Bela process proves ANC’s disregard for communities and hatred towards Afrikaans

AfriForum considers the fact that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Basic Education is now going to study all public comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (also known as the Bela Bill) after all, as positive, but finds it regrettable that political parties’ pressure and a legal opinion were necessary to make this possible.

According to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of Cultural Affairs, the events correspond with the majority of the members of the committee’s support for clauses 5 and 6 of the bill, which aims to transfer the final decision-making powers on schools’ language and placement policies from the hands of school governing bodies to the provincial heads of education. “This means that democratically elected governing bodies representing the school communities will in effect be muzzled – just as people who had made an effort to comment on the bill had almost been silenced. This is an indication of the ruling party and its partners’ hunger for power and contempt for the people they are supposed to serve,” she states.

AfriForum regards the government’s continued interference in school communities’ decisions regarding language policies as a breach of the agreement negotiated before 1994, and a process of cultural ethnic cleansing.

“At tertiary institutions, we experienced how Afrikaans had been blamed for the lack of sufficient study opportunities until the pressure had become so great that Afrikaans institutions introduced double- or parallel-medium options. Subsequently, these universities transformed into single-medium English institutions at lightning speed. Now we see the same recipe being applied to schools. The number of Afrikaans single-medium schools are declining and the pressure on the rest to accommodate English is increasing. It is a kind of neo-colonialism of a special nature that will ultimately force Afrikaans and the other indigenous languages to succumb to the dominance of English, thereby depriving children of the benefits of mother-language education. It is not only unconstitutional, but a disgrace,” Bailey adds.

AfriForum is monitoring the processes that the bill is subjected to and is ready to litigate if it were to be passed in its current format.

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