DA urges public engagement in Gauteng BELA Bill public hearings

Issued by Sergio Dos Santos MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
22 Feb 2024 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is urgently appealing to concerned community leaders, teachers, and parents to actively participate in the upcoming Gauteng BELA Bill public hearings, which are set to start on Friday, 23 February 2024, and end on Friday, 1 March 2024.

The DA has consistently raised significant concerns about the BELA Bill, as evidenced by our formal submissions to the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education. Of particular concern are the ‘Lesufi clauses,’ which aim to undermine the authority of school governing bodies (SGBs) by stripping them of the power to make final decisions on their schools’ language and admissions policies.

Furthermore, the Bill falls short in addressing critical issues such as the effective regulation of blended and online learning, fails to engage properly with the home-schooling sector to establish accountability measures for quality education, and fails to consider the financial, human resources, and infrastructure impacts of compulsory grade R education.

The DA reiterates the following serious concerns that the Department of Basic Education must address:

1. High learner drop-out rates in this sector.

2. Dilapidated school infrastructure, including the persistent issue of asbestos infrastructure in schools.

3. Poor quality teaching is attributed to the strongholds of teachers’ unions.

4. Overcrowded classrooms due to an insufficient number of schools.

Additionally, the DA in Gauteng expresses concerns regarding the lack of advertisements for the public hearings. We are also concerned that the venues chosen are not central in the various regions, which may impact meaningful participation.

We encourage the public to attend these hearings and voice their concerns regarding the BELA Bill, ensuring that the legislation is thoroughly scrutinised and represents the interests of all stakeholders.

Events details as per below:

Date: Friday, 23 February 2024

Region: Johannesburg

Time: 11:30

Venue: Uncle Tom’s Community Centre, Kumalo Street, Orlando West, Soweto

Date: Monday, 26 February 2024

Region: Sedibeng & West Rand

Time: 10:00

Venue: IEC Hall, Kenneth Road, Greenhills, Randfontein

Date: Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Region: Ekurhuleni

Time: 10:00

Venue: Sam Hlalele Community Centre Main Hall, Andrew Mapheto Drive, Tembisa

Date: Friday, 01 March 2024

Region: Tshwane

Time: 10:00

Venue: Falala Community Hall (Soshanguve Block F, Soshanguve