Category: Newsroom

Home Education policy is “unworkable in practice”

The ACDP has come out in support of the Home Education community and shares many of their concerns which include among other things, that home education under the current Act is treated as a form of independent education and that aspects of the draft policy are measures appropriate to public education.

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the ACDP is of the opinion that the policy is unworkable in practice. Under-resourced provincial education departments will not be able to cope with the administrative burden of the policy, and significant additional costs will be placed on home educating families”.

A fully constituted meeting of the Council of Education Minister’s (CEM) has approved the Home Education policy for promulgation by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga. This approval comes after a lengthy consultation process that spanned almost four years.

As far back as October 2014 the first consultation meeting with the home education community and other key stakeholders was held. The meeting was attended by representatives from Home Education Associations, Pestalozzi Trust (the legal arm for some parents); Independent Curriculum Providers; ISASA, Umalusi; South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI); South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE); Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET); and the Department of Basic Education (DBE). In this meeting Home Education stakeholders presented national and international research to the DBE. The home education community expressed appreciation for the opportunity as it was the first time ever that the state engaged them on the practice, whether pre- and/or post 1994.

A second consultation meeting with stakeholders was held in July of the following year where a discussion document was presented and a working group was set up involving all stakeholders. Unfortunately some of the stakeholders resigned from this process citing disagreements with the document, and that they would not be seen as part of the DBE team to review the 1999 policy. The Working Group, however, was able to continue with its work until the draft policy was gazetted in November 2017 for the public to make submissions within 21 days. The Department received numerous requests from the public to extend the submission date to which it obliged and the new closing date for submissions, 31 January 2018, was communicated to the public.

A total of 740 submissions were received and the DBE acknowledged receipt of each submission. Between February and July 2018, the Working Group captured submissions received, analysed them and reviewed the policy after having considered progressive inputs.

The policy was presented to DBE management structures and was approved by the Heads of Education Department Committee (HEDCOM) to be tabled at a CEM meeting for promulgation. The CEM of 19 July 2018 approved the policy. The Department is currently preparing a gazette for promulgation.

The Department is aware that a small grouping is opposed to the policy and has been spamming departmental officials requesting that the policy not be promulgated. However, considering the extensive and all-encompassing consultation process, the Department of Basic Education is confident that all comments on the policy have been adequately ventilated, all in the best interest of ensuring that every child has a right to basic education as enshrined in the Constitution and the approved policy will get promulgated as approved by CEM.

31 July 2018

Look after your mental health and encourage others to do the same

As Women’s Month officially kicks off tomorrow, August 1, the African Christian Democratic Party draws attention to mental illness, particularly depression.

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the recent passing of renowned University of Cape Town Professor Bongani Mayosi has afforded us, as South Africans, the opportunity to reflect, share, and help those close to us who may suffer from depression and other mental illness.”

According to the World Health Organisation, depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability across the globe.

Dudley says, “studies have shown that women are two times more likely to suffer from depression than men and about 20% of South Africans will experience a depressive disorder at least once in their lifetime.”

The ACDP would like to encourage all women and men to schedule checks with health professionals or to reach out to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) for assistance.

“We should all look after our mental health and encourage others to do the same. The brain is an organ that can react to a chemical imbalance in the body and the many other pressures in our lives can cause illness. Toughing it out only makes it worse and advice and medication are available. Depression is a treatable condition and between 80% and 90% of people have a good response to treatment. There are also many support groups out there where people can freely share their worries, fears and feelings with others who are in the same situation,” Dudley says.

For more information or assistance, call SADAG on 011 2626396 or 0800-567-567 or sms 31393. SADAG is open 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm. SADAG website:

31 July 2018

ACDP calls on President Ramaphosa to condemn persecution and killing of Christians across the world

ACDP President and Member of Parliament, Rev Kenneth Meshoe has called on South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to do more to protect Christians and their families who are experiencing severe persecution and violent attacks across the world and to strongly condemn it.

“The persecution and killing of Christians for their faith must be condemned and stopped by our democratic government, particularly in Nigeria and Mozambique that is now gripped by fear of the heartless militant Islamists,” Meshoe said. He further appealed to the President to urge the United Nations to also strongly condemn the persecution and barbaric killing of innocent Christians worldwide.

According to “OPEN DOORS,” an international ministry that serves the persecuted Christians worldwide, a 4-day killing spree by Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 200 Christians in Nigeria, and totally razed more than 12 Christian Villages to the ground earlier this month.

