DA walks out of BELA Bill clause-by-clause deliberations

Issued by Baxolile 'Bax' Nodada MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
15 Aug 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP.

Today, the DA and other opposition parties walked out of the clause-by-clause deliberations of the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill in Parliament when the chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, refused to allow clarity-seeking questions and forced the adoption of the incorrect draft Consolidated BELA Bill National Report.

The chair was forced to adjourn the meeting as the committee did not have enough members for quorum to vote on the BELA Bill clauses.

The DA has asked a number of clarity-seeking questions regarding the report. We still do not know if the total number of submissions received were 32 941 or 34 509. We’ve sought clarity on how it was decided which written submissions would be analysed as all of the hand-delivered submissions seem to have been analysed, but only a portion of the email submissions (6 715 of 17 452) were analysed. And we have yet to receive the matrix analysis of submissions of each clause of the BELA Bill. The requested reports from Parliamentary Legal Services and National Treasury were also not forthcoming.

After we walked out, the committee proceeded with a presentation from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on the BELA Bill financial implications – a report the DA specifically requested.

The DA will not allow submissions from the public to be minimised or discarded – it is of utmost importance that all submissions are analysed. There seems to be an attempt to skew perception that the public supports the BELA Bill when all the data has yet to be analysed.

The BELA Bill in its current form will disempower communities and schools from making decisions on their admission and language policies. We will not allow the ANC to push their agenda through Parliament and further wreck the education of millions of learners.

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