Bela is ‘attempted cultural ethnic cleansing’


That eight of the country’s nine provincial legislators today gave the green light to the Bill on Basic Education Laws (better known as the Bela bill) is no surprise to AfriForum. However, the amended version that was approved is still viewed by AfriForum as an attempt at cultural ethnic cleansing by the ANC government, as it will enable the destruction of a linguistic and cultural community’s schools, in order to destroy the group’s cultural to jeopardize pre-existence.

“As long as provincial heads of education can make the final decisions about schools’ language and admissions policy, the door is open to change single medium Afrikaans schools to dual or parallel medium schools. That consultation about this with schools’ governing bodies has to take place is meaningless,” says Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of cultural affairs.

Consultation on the Bela bill has taken place since 2017 and the public has repeatedly made their opposition to aspects of the bill clear. “Yet the controversial issues are still part of the bill, which proves that consultation is often only a step that needs to be completed, before the ANC government does what they want.”

Bailey refers to events in the past where provincial officials did everything possible to change the language policy of single-medium Afrikaans schools like this: “Each time lengthy, expensive legal processes were necessary to prove that the department is wrong and Afrikaans children have a right to single-medium mother tongue education institutions . This was usually accompanied by unrest in the community and associated stress and trauma for teaching staff, parents and children. AfriForum believes that Bela is an attempt to circumvent future legal processes.”

She emphasizes that local and international research and practical examples have repeatedly proven that double- and parallel-medium schools become single-medium schools in the strongest language instead. This means that schools that offer both Afrikaans and English instruction will end up teaching English only.

“Afrikaans has already been dismantled in a similar way in all the country’s public universities and several Afrikaans schools. It is now the turn of the remaining Afrikaans schools. AfriForum is therefore preparing for both national and international legal action to oppose it, should the bill be signed by the president and proceed to implementation.”

The public can give their mandate for AfriForum’s legal action at