Opposition to draconian BELA Bill continues in Parliament

Issued by Baxolile 'Bax' Nodada MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
09 Nov 2022 in News

Please also find attached soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP

Almost all the organisations that made presentations to the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education regarding the draconian Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill, have seconded the DA’s concerns – particularly the problematic ‘Lesufi clauses’ which seek to remove school governing bodies’ (SGBs) powers to determine the admission and language policies of their schools.

During the first round of public hearings yesterday, submissions from the SA Teachers’ Union (SATU), South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Christian View Network, Skole Ondersteuningsentrum (SOS), and the FW de Klerk Foundation all expressed their concerns regarding various clauses in the Bill, with a few asking for the Bill to be scrapped entirely.

The DA also supports the scrapping of the BELA Bill.

Apart from the Constitutional arguments against the ‘Lesufi clauses’ which could be used to target schools with a single language of instruction, the BELA Bill fails to address concerns about the affordability of compulsory grade R, the lack of proper engagement with the home school education sector regarding oversight and quality control, and misses a valuable opportunity to address the regulation of blended and online learning in an education environment forever changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

With more than 18 000 written submission, of which 89% of those processed rejected the Bill entirely, and the majority of oral submissions heard on Tuesday expressing strong objections to it, the DA expects that the second round of public hearing on 15 November 2022 will follow suit. It is clear that the South African public is not in favour of the BELA Bill.

The nearly 30 000 signatures we received on our English and Afrikaans petitions against the Bill certainly underscores the public’s opposition. On Thursday, 17 November, the DA will handover these petitions to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, at her offices in Gauteng.

The DA will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that public opinion is taken seriously and that the Bill is not bulldozed through Parliament.