So many reasons to stop BELA in its tracks – Solidarity

Movement particularly objects to attempts to transfer decision-making regarding language and admission policy of schools to govt

So many reasons to stop BELA in its tracks – Solidarity

17 April 2024

South Africans from all walks of life will pay the price should the government recklessly proceed with the proposed Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill.

Solidarity particularly objects to attempts to transfer decision-making regarding the language and admission policy of schools to mainly government officials, but the concerns extend even further.

With the election around the corner, there is the suspicion that this legislation may be rushed through in order to gain political mileage.

Meanwhile, the expected high costs associated with the implementation of the BELA Bill have come to light. This provides yet another valid reason why this amendment bill is a bad idea and why it would be wise of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to finally vote against the amendment bill next week.

Johan Botha, head of the Solidarity Teachers’ Network, says the fact that the National Treasury for example has not budgeted for the amendment regarding the compulsory grade R, shows a clear lack of vision and planning with the BELA Bill as a whole.

“Knowing that there is simply no money for the BELA Bill should be reason enough to nip the whole thing in the bud. The idea of a compulsory grade R is not one that we necessarily disagree with, but then, at least, there must be money to be able to implement it.

“Of course, the fact that the concept is based on ideology that will lead to an attack on functional Afrikaans schools is a much bigger concern for us. This is something we will oppose with everything in our power because it will damage our entire educational landscape,” Botha said.

According to Botha, the lack of financial planning shows just how little planning was done for the consequences – as well as regarding the amendments to the language and admission policy.

“Yet, eight out of nine provinces will probably honour their ANC majority by indicating that they want to vote in favour of the BELA Bill in the NCOP. They do not care that some of the amendments are not beneficial to any South African.

“In its litigation, Solidarity will certainly also point out the cost implications of the BELA Bill should the bill be signed into law. The amendments are clearly financially and practically harmful to our country and its people,” Botha said.

The Solidarity Teachers’ Network hopes these realities are taken into account when the BELA Bill is finally processed by the NCOP’s Select Committee.

Issued by Johan Botha, Head: Solidarity Teachers’ Network, 17 April 2024