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Solidarity may have no choice but to intervene to stop government from capturing schools. This follows after a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, in which the ANC and the EFF used their numbers to obtain a majority, accepted the BELA Amendment Bill today. The Amendment Bill was therefore accepted for submission to the National Assembly (NA). This is the next step in the process of making it into law.
Moreover, the committee bluntly ignored input received from the public consultation process and accepted proposed legislation which will transfer the decision-making about schools’ language and admissions policies from governing bodies to the government. More than 80% of those who gave input into the BELA Amendment Bill do not support it and the political opposition serving on the committee also opposed it. Solidarity will take legal action to fight the Amendment Bill should it be steamrolled further.
“The ANC has only one goal in mind,” says Johan Botha, Solidarity’s deputy general secretary for the professional sector. “They are striving for even more power and the centralisation of education and the capturing of schools. Their focus is on the abolition of Afrikaans in schools under the false allegation that the current language policies keep children from receiving education.”
He says in reality it is the government that is not fulfilling its own responsibilities towards schools and learners. According to Botha, the government is not really interested in improving or promoting education in South Africa.
“The government would rather promote a race ideology and wants to alienate Afrikaners and Afrikaans speakers. It is an absolute attack on Afrikaans and Afrikaans schools’ right to exist. The government refuses to fulfil its obligations and it abuses the legislative authority to push through unconstitutional laws. However, Solidarity will not stand by while children are being stripped of their school rights. We are ready to continue with legal action should this legislation be steamrollered through.”
Solidarity is also of the opinion that the Parliamentary Committee had not fulfilled its duty. It has become clear from the public participation processes that the majority of the participants are not in favour of the amendment to the laws. Nearly 9 000 of the 11 000 inputs on the BELA Amendment Bill indicate that the existing laws should not be amended.
“Yet the government insists on ignoring the public and is driving its own agenda at the expense of millions of children. It makes a mockery of the public participation process and of our democracy,” says Botha. Solidarity believes that less, rather than more, state control is the answer that would lead to progress and is in favour of parents and communities taking ownership to run schools in the best interests of their own children.
Issued by Solidarity