Chapter 7



7.1.1Legislative and Policy Framework


  • South African Schools Act 84 of 1996, Section 18 [SASA]



  • Guidelines relating to the elections of Governing Bodies of Public Schools [NG EGB]





  • Governing Body Regulations for Public Schools
    Published under 
    General Notice 786 of 1997 (PG 331, 28 February 1997) as amended by General Notice 1457 of 1997 (PG 35, 6 May 1997) [As amended by General Notice 592 of 2012 (PG 70, 30 March 2012)] [Reference B3 592/2012]



  • Circular 17/2006 Date 6 March 2006 Guidelines for the Election of SGB in Public Schools 17/2006 [Reference B3 17/2006]



  • NC School Governing Body and School Management Team Activities emanating from Legislative Framework [Reference B7 SGBA]



  • WCED Circulars 0014/2008 – Measures relating to Governing Bodies for Public Schools (excluding Public Schools for Learners with Special Education Needs) [Reference B9 0014/2008 & Election of Governing Bodies for all Public Schools Reference B9 0048/2008]
  • Institutional Development and Co-ordination Minute: 0003/2009 [Reference B9 0003/2009]
  • National Guidelines for School Governing Elections [Reference B9 NG SGB]



  • School Governing Body Manuals [Reference B4 SGBM]

7.1.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Governing Body and SMT Functions and Relationships

    1. The Relationship between Management and Governance
      • The relationship
        Although members of the School Governing Body are elected on a constituency basis (parents elect parents and educators elect educators), once they are elected, they are not representatives of that constituency anymore.  It is their task to govern the school according to the relevant legislation and not to represent certain groups of people involved at the school.  This also applies to the learner members.
        The practical day-to-day management and running of schools is carried out by a team of professional educators (the School Management Team) who have the required knowledge and skills to do so, whilst the task of setting objectives and direction for the school rests with a representative body (the School Governing Body) who also have an oversight role to ensure that the day-to-day management of the school is in accordance with the interests of the whole school community.  The Governing Body also stands in a position of trust towards the school.  This trust creates a duty to act in such a way that it cannot be said that a culpable breach of trust has occurred.  In line with the above, the following two groups will primarily lead the school:

        • School Management Team (SMT)
          This consists of educators who are responsible for implementing policies and running the day-to-day operations of the school.  They may help to formulate policies by contributing insights from their expert knowledge, but such policies must ultimately be adopted by the SGB before they can be implemented.
        • School Governing Body (SGB)
          This consists of representatives of the major stakeholder groups in the school and takes final responsibility for establishing policies and guidelines that will be the basis of the school’s character and operational programme.  They are also responsible for ensuring that such policies are effectively implemented by the SMT.  The SGB may include members who have special expertise that can assist the SMT in operational management, but their primary function remains policy formulation and oversight.  Governance is, therefore, about:

          • setting the course for the school as an organisation through, for example, specific objectives, budgets and policies; and
          • checking that the course is maintained through, for example, regular progress reports.
      • Management is the active process of putting the plans and intentions of governance into operation.
        Neither of these two functions can stand alone.
        The relationship in terms of areas of responsibility:

        Table 7.1
        Organise activities that
        support teaching & learningAdminister teacher and learning
        TEACHING AND LEARNING Ensure quality Education

        Decide on school times

         Perform professional functions PROFESSIONAL FUNCTIONS  Support educators, principal & staff in professional functions
         Decide on intra-mural activities CURRICULUM   Decide on extra-mural curriculum & choose subjects
         Decide on what to buy TEXTBOOKS,
        Buy these
        (if school has Section 21 status)
        Perform specific tasks in support of SGB

