ACDP MPP (Western Cape), Ferlon Christians

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

Provinces would have to foot a R2bn per annum bill to implement proposed BELA Bill

Apr 13, 2024

The African Christian Democratic Party, (ACDP) Western Cape, expresses its shock that the Western Cape Education Committee has been informed by a spokesperson from the National Treasury that provinces would have to foot the costs of implementing the proposed Basic Education Law Amendment (BELA) Bill. This would be unacceptable.

Inputs made by the public, during the public hearings in the Western Cape, showed that an overwhelming majority of citizens of the Western Cape rejected the BELA Bill.

The process of this flawed bill, through various levels of Government, several committees, and the Department of Basic Education (DBE), highlights the lack of proper research by the DBE, as well as its ineffective measure of engagement holistically. In many stages of the bill’s passage through the National Parliament it was clear that there was a need for a broader public participation process where the views of the public were documented and effected with the seriousness it deserved.

The majority of the people representing the Western Cape rejected the BELA Bill, especially due to clause 25 which deals with the closure of schools which have under 135 learners, clause 35 which deals with home schooling, and clause 39 that sets out the prevention and management of learner pregnancy.

The Home-schooling community was not consulted properly from the onset. There is still insufficient research that has been done by the DBE to fully understand and acknowledge the important role that this community plays in our education sector.

The ACDP recommends that the DBE and its current minister for education stand down from pushing the BELA Bill on our province with the evil agenda that it promotes.

National government has no plan to fund the implementation of the BELA Bill. Should the bill pass into law the Western Cape Government will have to budget for an additional amount of R2 billion per annum.

While DBE claimed that Grade R is partially funded up to 70% in certain provinces, an additional 30% is needed.

The committee engaged the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) which stated that BELA’s cost was likely to be much higher than the DBE’s amount of approximately R14 billion, This does not include matters such as ablution facilities, nutrition or transport programmes. The lack of transport for learners especially in rural communities is already a major concern.

The ACDP Western Cape on its submission to the NCOP is calling on the Western Cape Standing Committee on Education not to support the BELA Bill.

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