False Bay College

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION, DR BLADE NZIMANDE STATEMENT ON THE COVID 19 VACCINATION ROLL OUT PLAN FOR THE POST SCHOOL EDUCATION AND TRAINING SECTOR

DHET-logo copy

23 July 2021
Programme Director;
Deputy Minister Buti Manamela;
Senior Management of the Department of Higher Education and Training;
HIGHER HEALTH CEO, Prof Ramneek Ahluwalia;
My Advisors and Ministry Staff;
DHET entities;
Vice Chancellors and Universities Management;
SAPCO leadership;
Students Leadership, both SAUS and SATVETSA;
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen
Good Afternoon



It is my pleasure to announce the formal commencement of the COVID-
19 vaccination programme in the post-schooling education and training
sector (PSET).
I say formal because in several respects, our sector has already
undertaken important work to support the national vaccination drive and
protect individuals within our sector who are at highest risk of COVID-19.
Before I outline our vaccination rollout plan, let me take this opportunity to
recognise Prof Ahluwalia and the entire HIGHER HEALTH team for the
dedication, energy and expertise devoted to the planning, implementation
and support for our vaccination programme and for always being there to
guide our institutions in ensuring that no-one is left behind.
To get us to this milestone, HIGHER HEALTH has undertaken a massive
logistical endeavour to collate information on all our staff – about 250 000
of them who work, across all our public universities, TVET and Community
Education and Training (CET) colleges, private institutions, skills learning
sector, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Quality
Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), National Skills Fund (NSF)
with a range of skills development providers.
Further, I must acknowledge that this was not an easy task where site
preparations need to be ensured, supply of vaccines, including the plotting
of delivery routes and cold-chain management needed to be guaranteed
before actual vaccinations starts.

I extend my sincere gratitude to the Department of Health team and my
colleague, the Acting Minister of Health, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, as
well as all our institutions that are working day and night behind the scenes
to make this a reality.
As the scientists continues to track the epidemiology of the COVID-19
virus, its waves and mutations, we are also getting to better understand
people’s knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about the COVID
vaccination.
There is a fundamental need to address the myths, fake news,
misinformation and misconceptions around vaccination.
Guided by the PSET vaccine plan, I have asked HIGHER HEALTH to
develop a comprehensive communication strategy that involves all
stakeholders within the PSET sector so that jointly we can mitigate
vaccine hesitancy and other mis-information prevalent in our communities
and society at large.
I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that it is imperative that
everyone who becomes eligible for a vaccine takes up the chance to get
vaccinated.
Vaccines used in South Africa have been proven to be effective and safe.
Coming to the main reason of our briefing today, let me indicate that our
vaccination programme extends and deepens our comprehensive
sectoral contribution to the national COVID response which has been

developed and supported by HIGHER HEALTH since the beginning of the
pandemic in South Africa.
You will recall that on the 8th July 2021, I announced that I had instructed
HIGHER HEALTH to create and coordinate a PSET vaccination strategy
and rollout plan that is aligned with and supports the Department of
Health’s phased national strategy.
This strategy will help to ensure access to vaccination for all our staff,
including academia, management and, importantly, our frontline staff at
our residences, cleaning, security and other support staff.
We will also utilize the capacity of our public facilities to provide
vaccination services to other eligible sections of the wider community,
working in close consultation with the National Department of Health.
I have already visited some of our vaccination centres in our PSET
institutions, including CPUT, UP and Mthashane TVET College.
The infrastructure and logistics that we have set-up within our PSET
sector will provide easy access to our country’s general immunisation plan
and will reduce the load on the Department of Health vaccination points.
Let me upfront indicate that within the PSET sector, we will be rolling out
the Pfizer vaccines across all our institutions in the major metros where
we have good access to cold storage facilities.

We will be rolling out J&J vaccines across our rural districts as this
requires cold storage facilities at higher temperatures than Pfizer and
other mRNA vaccines.
The vaccination of PSET staff of 35 years of age and above – comprising
approximately 70% of all staff in our sector – will formally commence
tomorrow, Saturday, 24th July and should be completed within a month.
So tomorrow, some of our colleges and universities, such as the staff of
False Bay TVET College at a site in Woodstock, South West Gauteng
TVET College at a site in Roodeport, Tshwane North TVET College at a
site in Centurion, University of Johannesburg at a site in Midrand will
commence vaccinations simultaneously.
HIGHER HEALTH has made provisions with each site fully dedicated to
vaccinate about 300 to 1000 people per day per site.
HIGHER HEALTH will be supporting the sites on the days of vaccination.
HIGHER HEALTH with the Department of Health and service providers
will further open twelve (12) additional sites across Johannesburg,
Tshwane, Cape Town, Gqeberha and eThekwini starting from Monday,
26 July.
This will cover over 120 000 staff from universities, TVETs and CET
colleges in the next 2-3 weeks.

