SA unites in struggle against ANC’s school hijacking bill – Cape Forum

Organisation says this unity is a powerful force with which oppressive systems and legislation will be challenged

South Africa unites in struggle against ANC’s school hijacking bill

17 May 2024  

Political parties and civil society organisations across South Africa, such as Cape Forum, are united in their vehement opposition to the deeply worrying Basic Education Acts Amendment Bill (also known as the BELA Bill) approved by the National Assembly (NA) yesterday. This draconian piece of legislation represents a clear attack on the constitutional rights and democratic freedoms of every South African. A growing sentiment for greater autonomy in the Cape is taking hold and the government’s plans for implementing this bill are only fuelling this sentiment.

According to Bernard Pieters, Head of Community Activation at Cape Forum, there is resistance from diverse communities to the implementation of the BELA Bill. Although Cape Forum is based on Christian values, the organisation also welcomes members from other faiths who stand together against BELA.

“BELA is uniting South Africa against the government at a time when there is doubt as to whether the ruling party will once again draw a majority vote in the upcoming election,” says Pieters. “In times of oppression, diverse communities often find strength and resilience in unity. Despite our differences in background, culture or beliefs, people from different groups come together because BELA is seen as a struggle that must be fought collectively. This unity fosters a sense of solidarity and empowers us to raise our collective voice against injustice. Through mutual recognition, support and joint action, diverse communities can strengthen their demands for equality, justice and human rights. This unity is a powerful force with which oppressive systems and legislation, such as the proposed BELA Bill, will be challenged.”

Cape Forum argues that the solidarity against the BELA Bill that forms among diverse communities points to communities’ shared pursuit of freedom, human dignity and a just society. “It is also this fact that gives the Cape Forum the confidence to fight against BELA to the highest court,” says Pieters.

Although the NA’s acceptance of the bill was a blow, according to Pieters, it also serves as an opportunity for communities to stand together. “Yesterday’s events are indeed a low point for our democracy, but they also offer a seed of hope that, as with the fight against BELA, communities will unite against challenges that the government cannot or does not want to solve. We will therefore work on solutions ourselves, but we will not have to do it alone.”

Get involved with Cape Forum today and help make a difference. Send an email to [email protected] or join www.kaapseforum.co.za.

Issued by Bernard Peters, Head: Community Activation, Cape Forum, 17 May 2024