It is reported that in 2018 alone, these militant herdsmen have targeted and killed more than 600 Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, raiding Christian villages and setting fire to homes and churches.

The European Union’s 2017 Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World states that Christians are the world’s most harassed and intimidated religious group, including in Europe, and are said to “routinely suffer religiously motivated persecution.”

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province is currently being held to ransom by an Islamist guerrilla movement. After months of skirmishes between police and members of the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah, the region has now erupted into full violence and the killing of innocent Christians. Many Christians have been beheaded, hundreds of houses have been burned, and families have been dislodged from their homes.

The ACDP strongly condemns these despicable acts of violence and religious intolerance and calls on government and the international community to do all they can to better protect these vulnerable groups.

25 July 2018

ACDP shocked at extent of financial loss by Eskom

The ACDP is shocked at the extent of the financial loss suffered by Eskom over the past financial year. While we were expecting a slight loss following my question to acting CFO Calib Cassim in April (when he indicated that the utility would be “below breakeven”), we are shocked at the extent of the loss – a net loss after tax of R2.3bn, down from a R0.9bn profit in 2017.

This poor financial state off an asset base of approximately R700bn is disgraceful and is largely due to the looting, corruption and mismanagement at Eskom, the evidence of which we heard during the parliamentary inquiry. 

As Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe said, it is not normal for the SOE to have had ten CEOs and six boards in the last ten years. However, this, in our view, is was what was needed to accomplish the capture of Eskom, and facilitate its looting. 

It is also shocking that the amount of wasteful and irregular expenditure amounts to R19bn, up from R3bn last year (but with investigations into this item going back to 2012).

The huge debt owed by municipalities running into billions has added strain to Eskom’s financial state. These funds must be collected  and errant municipalities must not be protected, particularly in the run-up to next year’s elections.

The ACDP calls on Eskom to ensure that former board executive directors, including Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, and Matshela Koko, are held criminally and civilly liable for the losses suffered by Eskom. Board directors that failed to exercise their fiduciary duties and allowed the looting to take place on their watch must also be declared delinquent directors; this to prevent them from ever serving as board directors again. 

In addition, all ill-gotten gains obtained through fraud and corruption or other nefarious means must be recovered, particularly from Gupta-related companies and individuals – wherever those funds are being hidden. Those implicated individuals and companies must also face criminal charges. We cannot afford to wait for the outcome of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state-capture. Action must be taken now! 

In this regard, we welcome the criminal charges that have been laid against private companies that have illegally benefitted from Eskom contracts, including McKinsey and Trillian Capital. 

We also trust that the new Eskom Board will succeed in its turn-around plan, and restore public trust and investor confidence in the utility. 

Lastly, the ACDP calls on Parliament to expedite the finalisation of the inquiry into state-capture at Eskom. If other portfolio committees have been busy during this period, then,  given the urgency of this matter, and the poor financial state of Eskom, it is imperative that the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee meet and finalise its report as soon as possible. The committee also needs to urgently obtain a full briefing on the financial statements released by Eskom today.

23 July 2018

CSE is sexual social engineering experiment using children as guinea pigs

ACDP Deputy President, Councillor Wayne Thring, said in Johannesburg today that “the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has taken a decision to oppose the introduction of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) into the curriculum of our South African Schools.”

This decision was taken at its Federal Council of Provinces (FCoP) meeting, held over this weekend (20-21 July 2018), in Johannesburg.

The Department of Education has used the high rate of teenage pregnancies as its rationale for wanting to introduce CSE into the South African schools curriculum in an attempt to reduce teenage pregnancies.

“The ACDP has consistently opposed the current government campaign on teenage sexuality, which includes the lowering of the age of sexual consent, the lowering of the age at which girls may have abortions without parental permission, and the roll out of condoms and other contraceptives to our school children, again, without parental consent. The ACDP has also repeatedly stated that the responsibility for educating children, which includes educating them on matters of sexuality, lies primarily with parents and not the state.

It is the belief of the ACDP that the blame for the high rate of teenage pregnancies, and in particular, of those still at school, lies at the feet of the ruling party. Why? Our children have been exposed by government to pornography at early ages and this includes the proliferation of child pornography, which is on the increase. In addition, the handing out of condoms and other contraceptives to our school children has over the years, only served to entice children to engage in early, and sometimes risky, sexual experimentation.

The view of the ACDP is that CSE is nothing short of lessons to our school children on immoral sexual behaviour.”