These same sites will be extended to private institutions, skills learning
sector, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Quality
Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), National Skills Fund (NSF)
with a range of skills development providers.
In this coming week HIGHER HEALTH will open an additional 40 to 50
vaccination sites with the Department of Health, across all other districts,
for staff populations between 600 and 4000 to be vaccinated.
Through HIGHER HEALTH, we will connect each institution with the
nearest Department of Health accredited site where vaccine supplies and
vaccinators are in place.
I therefore call on all staff from the age of 35 – fulltime, part-time,
contracted staff (cleaning staff and security) and post-graduate students
in teaching positions that are planned for this phase to come out in
numbers to be vaccinated through the PSET and the community
vaccination programme.
Staff younger than 35 and students who live in residences including in
private accommodation are earmarked for vaccination in Phase 2b that
will kickstart once the above 35s are completed.
They will then be followed by our students starting with students in
residences and private accommodation and eventually extending to all
students as per the Department of Health determined age classification
phased programme.

I would like to remind all of us that the key principles of beating COVID
have not changed: social distancing; minimising personal contact;
wearing a mask; sanitising and now vaccinating.
NSFAS FUNDING
There are other two issues that I would also like to address before we
conclude our media briefing today, the first relates to NSFAS Funding
Allocations for Universities and TVETs and second on the
Implementation of standardization of pay and benefits for academic
staff employed within Community Education and Training Colleges.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the National Student Financial
Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Board for taking a resolution to regularly and
continuously update its stakeholders through the issuing of status reports
on the number of issues affecting institutions and students.
Amongst these reports is the 2021 Funding Status report. This report was
published on the NSFAS website and all Institutions and students can
download the report for easy reference. However, there are few issues I
would like to highlight on this report today.
The number of students assessed as eligible for the 2021 programme
cycle is 1 286 867, with the total allocated for the university sector being
939 934 students and 346 933 students for the TVET Colleges. These
include new and continuing students.

To date NSFAS disbursed allowances to a total of 623, 386 students as
per the data submitted by institutions.
This number represents at least 48.5% of the total number of overall
eligible students.
The number is likely to increase as a result of the TVETs Term 2 intake,
Semester 2 (TVETs and universities ) as well as the Term 3.
A further increase is expected from the outcome of data remediation
processes conducted by NSFAS.
Funding, Registration Data and Disbursements of Universities
Because of the fact that not all eligible students may not eventually secure
a space at an institution of higher learning, according to the data received
for the 2021 academic year, 47% (444,609) of funding eligible university
students have confirmed registration at institutions and this is evidenced
through registration data submitted and processed by NSFAS.
It is however, important to highlight that among these 444,609 at least 2%
will not have their NSFAS funding confirmed as they fall within the
category of registration data non-conformities/exceptions (ie these
students are found to be non-compliant based on the information
received).
These exceptions come as a result of many reasons including data
exchange challenges.

Let me also report that there has been two payments made to universities
since start of the academic year 2021:
i) First payment was made on the 9th April 2021. NSFAS paid and
advance amount of approximately R7,9bn to cover March and
April allowances to students at universities; and
ii) The 2nd Payment was made on the 10th June 2021. A further
R6,9bn was paid over after a reconciliation was effected based
on the value of registration data received. this payment is aimed
was made to cover the months of May, June and July 2021.
2021 Funding, Registration and Disbursements for TVETs
In relation to TVET colleges; NSFAS started making upfront payments to
institutions in February 2021. The upfronts made were calculated based
on 20% of the tuition allocation for 2021.
This was meant to assist colleges with cash flow while they await
registration-based disbursements only to commence when NSFAS
receives the DHET allocation in April.
TVET colleges started submitting the registration data to NSFAS in March,
upon which NSFAS commenced with disbursements.

Total registration data received to date stands at least 90% of expected
registrations from colleges, which is a fair percentage considering that not
all eligible students end up registering at a TVET College.
TVET colleges were requested to confirm outstanding registration records
and very few confirmed with just less than 2000 new registration claims
being submitted in April and May after NSFAS intervention.
Out of 365 191 students, there are 202 460 students who are funded for
the first academic cycles that NSFAS has made a funding allocation for.
While 223 410 students have been claimed for by colleges 20 950 are
identified as registration data exceptions which NSFAS categorised as
multiple registrations and where students are changing courses which is
in contravention of the TVET funding rules.
Having said that, NSFAS made provisional funding for 365 191 students
to study in colleges for the 2021 programme.
A total of 223, 410 students registration data records was received from
institutions as at the end of June 2021 inclusive of Annual, Trimester 1,
and Trimester 2.
A total of 202, 460 have been successfully processed and funded with 20
950 exceptions identified.
NSFAS embarked on an exercise to confirm funding with institutions and
only 17 TVET Colleges responded confirming that they have 7 903

outstanding registrations to be submitted for the first academic cycle
ending June 2021.
The reason for the registration exceptions is due to students changing
academic courses which is contrary to the Bursary Rules and Guidelines.
TVET Disbursements and Payments:
There are 44 TVET colleges whose allowances are paid directly to the
students through the NSFAS Wallet platform.
NSFAS has been able to make payments to 183 422 students. There are
20,950 students who for various reasons still need to resolve outstanding
requirements for their allowances to be approved.
These students are in exceptions which largely consists of 13, 276 that
were initially incorrectly funded and had subsequently been resolved.
Payments to a total of 4 461 students on the NSFAS wallet failed largely
due to invalid or duplicated cell phone numbers, balance of students in
exceptions of cancelled registrations, students de-registered and or late
submission of data by institutions.
For all students currently identified under exceptions, NSFAS has
communicated the list of failed wallet payments to institutions so that they
can contact students given that the contact details are incorrect.

