Further Education and Training Colleges Amendment Bill with Cabinet

Department of Higher Education and Training

A Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Amendment Bill has been submitted to cabinet for approval.

This is according to higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande whom, in response to questions received from members of the National Assembly, said that the bill would be tabled in Parliament during 2011.

Members were informed that the council of education ministers had:

• unanimously agreed that “all … functions within the jurisdiction of the minister of higher education and training be made an exclusive national competency, including the powers and functions relating to FET colleges”;
• mandated the minister to introduce amendments to Further Education and Training Act 16 of 2006 conferring all powers within the current act to the minister and director general of higher education and training;
• signed an intergovernmental protocol in terms of Intergovernment Relations Framework Act 13 of 2005 to ensure that “all actions regarding FET colleges” were consulted with the minister; and
• agreed to transfer the FET college programme 5 budget from provinces to the national department as a conditional grant in terms of the Division of Revenue Act for each year concerned.

According to the minister, the proposed amendment bill will address these and related issues, including:
• empowering 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;
• providing for the transfer of all college employees in fully subsidised posts; and 
• transitional arrangements regarding staff transfers, disciplinary measures and policy previously made by the provincial authorities.

“Significantly, this bill makes provision for the minister to determine different dates for the enforcement of different sections,” minister Nzimande said. “This flexibility is needed to ensure compliance with all labour laws and that the necessary capacity and infrastructure exists in the national department before the amendments come into effect.”

With this in mind, the minister of justice and constitutional development has been requested to “manage and effect the proposed amendment to schedule four of the Constitution”.

Update: On 7 July 2011 in notice 454 of Government Gazette 34435, the minister of higher education and training announced his intention to table the bills in Parliament, publishing an explanatory summary for each of the proposed new statutes.

Sabinet Cape Town Office 

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