The Department of Basic Education has today briefed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education regarding progress on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill. The Department of Basic Education has today briefed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education regarding progress on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill.
The Deputy Minister of Basic Education Mr Enver Surty said the Department was currently processing the inputs from members of the public which would further inform the direction DBE would take. He said the process was still at an early stage and would still come to Parliament for further consultation, deliberation, and persuasion. Surty said change is difficult and the Department was aware of that but that engagement is also important.
He said however there had been Constitutional Court cases in the Basic Education sector that the amendments sought to affirm in terms of the locus of authority. The Deputy Minister said there was a legal, moral and historical context to the amendments. He told the Portfolio Committee that the department had committed to canvassing diverse input through an inclusive process. “We are not going to curtail public participation we will instead encourage it because we want to hear what people have to say,” he said.
The Director General Mathanzima Mweli told the committee that the department was pleased with the responses received. Mr Mweli was responding to the remarks made by the Portfolio Committee chairperson Mrs Nomalungelo Gina who said her committee invited DBE to brief about progress thus far. Mrs Gina said her committee was also considering holding public hearings on the amendments based in the huge interest the bill has attracted.
The Acting Chief Director for Legal Services at DBE, Mr Chris Leukes, explained the rationale for the various amendments and the implications for each one. Leukes said during 2013 the Minister had appointed a Task Team to review the Basic Education legislation. The team consisted of DBE legal officials and representatives from legal units of the Western Cape, Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal Education Departments.
The Bill contains amendments to the South African Schools Act and the Employment of Educators Act.
He said there were 46 clauses in the bill and the majority of them were not contentious. The rationale of the amendments is to clarify certain provisions that up to now created confusion. The Bill seeks to amend clauses that affect school admission, language policy, role of school governing bodies’ compulsory attendance at school, and the power of the head of department.
Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275 Troy Martens – 079 899 3070
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION
The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, wishes to thank the South African public for the overwhelming response to the request for comments on the draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELA Bill), which was published in the Government Gazette with a deadline of 10 November 2017.
The Department would like to reiterate that it will diligently consider all the comments received, and that recommendations will then be made to the Minister about amending the draft Bill if that is required.
Owing to the unexpectedly large number of submissions that were received, the Department was unfortunately not able to acknowledge receipt of each submission. However, the Department would like to re-assure everyone who submitted comments by email that if they received no error message after sending their email, the Department would in all probability have received their submission.
There was also a substantial number of requests for an extension of the deadline to which the Department was unable to respond to. To those who did not receive a response to their requests for an extension, and to any other individuals and organisations who were unable to submit their comments by the deadline date, we can give assurances that there will be an additional opportunity as is in line with normal policy development processes.
Once the draft Bill has been introduced into Parliament, it will then be referred to the Portfolio Committee on Education. In the course of its consideration of the draft Bill, the Portfolio Committee will, also in line with the normal practice, once again call for comments on the Bill. Moreover, the Portfolio Committee may hold public hearings in keeping with the normal practice.
All individuals and organisations who have missed the deadline for this round of comments will therefore have a further opportunity to provide inputs on the draft Bill once it has been introduced into Parliament.
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