1 July 2019
Equal Education media statement: Victory! Zukisa Faku no longer on Parliament’s Basic Education Portfolio Committee!
Zukisa Faku, the MP who was nominated by the African National Congress (ANC) Parliamentary caucus to be chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, has now been removed from the committee entirely. This comes after our persistent public demand for the withdrawal of her nomination, and our letter of complaint to ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina. Eighteen civil society and education organisations endorsed our letter.
We first called for Faku’s nomination to be withdrawn on 20 June – the day of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) – when we stood outside Parliament appealing to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC Parliamentary caucus. We reiterated our demand in several media interviews.
Parliament has now published a list confirming the members of all committees, and Faku, who was previously sentenced to three years’ house arrest on nine counts of fraud, does not appear on the list for the Basic Education Portfolio Committee.
Faku’s removal is a major victory for Equal Education members, for learners across South Africa and for the integrity of legislative oversight. It confirms the importance and power of an active citizenry – a citizenry that pays attention to what happens in government and Parliament and mobilises when public officials flout the Constitutional principles on which our democracy is built.
Not only did Faku’s nomination contradict the ANC’s public commitments to clean governance, it also went against the standards of ethical behaviour for public representatives as set out in Parliament’s Code of Ethical Conduct and the South African Constitution. Among others, MPs must exhibit selflessness, integrity, objectivity, openness and honesty and must place the public interest above their own.
Faku’s removal means she will no longer be able to chair the Basic Education Portfolio Committee and will not be involved in overseeing education in the country. The responsibility of the chairperson of this committee is to ensure that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) delivers on its mandate to provide quality education to all learners across the country and spends its allocated funds responsibly. Faku would not have been able to exercise her mandate as Chairperson in a fit and proper manner.
We are encouraged that the ANC responded appropriately to the public outcry, and will continue to work toward ensuring that the executive and the legislature fulfill their mandate with the required efficacy and integrity.
For further comment:
Noncedo Madubedube (EE General Secretary) firstname.lastname@example.org
Roné McFarlane (EE Co-Head of Research) email@example.com