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Basic Education Portfolio Committee extends deadline for submissions on the BELA Bill

The Portfolio Committee (PC) on Basic Education has extended the deadline for stakeholders and interested individuals to submit written comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill to 15 August 2022.

Committee Chairperson, Ms Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, said the Committee received several requests for an extension to the original deadline, which was 15 June 2022. “The Committee noted several factors that could have resulted in the public not having sufficient time to comment on the Bill, such as the examination period. As the Committee appreciates public input and intends to ensure that legislation speaks to the needs and wants of the entire sector, we decided to heed the calls for the extension of the deadline.”

The Bill proposes to amend the South African Schools Act (SASA) of 1996, and the Employment of Educators Act (EEA) of 1998, to align them with developments in the education landscape and to ensure that systems of learning are put in place in a manner that gives effect to the right to basic education enshrined in section 29(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

The Bill seeks to, amongst others, amend certain definitions; to provide that attendance of Grade R is compulsory; and to provide for system improvements in terms of admission of learners to public schools. The Bill also proposes technical and substantive adjustments; clarifies certain existing provisions; inserts provisions not provided for in existing legislation; and strengthens enforcement mechanisms for offences and penalties. The Bill further provides for financial and public accountability frameworks for School Governing Bodies and Provincial Education Departments (PEDs). In addition, the Bill provides the Minister with additional regulatory powers and enhances decision-making and oversight powers for Heads of Departments (HoDs) and Members of Executive Councils (MECs).

Persons or organisations wishing to submit written comments are therefore invited to direct submissions for the attention of: Mr Llewellyn Brown, the Committee Secretary, via email: belabill02@parliament.gov.za or online at: https://forms.gle/MoC6AdbdQyYPk3Y49 or via WhatsApp: +27 60 550 9848. Mr Brown can be reached on: 083 709 8450 for enquiries.

Written submissions must therefore reach Parliament by no later than 15 August 2022 at 16:00. In addition to written submissions, kindly indicate if you would like to make oral submissions. All correspondence should be addressed to Mrs BP Mbinqo-Gigaba, Chairperson: PC on Basic Education, and marked for the attention of Mr LA Brown. Submissions must clearly indicate the name, surname, telephone number and email address of the person or organisation submitting comments.

The Bill is accessible at: https://www.parliament.gov.za/bill/2300398.

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