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WC govt’s 'booze in schools' amendment won’t benefit pupils: Sadtu

The controversial bill was passed in the legislature in November.

Picture: sadtu.org.za

CAPE TOWN – The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) wants to challenge the constitutionality of the Western Cape Education Amendment Bill that allows for the sale of alcohol at schools, among other things.

Sadtu filed a notice in the Western Cape High Court last Friday.

The union's provincial leader Jonovan Rustin argued the changes were unconstitutional and pupils would not benefit. The controversial bill was passed in the legislature in November.

Some of the changes to the legislation allow for the sale of alcohol at schools on application to the head of department. They also pave the way for the establishment of an evaluation authority, which would conduct independent evaluations on schools.

The bill also seeks to establish donor-funded schools and aims to create intervention facilities for pupils who have been found guilty of serious misconduct.

Sadtu said it was challenging all the provisions in the new legislation.

On the matter of the sale of alcohol for adult events after hours, Sadtu argued the province already struggled with substance abuse, especially in low-income communities.

The Western Cape has one of the highest rates of alcohol dependency in the country, with under-age drinking becoming an increasing problem.

High volumes of alcohol-induced trauma cases continue to place strain on state health facilities in the Cape Town metropole.

Emergency medical services transported over 30,000 emergency cases to hospitals between December and January, of which 23% were related to violent trauma, physical violence and accidental injury.

The provincial health department's Monique Johnstone said medical emergency staff tended to see an increase in cases over weekends, especially at month-end, as well as on public holidays and the Easter, Christmas and New Year periods.

Additional reporting by Lizell Persens.

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