DA protests against draconian BELA Bill, demands Lesufi denounce Bill

Issued by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP & Desiree van der Walt MP –
05 Jul 2022 in News

Please find attached English soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP, and Afrikaans soundbite by Desiree van der Walt MP, as well as pictures here, here, here, here and here.

Today, the DA protested against the draconian Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill and handed a memorandum to the office of the Gauteng MEC of Education, Panyaza Lesufi.

The DA has numerous concerns with the BELA Bill, as outlined in our formal submissions to the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education.

The Bill, and the ‘Lesufi clauses’ in particular, seeks to disempower school governing bodies (SGBs) by removing their power to ultimately decide their schools’ language and admissions policies. It further fails to address the effective regulation of blended and online learning; fails to engage properly with the home schooling sector to determine accountability measures to ensure quality education; and fails to take into account the financial, human resources and infrastructure impacts of compulsory grade R education.

The DA demands that:

  • Lesufi publicly retract his support for the BELA Bill;
  • Lesufi must put pressure on the Department of Basic Education, and the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to withdraw the Bill from Parliament;
  • Lesufi must publicly denounce and distances himself from the BELA Bill, in particular clauses 4 and clause 5 which aims to take power away from parents on language and admission policies;
  • Lesufi must publicly retract and apologise for his attack on single medium- and mother tongue education;
  • Lesufi must publicly retract and apologises for his attack, racialisation, and stigmatisation of especially Afrikaans as an indigenous language;
  • Lesufi must publicly retract his attack on Afrikaans as a language, which is spoken as a first language by 77% of the coloured population; and
  • Lesufi must recognise democratic processes and hear the voices of millions of South Africans who are opposed to this Bill.

The DA will do everything in our power to ensure that children are empowered through empowering their SGBs. All children deserve quality education. It is time Lesufi, Minister Motshekga and her Department focused on addressing the serious concerns plaguing the basic education sector instead of trying to centralise power and bully schools and SGBs that want the best for their children and communities.

The Department must address the following serious concerns:

  • The sector is facing high learner drop-out rates;
  • Infrastructure is dilapidated with too many mud and asbestos buildings and pit toilets remaining; and
  • Poor quality teaching due to the unions’ strangle hold.

We call on the public to submit their concerns in writing to Llewellyn Brown, the secretary of the parliamentary portfolio committee via email to belabill02@parliament.gov.za or online at https://forms.gle/MoC6AdbdQyYPk3Y49 or via WhatsApp: +27 60 550 9848 by no later than 15 August 2022 at 16:00.