Update - progress on Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill

By sylviahammond, 31 March, 2024

The Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELA) falls under the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), which consists of representatives from each province and is mandated to ensure that the interests of each province are considered. In addition, each province should seek input from the public; neither the public, nor the media, may be excluded. See sections 60-72 in Chapter 4 of the Constitution

In the NCOP Education committee meeting on 27th March, 2024 the committee received the provincial responses (the provincial negotiating mandates) to the BELA Bill. Most provinces accepted the Bill, except the Western Cape province, whose delegates rejected the Bill, and the Eastern Cape, who accepted the Bill with proposed amendments.

In addition to the amendment proposals being of relevance to all parents of school-going children, some of the proposed amendments are of particular relevance to skills-universe members - as trainers and educators.

The safety of educators

Clause 8(b) deals with random searches of students by the principal or their delegates and seizure of drugs, alcohol, and dangerous weapons. The EC Province proposed that South African Police Service (SAPS) should be involved for the safety of the educators. 

For Clause 9 EC province proposed that assault of an educator is a criminal offence, and depending on the student's age, be dealt with under the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008. 

Training of SGBs

For Clause 19 on the dissolution of a School Governing Body (SGB), the EC province proposed that in addition to an induction programme for a new SGB, that a comprehensive training programme should be given. 

Technological advances

The EC province proposed that Clause 12 should include schools offering online and blended learning.  

Concern for students

Clause 3 of the Bill places a duty on the School Governing Body (SGB), the principals, and the educators to monitor learner attendance and investigate further after 3 days absence. The EC province proposed that the support of Social Workers should be included.

A number of other proposals covered factors to be considered prior to closure or amalgamation of public schools, remuneration of SGBs, and alternative steps to replace corporal punishment, which is outlawed.  

The committee will return to consider the proposed amendments clause by clause with the support of the State Law Advisor and department. 

For the full NCOP Education Committee report see:     


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