DA succeeds in postponing BELA Bill voting in NCOP

Issued by Baxolile Nodada MP and Delmaine Christians MP –
10 May 2024 in News

Please find attached an English soundbite by Baxolile Nodada MP and an Afrikaans soundbite by Delmaine Christians MP.

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) opposed the debate on the report of the latest BELA Bill amendments on procedural irregularities that had occurred in the tabling of the Bill before the NCOP House. When the Bill was tabled, the latest amendments were not placed before the House, and instead the old previous version was sent to Members.

At first the ANC indicated that it wanted to proceed with the debate. DA Leader in the NCOP, Cathy Labuschagne, rose on a point of order to advise the House of the material procedural flaw and requested that the Bill be deferred to another sitting. This point was agreed to by Parliament’s Legal Services, which resulted in the ANC having no choice but to postpone the sitting to another date.

It has been clear since day one that the ANC have an obsession to bulldoze this Bill through Parliament before the elections to help the ANC further manipulate the people of South Africa into thinking they care.

The DA has been the strongest voice in opposition to the BELA Bill in Parliament and will continue to place its objection on record at the next sitting. One of the biggest oppositions to the Bill is that it is expected to cost over R17 billion to implement mandatory Grade R, with costs required for the creation of more infrastructure, hiring of additional teachers and equalisation of conditions of services. There is no indication of where this amount will come from, and while the DA supports mandatory Grade R, it must be a phased in approach that will not bankrupt the education department or schools. Through its consistent opposition, the DA ensured that the following changes were made to the Bill in the NCOP:

  1. That the power to determine the language policy was removed from the ANC and vests in the school governing body.
  2. The Minister now can only direct a school to adopt a second language, subject to reasonableness – this takes the power away from the ANC to remove certain languages from schools.
  3. Scholars suspected of serious misconduct may be suspended pending investigation. Previous versions of the Bill prevented learners who were accused of misconduct such as sexual assault from being suspended, meaning that the victim would have to remain in the presence of their attacker.

The BELA Bill will now be on the agenda on the 16th of May. The DA will continue fighting this Bill all the way to the President’s desk and beyond to ensure that the children of our future are not subjected to this archaic bill.

The ANC has shown its hand. It will do anything to ensure it passes Bills such as the BELA and NHI to dupe the people of South Africa with cheap electioneering tricks, with a mirage of a better life. The truth is that under an uncaring and manipulative ANC government, the people of South Africa will get poorer and poorer, that is unless we stand up together and rescue South Africa.