Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

8 December, 2011

Minister Grant announces the inauguration and members of the new Western Cape Education Council

Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Education, Western Cape

I am delighted to announce the inauguration of the new Western Cape Education Council.

The council was formally constituted at the inaugural council meeting last night.

This Council was provided for in the Western Cape Provincial School Education Act of 1997 but never constituted.

When I assumed office in 2009, it was clear that either the provision for this structure needed to be removed from our legislation or the Council had to be brought into life. However, knowing the complexity of the challenges facing us in education and the need to improve learner outcomes, I was convinced that a body of objective, informed advice from a broad cross section of the Western Cape community both for me and for the WCED would be necessary and beneficial. I therefore committed myself to constituting the Council.

However, for good reason, it was not possible to implement this commitment immediately. The provisions in our Act for the Council were out of line with changes in the education landscape and needed to be amended as part of a review of the whole Western Cape Act.

This was a complicated process in itself - taking over a year to complete and put onto the statute books. Subsequently, after due process, the appropriate Education Council regulations were gazetted in September 2011.

This bill provided the provincial government with a number of tools to help improve the provision of quality education to all the learners of the Western Cape and to hold educators and officials accountable to the highest possible professional standards. It also included other important items, such as the creation and composition of an Education Council.

After promulgating the regulations for the Council, we then called for nominations for members in the council. After considering all the nominations, as required, I then appointed a chairperson and a vice-chairperson and designated the other members according to the regulations.

I was delighted that Professor Brian Figaji (Retired Vice-Chancellor of Peninsula Tecknikon, Chairperson of DBSA Development Fund, Director of Companies) and Prof Daya Reddy (UCT Professor of Applied Mathematics and Holder of the South African Research Chair in Computational Mechanics) graciously accepted my invitation to be appointed at Chair and Vice Chair of the Council respectively.

Other council members include:

Mr B Schreuder - WCED
Mr A Lewis - WCED
Mr T Ndzuzo- WCED
Adv Coleridge - WCED
Dr E Fullard- Retired College Rector and School Principal
Mr S Duffett - Attorney
Ms N Badsha- Academic and Higher Education Administrator
Mr L Pokpas- Higher Education Institutions
Prof A Fataar - Higher Education Institutions
Mr D Millar - NAPTOSA
Mr J W Groenewald- SAOU
Ms F Solomon- SADTU
Mr S Schlesinger - GBF
Mr E Wolf - FEDSAS
Mr D Thiart - SANASSE
Mr V Wood - Independent Schools
Mr l Mdunyelwa - Public FET Colleges
Ms D Februarie - Organised Business
Mr L Africa - Organised Business

The members constitute a formidable body of experience and expertise for the education system to draw upon.

It is our hope that they will also not hesitate to point out where and when our objectives and our policies are taking us in the wrong directions.

I have no doubt that the advice emanating from this Council will reflect its independence and be the product of independent thinkers. I want to sincerely thank them for making their time and expertise available to the WCED.

Last night, members of the council met for an innaugral meeting, where the Western Cape Education Council was duly constituted and a number of administrative arrangements finalized. The Council will meet in February 2012 for its first full sitting.

Such a council has never before been in operation in this Province and I have no doubt that it will further strengthen our ability to deliver quality education to our learners in the Western Cape.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  072 724 1422 or

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2011 Western Cape Education Department