Bela: DA will appeal to the president or go to court


The DA continues to stand firm in its opposition to the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (Bela) and will eventually go to court to test its constitutionality, should it become law.

Eight of the nine provincial legislators in the National Council of Provinces (NRP) select committee on education and technology, sport, art and culture indicated in their final mandates on Thursday that they support the final amended bill. The Western Cape legislature rejected it.

Delmaine Christians, DA MP, said the party’s position remains that the Bela bill, even with the recent amendments, poses significant threats to the autonomy of schools and communities right across South Africa.

“While some adjustments have been made in response to committee deliberations, they are minor in scope and fail to address the core concerns raised by various stakeholders and the Western Cape legislature. The bill continues to centralize power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, undermining the crucial role of parents, educators and local governing bodies in shaping the educational future of their communities.”

According to Christians, there are still key issues such as the extended decision-making power given to the heads of provincial education departments, and the role of school governing bodies and local communities in determining language and admission policies.

There are also concerns about the fiscal impact, the restrictions on home education and the lack of comprehensive public participation.

The Bela bill will now be referred to a full session of the NRP for debate and adoption.

If the National Assembly (NA) ratifies the amended version, the Bill will be sent to the president for assent. If accepted, it will be sent back to the NA for approval. If this happens, it will be referred to the president to be ratified as law.

“The DA remains committed to challenging the Bela bill in its current form. We plan to formally request the president to refer the bill back to parliament for reconsideration or, if necessary, to the Constitutional Court. Should the president sign the bill without addressing our concerns, the DA will immediately take legal action to challenge the constitutionality of the bill in court. This approach ensures that we maintain our commitment to defending the rights and interests of all South Africans in education.”