        Report maladministration and mismanagement to the Head of Department

        Put measures in place to prevent misconduct by staff and SGB

         FINANCIAL PLANNING & MANAGEMENT  Raise / administer funds, control records, prepare budget, collect fees
         Perform specific tasks in support of SGB  PROPERTY, BUILDING &
        Control & maintain these assets (schools with Section 21 status)
         Assist in developing a code of conduct for learners MISSION, CODE OF CONDUCT,
        Promote school’s best interests / Develop Mission / Adopt Code of Conduct & Constitution / Encourage community
         Manage personnel  PERSONNEL Recommend appointments
        (state employees) &
        employ SGB-paid employees
    2. Functions of the SGB
      The law stipulates the functions which the SGB must perform on behalf of the school.
      The function of individual members of the SGB is to contribute to and execute the functions assigned to the SGB.  The MEC may decide that the governance of two or more public schools may be the responsibility of one SGB if that is in the best interest of the schools concerned.

      • Compulsory functions of the SGB:
        • Promote the best interests of the school and strive to ensure its development through the provision of quality education for all learners.
        • Adopt a constitution.
        • Develop the vision and mission statement of the school and be part of the strategic planning process.
        • Adopt a code of conduct for learners at the school.
        • Support the principal, educators and other staff of the school in the performance of their professional functions.
        • Determine the times of the school day.
        • Determine the school uniform.
        • Recommend the appointment of staff by the State.
        • Appoint SGB-paid staff at the school, where applicable.
        • Encourage parents, educators and learners to render voluntary services to the school.
        • Develop the school’s policy on admissions, language and religious observances.
        • Administer and control the school’s property, grounds and buildings occupied by the school.
        • Suspend learners in certain circumstances after due process.
        • Prepare a budget each year and ensure that all expenditure from school funds is in line with the budget.
        • Enforce the payment of school fees and recover school fees.
        • Appoint an auditor or other suitable person to audit the school’s records and financial statements and to ensure that control measures are in place to safeguard the administration of school funds.
        • Determine and stipulate how the school will promote multi-lingualism.
      • Optional functions of the SGB
        • The SGB may allow the use of school facilities for community, social and school fundraising events.
        • The SGB may affiliate to voluntary associations representing Governing Bodies of public schools.
        • The SGB may establish posts on behalf of the school for educators and non-educators, additional to the educator and non-educator establishment determined by the MEC.
        • Payment of salaries to such educators and non-teaching staff should be determined by the SGB.
        • Staff employed by the school (as distinct from the HoD) must:
          • have a written contract, which must be agreed to and signed by both parties; and
            • This contract should deal with salary matters and other conditions of service and should include a clear job description.
            • The state is not liable for any act or omission by the public school with regard to the school’s contractual responsibility as the employer of educators and non-teaching staff. (Also see Chapter 12)
          • be registered as an educator with the South African Council of Educators (SACE).
        • When employing such staff, the SGB must bear in mind the:
          • ability of the candidate;
          • principle of equity;
          • need to redress past injustices; and
          • need for representation.
    3. Functions of the Principal and the SMT
      • The principal and the SMT are responsible for the implementation of policies agreed on by the SGB and must see to it that all areas in the school function effectively and that people work productively towards achieving the school’s vision and mission.
      • Their professional authority and status will make them responsible for the following management functions including, but not limited to:
        • learner welfare;
        • planning;
        • scheduling;
        • organising;
        • delegating;
        • communicating;
        • controlling; and
        • assuring quality.
      • The South African Schools Act distinguishes the governance functions of the SGB from educators’ professional functions.
        • The SGB determines school policies and the SMT manages the school from day to day and implements policies.
        • The principal holds ultimate responsibility for making sure that the work gets done and she / he can choose how to share that responsibility with other SMT members.
        • The principal’s responsibilities include that of reporting problems to the Head of Department and the SGB.
    4. Preparing and conducting Meetings
      Meetings form a key component of the functioning of Governing Bodies and management teams and need to be properly run.

At Reference C [MEETING] find a memorandum which provides guidelines on all matters relating to the conduct of meetings, including the taking of minutes.

Also see Reference C [MINUTE KEEPING]


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