BELA Bill poses threat to Afrikaans education: AfriForum

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Non-governmental organisation AfriForum is challenging the Basic Education Laws Amendments (BELA Bill).

The lobby group argues that the bill poses a threat to the Afrikaans education.

The bill aims to amend certain sections of the South African Schools Act (SASA), focusing on administrative and management processes at the school level.

AfriForum wants the National Council of Provinces to revise the Basic Education Laws Amendments and allow student governing bodies (SGBs) to determine and authorise language policy in their designated schools.

AfriForum Youth Spokesperson, Louis Boshoff, elaborates, “Many members of the AfriForum youth have had the privilege of receiving Afrikaans mother language education and we would want future generations to also enjoy this privilege which we believe is seriously endangered by the BELA Bill.”


While the Department of Basic Education has welcomed its adoption, the bill has stirred up controversy and courted widespread criticism from opposition parties as well as civil society groups.

Civil society organisation Dear SA says that not enough public sentiment or opinion has been considered as far as the bill is concerned.

They’re concerned about the criminalisation of parents and caregivers whose children are not attending school.

Opposition parties say under the bill, the head of provincial education departments and MECs will ultimately decide what language is taught in your child’s school and who is admitted to the school.

They say one of the amendments is criminalising parents who don’t ensure their children are in school.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Marie Sukers says, “The main concern for the ACDP is that the BELA Bill is an administrative Bill that is not in the best interest of children. It closes rural schools and the majority of the poor who are serviced by rural schools with 135 or less learners (who) are not even afforded the dignity of being given a reason for why those schools are closed. It fails to reform education.”

The Democratic Alliance says they will not stand for the Bill. In a statement, the party says: “The ANC is the proud sponsor of this discriminatory move, attacking mother tongue education and with this Bill, they will further destroy our schools. The DA will not stand for this.”

Meanwhile, Professor Brahm Fleisch from the Wits School of Education has questioned whether the Bill will really address South Africa’s learning crisis.

VIDEO | Education expert Mary Matcalfe analyses the BELA Bill: