AfriForum continues preparations for litigation after National Assembly approves Bela Bill

In response to the adoption of the controversial Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (also known as the Bela Bill) by the National Assembly, AfriForum says that it is more evident than ever that the ANC government is trying to steamroll this bill through all processes. AfriForum is therefore continuing with its preparations for litigation against it.

According to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of Cultural Affairs, the National Council of Provinces and the President have yet to decide on the bill. Only once they have approve it, can it be implemented. “We realize that the ANC wants to implement this at all costs, and unfortunately it will be at the cost of the youth of the country –especially the Afrikaans youth,” Bailey states.

AfriForum today joined various other organisations and political parties in front of Parliament to protest against the bill. AfriForum has since 2017 been objecting to aspects of the bill that will render parents’ say re the language and admissions policies of their children’s schools useless. The organisation views the bill as a direct attack against Afrikaans education, which will have extremely negative consequences for quality education in Afrikaans single-medium schools in particular, but ultimately also for all South African schools.

“The Minister of Basic Education, the deputy minister and ANC members of the portfolio committee who have already approved the bill, make no secret of the fact that they want to put an end to Afrikaans schools – a move that in effect will bring an end to mother-language education in all languages other than English in the country. In addition, the legislation will empower the State to add any number of learners to existing schools, instead of fixing dysfunctional schools and building more. This is another step that will undermine quality education,” Bailey explains.

“The bill will centralise more power in the incompetent hands of the State and render communities’ involvement in their schools by way of democratically elected governing bodies meaningless. Currently, the governing bodies have the right to make the final decision on schools’ language and admissions policies, but the bill proposes that this power should henceforth rest with the provincial heads of education, in other words with political appointments. It is being argued that this amendment is necessary to prevent discrimination against learners, but this is a blatant fabrication, as existing legislation provides for the necessary steps to put an end to discrimination, should it occur.”

It is unacceptable that political games are being played at the expense of the South African youth and therefore AfriForum will follow all possible national and international steps to oppose Bela.

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