Furthermore, there is an automated email that is sent twice a week to
notify our colleges of students who do not have a user profile which is
critical in the disbursement process as it ensures that students have a
unique cell phone number.
Whilst NSFAS is addressing all these non-compliance challenges,
NSFAS has also instituted ongoing investigations into syndicates that
exist to defraud students of their allowances.
Students are reminded and urged not to share any of their personal
information and password with anyone.
NSFAS Wallet Analysis on Locked and Blocked Accounts
There are 20 991 students who have not created user profiles on the
myNSFAS student portal.
This is the biggest challenge confronting NSFAS which contributes largely
to the NSFAS wallet payment failures.
I therefore call upon students who have not created myNSFAS portal
to do so to receive their allowances.
There are 180 293 students whom NSFAS attempted to pay using the
NSFAS wallet system, 6 681 of which could not be paid because of locked
accounts (which means student may have forgotten their pins) and 336
have blocked accounts, meaning there was a failed attempt to unlock the
accounts.

Therefore, students are unable to retrieve their funds when:
i) they share cell phone numbers; or
ii) when the cell phone number registered on their myNSFAS profile is
not consistent with their myNSFAS Wallet number.
I urge student to always ensure that they comply with the NSFAS
guidelines and directives to ensure that they receive their
allowances on time and without any administrative challenges.
The second additional issue I wanted to provide an update relates to the
implementation of standardization of pay and benefits for academic
staff employed within Community Education and Training Colleges.
Following the transfer of ABET Educators from Provincial Education
Departments (PEDs) to DHET on 1 April 2015, nine (9) CET colleges were
established in which these staff were employed, with no changes to their
conditions of service as they were protected by Section 197 of the Labour
Relations Act (LRA).
Since then, it became clear to the Department that the academic staff
within the CET colleges had transferred from Provincial Education
Departments (PEDs) under different pay regimes nationally with some
staff being paid notches that were not aligned to the Public Service Act
(PSA) or Employment of Educators Act salary scales.

In addition, some staff in CET colleges were receiving benefits while
others received 37% cash in lieu of benefits, and hours of work were
different depending on which Provincial Education Departments (PEDs)
the staff had previously worked for.
It should also be noted that Kwa-Zulu Natal and Western Cape staff did
not receive benefits or 37% cash in lieu of benefits (CILOB).
Moreover, the pay disparities between PEDs also resulted in some staff
in provinces being grossly underpaid for the hours they were required to
work while others received salaries that were higher than what was
required for their hours of work.
These are historical discrepancies that came to the DHET on transfer of
all of these staff from PEDs in 2015 and which remained intact.
The above became a matter of a national dispute and was raised by
recognized unions in the GPSSBC, resulting eventually as a deliverable
for the Department, stated in a Settlement Agreement signed by parties
of the GPSSBC in February 2019 as “Provision of standardised benefits
for CET Colleges”.
Work then began in the Department to look at what could be done to
standardise the pay for academic staff within the CET colleges in line with
state related salary scales, (i.e. either the PSA or Educator Occupation
Specific Dispensation (OSD) Salary scales), and to ensure that these staff
have access to public service benefits nationally.

The cost analysis of implementing the above for all 13 000 staff required
a total CET compensation budget of R2.38 billion while the existing
compensation budget available in CET was R2.05 billion.
It should also be noted that all of the above was discussed with nationally
recognised unions including NEHAWU, SADTU, PSA and NAPTOSA,
and presented in both the GPSSBC and ELRC bargaining chambers.
It was agreed by Parties that the implementation of benefits was critical
and that the Department should proceed with the implementation of
standardisation.
It also later became evident that this collective agreement is also required
by National Treasury to allow the CET staff access to benefits on the
Persal system, so it will also serve as a policy document for
implementation. To date this agreement has been signed in the GPSSBC
by the Department and NEHAWU. POPCRU is due to sign it this week.
To keep staff informed and updated of the standardisation implementation
processes, various HR Circulars had been issued explaining the process
of implementation. I therefore urge all CET staff familiarise themselves
with these Circulars.
In addition to the above-mentioned circulars, the Department has also
prepared individual letters per employee to be issued this next week,
indicating the standardised Educator Occupation Specific Dispensation
(OSD) salary notches applicable per person and outlining the benefits
staff are now entitled to access.

In order to address some of these issues a GPSSBC Task Team has now
been established including Labour and DHET officials to investigate some
of the claims raised by staff about none-payment or reduced payment as
well as to provide workshops to college staff on the principles of
implementation to aid further clarity.
I hope this process will bring the necessary relief the CET staff.
On this note, I would like to thank you all for your patience and indulgence.
Thank you programme Director.