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Motshekga: Schools shouldn't turn away migrant learners without proper documents

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has written to the African Diaspora Forum to re-assure the association after learners who don't have birth certificates were refused entry into schools, and others removed.

FILE: Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says that schools should neither refuse migrant learners’ entry or remove them if they don't have proper documents.

Motshekga has written to the African Diaspora Forum to re-assure the association after learners who don't have birth certificates were refused entry into schools, and others removed.

She said that while the admission policy empowers schools to require documentation, it does not in any way prohibit entry, and where documents are not finalised in the prescribed three months, parents should be assisted.

The Immigration Act states that it’s an offence for a school to admit a learner without documents such as a birth certificate.

If found guilty, such a school can be fined up to R5,000 per learner.

So many principals choose to be safe, and many migrant learners stay at home.

African Diaspora Forum Chair Dr Vusimuzi Sibanda has welcomed this development.

“We are very happy, on behalf of the children that have been affected by this. It is not only migrant children, but we have also got a lot of native South African children affected by this particular policy.”

The department has directed all provinces to ensure that all learners regardless of their citizenship status are admitted, pending finalisation of the ministerial taskforce on the matter.

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