Some of the core philosophies of CSE with which the ACDP vehemently disagrees include that “children and adults should have regular sexual experiences either alone or with persons of either gender. A right to sexual pleasure, even at the youngest of ages is a primary right that trumps other rights. Children have privacy and confidentiality rights that trump the rights of parents to guide their education in the area of human sexuality. Most societal sexual and gender norms, especially those based on religious beliefs are unhealthy, repressive and should be changed.”

Thring concluded, “this is nothing more than a sexual, social engineering experiment with our children as the guinea pigs.”

The ACDP calls on all parents, civic and religious bodies to reject the introduction of this reprehensible CSE agenda into our school curriculum.”

21 July 2018

ACDP visits Ray of Sunshine House where funding is needed

As we approach Mandela Day and celebrate Mandela’s life and legacy, ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley visited the Ray of Sunshine House on a smallholding in the Atlantis area in Cape Town where children in need have been taken in and integrated into a family.

The house is also a Ray of Sunshine Horse Haven that gives a loving home to retired and unwanted horses and with whom the children can develop a symbiotic relationship as their hurts are healed.

At the home there are 17 children. “We treat them all as our own; the same rules apply to them as our own children and for the period they are with us we do not think of them as anything but our own. We want them to excel and be all that which God wants them to be,” says Merle Ray, who runs the home.

Dudley says that “the ACDP has great admiration for people who open their arms and their homes to be there for children who would otherwise not have a family to love them. The ACDP is profoundly and proactively pro-family and pro-children, recognising children’s need for a mother and a father in a functional, loving family as the best refuge and learning experience for children where they can develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and authentic manner.

“We see healthy families as the building blocks of a strong, value-based society and support programmes, activities and initiatives that seek to strengthen and promote strong healthy families. We applaud Merle Ray and all who sow into the Ray of Sunshine Children’s Home for this wonderful initiative. Integrating horses and children is a novel and brilliant idea, as experts say that horses are the finest mood altering drug for those they motivate, and have only positive side effects.”

Those working with the children say “children dealing with emotional trauma bond with the horses, who are in recovery themselves, and help each other heal”.

“The ACDP is committed to implementing policies that facilitate the funding of homes like this one that provides a safe, healthy environment for those in need of care”, Dudley added.

Those who want to open their hearts to the Ray of Sunshine home are welcome contact Merle Ray on 021-5723222.

To view a list of their needs go to: 

17 July 2018

ACDP says failure in governance of medical schemes a major concern

Responding to Private Health Scheme Inquiry Recommendations released on Friday last week, ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the ACDP is urging that the recommendations are urgently considered and adopted. We also call on medical schemes not to take a partial approach to the implementation of the recommendations as it would likely only compound existing market failures”.

The Competition Commission conducted an inquiry into the sector after observing increases in prices in the private healthcare sector of which only a minority of medical aid scheme members could afford. Investigators stated that the interventions proposed are closely interrelated and recommended that they be adopted as a whole.

In the interests of benefit to consumers and the long-term sustainability of the market, the ACDP wants to see change in the medical insurance sectors’ approach.  Dudley said that “it appears that medical schemes are clearly making a profit by increasing member fees while benefit packages cover less. Schemes show little evidence of efforts to design and implement alternative models to contain expenditure and provide value for money and fairer cover.”

Discovery Health, the largest scheme, shows growth and success over time which is positive but excessive profits are an indication of market failure, with no signs that the market will self-correct.

Dudley pointed out that what the investigators refer to as a profound lack of transparency – including on scheme options and quality of outcomes – means “consumers simply do not know what they are purchasing and cannot hold funders accountable. Therefore, they resort to choosing only what they think they can afford and are not in any way suitably or adequately covered.”

The report says trustees of schemes should be interceding on behalf of members to ensure that they receive value for money and found a lack of accountability of schemes to members. “There are too few incentives to ensure that scheme employees, trustees and principal officers always act in the best interest of consumers”, Dudley said.

“The ‘separation’ between schemes and administrators is apparently often artificial, particularly in the case of large open schemes. This failure in governance is a major concern.  Just as the fact that not-for-profit-schemes are administered by for-profit administrators and the for-profit administrators are dominant while scheme members and trustees are disempowered and unable to force administrators to align schemes to members’ interests even if they wanted to.”

The ACDP agrees with the inquiries recommendations that, “the performance of schemes must be measured in terms of the value delivered to members and remuneration packages of employees — particularly that of trustees and principal officers should be linked to that performance and capped”.

