DA threatens strike action over BELA Bill

The BELA Bill proposes changes to the South African Schools Act which seeks to hand control to the Education Department in determining a school's language policy and curriculums, compulsory schooling from Grade R, and the prohibition of corporal punishment and initiation practices.

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JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance said it will take to the streets to protest against the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELA Bill) which it claims is attacking mother tongue education.

The party has vowed to hold demonstrations outside the office of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Tuesday.

The BELA Bill proposes changes to the South African Schools Act. One of which seeks to hand control to the education department in determining a school's language policy, curriculums, the prohibition of corporal punishment and initiation practices.

The Bill was introduced in Parliament in January but has been criticised - with some arguing that it will give Education Minister Angie Motshekga extraordinary powers to override school governing bodies.
The DA's Khume Ramulifho said the party is not in favour of the ANC taking over schools and school language policy.

"Under the discriminatory BELA Bill the head of provincial Education Department and MEC's like Lesufi will ultimately decide what language is taught in your child's school and who is admitted to the school. This means that parents and school governing bodies will lose these powers. The ANC is attacking mother tongue education especially Afrikaans the DA will not stand for this".

However, Lesufi has hit out at critics of the bill and called on the public to endorse it.

He said it's a possible solution to the racial divide in schools, especially around language policies, discipline and rehabilitation of pupils with behavioural problems.