Southern Cape branches make their voices heard about the irreparable damage that the BELA bill could cause

AfriForum’s branches in the Southern Cape made their voices heard at the public consultation sessions on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (also known as the BELA Bill) this past week. The branches in George and Mossel Bay made it clear that the bill could do irreparable damage to quality education, and even homeschooling.

Members of these AfriForum branches took a stand against the controversial BELA legislation on 28 and 29 February respectively. Public consultation sessions are currently being held nationwide as part of the National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP) decision-making process on the bill. This bill intends to replace the existing South African Education Act of 1996 and the Employment of Educators Act of 1998.

Jana Naude, Chairperson of AfriForum Youth’s George branch, argued that some of the provisions contained in the bill are practical updates to the existing laws. On the other hand, there are also new and dangerous provisions that can seriously harm Afrikaans mother-language education and even homeschooling.

“Our youth must understand how important it is to oppose this bill because it is our children who will be left at the mercy of these laws in a few years. We had the right to mother-language education at school and had school governing bodies that above all looked after the interests of the learners. This should still be every learner’s right.”

According to Kemp Myburg, Vice-Chairperson of AfriForum’s George branch, the bill falls short of addressing the many inherent challenges faced by the modern education system. “The government pretends that these amendments are necessary to protect schools from incompetent governing bodies, but the current law contains the necessary provisions that can ensure that these governing bodies can be replaced. If this does not happen, it is because the provincial education departments are unwilling or unable to do so, and not because the current law does not allow for it.”

Anyone who have communities’ education interests at heart is encouraged to attend the upcoming public consultation sessions and make their voices heard against the bill. More information is available at stopbela.co.za.

Join your nearest AfriForum branch to make your voice heard. Send an email to marthinus.erasmus@afriforum.co.za or call him on 081 216 9602 to get involved in the Southern Cape.

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