FET Colleges Amendment Bill Awaits Presidential Assent

Department of Higher Education and Training

The Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Amendment Bill, 2011, has completed its passage through Parliament and is awaiting presidential assent.

According to an article on government’s BuaNews online, higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande said that the amendment bill would be signed into law “shortly”.

He is quoted as having made these remarks following a meeting with the FETcolleges employer organisation of KwaZulu-Natal.

Once promulgated, the bill will remove all references to “provincial authority” in the principal statute, assigning to the minister all functions previously assigned to members of provincial executive councils in respect of FET colleges.

Amongst other things, the amendments also empower the minister to prescribe the conduct of members of an FET college council and/or members of staff wishing to conduct business, directly or indirectly, with the public college that is in conflict with the interests of that college.

Minister Nzimande made this clear when responding to questions posed in Parliament shortly before tabling the bill in the national assembly on 28 July 2011.

Because the amendments repeal “the structure of cooperation between national and provincial government contemplated in schedule 4 of the Constitution”, they cannot be implemented until the Constitution has itself been amended.

With this in mind, during June 2011 a Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament with a view to removing “legislative competence in respect of further education and training and adult education and training from the functional areas of concurrent national and provincial legislative competence”.

However, in terms of national assembly rule 298, this bill lapsed on 30 January 2012.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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