12 July 2018

Arrest and prosecute those responsible for torching Gugulethu Fire Station

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley responded to the shocking news of the Gugulethu Fire Station in Cape Town being set alight by protestors in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Dudley said that “this is shockingly thoughtless and irresponsible behaviour. A strong, clear message must be sent to others considering ways to express their frustrations in a similar fashion, that not only destroys public property, but endangers the lives of others. The culprits must be apprehended and face the consequences of their actions which placed so many other lives in danger, including the elderly and children in crisis who could have urgently needed the services provided by these firemen and women”.

The front of the fire station sustained severe damage, including the watch room, engine bay doors and the security entrance gate.

“The ACDP would expect that a facility like this fire station would have cameras which will have caught the perpetrators on the premises.  We are calling on the City of Cape Town to make the details regarding the security in place in such facilities known to the public who rely on these services. We are also calling for immediate action with regard to arrests and prosecution, as well as information regarding arrest last night”, Dudley added.

12 June 2018

ACDP welcomes 12 year sentence for possession of child pornography

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the ACDP joins many others in welcoming the 12-year sentence of a man in the southern Cape for possession of child pornography.”

40-year-old Tyrone James from Wilderness was arrested on a drug charge at a roadblock in March 2016 and, during a search of his house, more than 56,000 images of child pornography were found on his computer.

Dudley says that, “it is not just child pornography that increases the harm being done to our children, it is unfettered access to adult pornography that is making our children more vulnerable and placing them in horrendous situations.

“Pornography use is rife in South Africa. We are in the top 20 users in the world and number one in the world for accessing pornography via smart phones.  At the same time sexual violence in South Africa continues unabated with mostly adult males abusing and violating women and children.

“Despite the volumes of research and scientific evidence showing that pornography use is a cause of sexual violence, government is turning a deaf ear and blind eye in terms of adult pornography and its effects on children. Seemingly the multi-billion dollar industry has a stranglehold on us which needs to be broken.

“The ACDP appreciates the increased zero-tolerance approach to child pornography, but is once again calling on government to do a full-scale investigation into the public health costs and social consequences of adults’ use of and exposure to pornography across South Africa.”

9 July 2018

ACDP calls for public participation process on content of proposed sex education curriculum

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today called on the Departments of Basic and Higher Education “to conduct a public participation process for all stakeholders to deliberate on the content of any proposed sex education curriculum.  As the situation stands presently, meaningful engagement with the draft policy on CSE is not possible without having insight into the exact content of CSE curricula”.

Dudley says that, “education about healthy sexuality and sexual choices has an important role in assisting learners to make choices that are in their best interest but the method, message and by whom the education is done, are important considerations.  In formulating a policy response to the issue of prevention and management of learner pregnancies the department must keep in mind that sex education is primarily the responsibility of parents and guardians.

“The ACDP is painfully aware of current realities which include an explosion of learner pregnancies and underage marriages that family and cultural beliefs and customs have significant influence over. Family finances, and widespread hardship and poverty are also motivating factors in terms of sex for sale and dowries.  For example, before a dowry is paid in arranged marriages a baby must first be produced.  Interference in family and cultural matters is not desirable and should always be an exception and not the rule making this a very sensitive issue.”

“The Commission for Gender Equality told the Portfolio Committee on Social Development in Parliament on Wednesday that almost 100,000 underage children in South Africa are married. The legal position is that marriages in which one of the partners is younger than 18, written consent is necessary to obtain a marriage certificate from the Department of Home Affairs.  The commission pointed out however that in most instances, mothers, uncles and other relatives of the 91,000 underage children had agreed on dowries for children as young as 14-years-old confirming that the marriages have family approval.

“The ACDP is calling on the Department to recognise that it is in the best interest of children to work with and through parents and families giving instruction on sex education to parents and supporting parents in their effort to guide their children.  Training parents on matters such as the sexual habits of children, the importance of teaching children about healthy sexuality and sexual choices and its consequences; and even providing parents with condoms and contraceptives to provide to their children if they require it, in the context of a discussion in the home about sexuality, sexual choices and consequences.”

“The ACDP further calls on the Departments of Education to explain the claim or assumption that CSE is desirable and beneficial, and to provide evidence of how CSE will reduce the incidence of learner pregnancies. The most recent research we have indicates that, ‘It is far more likely to see evidence of failure than success in international school-based CSE’ and that CSE ‘may be doing more harm than good’.

“The ACDP has already expressed itself in terms of its opposition to the propagating of abortion among children as a means to manage ‘unintended’ pregnancies.  Of course all concerned would like to find an easy way out of such situations but there is no easy way out – only the right thing to do which brings the greatest rewards long term for all concerned.”

9 July 2018