Bela law ‘perhaps beginning of total state control of schools’


The independence of South African public schools is at stake and parents must do everything in their power to protect that independence.

The importance of parent participation in the upcoming governing body elections was one of the main topics of discussion at last night’s Bela summit of the Solidarity Teacher Network.

The summit was presented in collaboration with Solidarity’s School Support Center (SOS), AfriForum and the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) and topics surrounding the planned amendments to the law – such as the language and admission policy of schools – were discussed.

Dr. Dirk Hermann, chief executive of Solidarity, says the Bela bill is yet another attempt by the government to promote state centralization just as is intended with national health insurance, expropriation without compensation and the imminent nationalization of the Reserve Bank.

“The state’s involvement in the management of a school must be limited to the minimum of legal liability. With the Bela bill, an important constitutional principle is violated, and the state appropriates powers and functions that are not assigned to it in terms of the Constitution.”

According to Hermann, parents and communities have a responsibility to make their voices heard against the planned amendments to the law.

“It is about our children, and therefore each of us has a duty to fight the Bela bill and stand up for our children’s education and formation.

“Solidarity can therefore formally announce that we will fight the legislation in court for the sake of our children,” said Hermann.

Dr. Jaco Deacon, chief executive of Fedsas, mentioned that the Bela bill is not only a matter of language and culture policy, but may rather be the beginning of total state control over schools in South Africa.

“We are returning to a state model where schools are only the beginning of total control. There may come a time when the state will decide where we live, who one can marry, where one can work and if you don’t, the state will forbid you to exercise your own decision,” Deacon said. said.

Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of cultural affairs, described the Bela Amendment Act as cultural aggression towards Afrikaners.

“Afrikaans mother tongue education and the institutions that offer it are also responsible for many of the wonderful milestones that the country has achieved over the years. Unfortunately, we have once again seen that ideology outweighs facts in South Africa, especially when we are dealing with politicians like Panyaza Lesufi and others who have repeatedly expressed their distaste for single-medium Afrikaans schools,” Bailey stressed.

Another speaker at the summit, adv. Albert Lamey, said the Bela bill is being used as an instrument to specifically interfere in the language policy of Afrikaans single-medium schools.

“It would be naive to deny it. The amendment by the Bela bill disturbs the partnership principle on which the Schools Act is based. The Bela bill lends itself to more domination and dominance by the provincial state in defiance of the Constitutional Court’s earlier warning against it,” says Lamey.

Solidarity further encouraged teachers and parents to support the campaign against the Bela law amendments.