate implementation of supply chain management policies was highlighted as the main concern of the labour unions in the appointment of service providers for the college.
  • The Committee was extremely concerned with the restrictions set by the college for the admission of learners with Grade 9, since they were contrary with legislation / policies governing FET colleges.

 

6. Summary

The four days oversight visit to three FET colleges and two universities in the Eastern Cape was progressive for the Committee in its mandate of visiting the majority of higher education and training institutions in the country. The Committee was received well by all the institutions it visited and the requested documents were submitted on time by the institutions. In most of the institutions visited by the Committee, the challenges were very similar and required extensive investment in resources. Challenges such as the shortage of accommodation, the demand for financial assistance, poor pass rates in the NC(V) programme, student protests, unqualified lecturers, late releases of results by the Department and unemployability of FET graduates were experienced in the majority of the institutions visited.

 

The Department which accompanied the Committee during the oversight visit acknowledged that it was partly to blame for the lack of advocacy of the NC(V) programme and delays in the release of the results for FET college students. Despite the fact that the NSFAS bursary scheme had tripled in the past three years, the demand for financial assistance in the institutions visited was massive. This was partly contributed by the location of the institutions which were in rural areas and the majority of students who came from poor family backgrounds. This further contributed to the increase in the drop out rate since the NSFAS bursary did not cover all the students needs.

7. Recommendations

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training requests that the Minister of Higher Education and Training ensures that the following recommendations are considered, and where possible, implemented within one month of the adoption of this report:

 

  • Funding: What emerged strongly during the oversight visit was that the demand for financial aid exceeded the supply in all institutions visited. The Committee recommends that the National Skills Fund (NSF) should allocate more resources to needy institutions to reduce the backlog of shortage of NSFAS bursaries.
  • Conflict of interest: The Department should investigate the conflict of interest by consultants at the Walter Sisulu University in accordance with the provisions of the Higher Education Laws Amendment Act, No 21, 2011 which regulates the conduct of members of the council, members of committees of the council and employees of a public higher education institution engaging in business with the relevant public higher education institution.
  • NC(V) Results: In all the FET colleges visited by the Committee, the issue of the late release of results by the Department was highlighted as a key concern. The Department should improve its capacity to ensure that results at FET colleges are released timeously.
  • Curriculum Review: The NC(V) results in all the FET colleges visited were very poor. It is under these findings that the Committee proposes a curriculum review of the NC(V) as it was failing many young people.
  • Articulation from FET colleges to institutions of higher learning: Articulation continued to remain a thorny issue for students who wished to further their studies at institutions of higher learning. The Department should explore ways of standardizing requirements for articulation since currently institutions of higher learning apply different rules when dealing with admissions through NC(V) certificates.
  • The lack of access to the PERSAL system by FET colleges: The Department should ensure that FET colleges are to access PERSAL to ensure their knowledge of personnel expenditure.
  • Delay in delivery of textbooks: Certain FET colleges did not receive some textbooks six months into the academic year. The delay of the delivery of textbooks to colleges negatively impacts the quality of teaching and learning, creating high failure rate in the NC(V) programmes. The Committee recommends that the Department ensures that textbooks are delivered on time.
  • Racism: There were serious allegations of racial tensions in the Port Elizabeth FET college. The Department should urgently address the issues of race relations at the college in order to improve social cohesion and make the college non-racial
  • Accommodation: Shortage of accommodation was a norm in most of the institution visited. The Committee recommends prioritisation of rural-based institutions to be allocated more funding to address the challenge of accommodation.
  • Experiential Learning: Work placement opportunities for NC(V) graduates remained a serious concern. The Department should develop a policy that will assist FET colleges to have strong partnership with industries to improve workplace learning for FET college graduates.
  • FET college lecturers: Unqualified lecturers in FET colleges were partly to blame for the poor pass rate of the NC(V) programme. The Department should develop adequate lecturer development programmes to capacitate FET college lecturers.
  • Advocacy of the NC(V): It appeared from the interactions with stakeholders at the colleges that the NC(V) was poorly marketed by the Department and it was therefore recommended that the Department should market vigorously the NC(V) especially to the industry.
  • Withholding of results: The Department should ensure that poor students who owed FET colleges / universities outstanding fees are allowed access to their results and pay back their debt once they are permanently employed.
  • The Department of Public Works (DPW): The DPW should assist the University of Fort Hare in transferring the houses of its academic staff under the university’s assets.
  • The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC): The University of Fort Hare had historical buildings with rich history and its application for a heritage site should be fastracked by the Department of Arts and Culture.
  • The Establishment of better communication channels: It was observed that there was mis-communication between the Department, NSFAS and FET colleges which resulted in confusion of who and how to claim the 30% up-front payment for student bursaries. The confusion resulted in the delay of the transfer of the 30% up-front payment of NSFAS allocation to the PE FET College. Students could not receive their transport money and meal vouchers on time. The Committee recommends that the Department and the NSFAS communicate any information relevant to the colleges on time.
  • Implementation of the Further Education and Training Colleges Amendment Act: It was discovered that employees of the Port Elizabeth FET College, especially the senior management, were doing business with the college. They defended their practice by claiming that there was no law that prohibited these practices. The Committee recommends that the Department ensures that all the FET colleges start adhering to the provisions of the Further Education and Training Colleges Amendment Act especially the provisions that regulate the conduct of members of the council, members of committees of the council and staff of a public FET college to engage in business with the relevant public college as enacted.
  • Adherence to procurement policies: It was also revealed that the PE FET College senior management procured services for the college without following college procurement policies. The Department should investigate these allegations and also ensure that procurement policies are in place and are adhered to by all the Colleges.  
  • PhD production: The Committee was informed that the University of Fort Hare had increased its PhD graduate outputs from 10 in 2007 to 23 in 2011. However, there was a concern that the majority of these graduates particularly in scarce skills were non-South Africans. The Committee recommends that the Department through higher education institutions invest in the recruitment and support of South African PhD candidates to ensure that the country meets the target for high-level skills.

 

Report to be considered