20 September 2000

Continuing to Legislate for Change


Education Laws Amendment Laws Bill

The Education Laws Amendment Bill will amend three pieces of existing legislation - the South African Qualifications Authority, South African Schools and Employment of Educators Acts. The ANC Government is committed to constantly reviewing laws passed by Parliament to ensure that they have the intended outcomes for the people on the ground. This provides a mechanism to fuse developments in ANC policy and difficulties experienced in the implementation of legislation into new, better legislation. This Bill will correct some of the problems in the 29 000 schools in our country. It shows that the ANC is serious about transforming all schools into places of excellence where learners can receive quality education in secure learning environments. With this Bill the ANC sets the perimeters within which committed teachers can teach, learners can learn and managers can manage effectively.

People Participating in Educating the Nation

The Bill aims to increase the representation of trade unions on the South African Qualifications Authority from two to three. This will broaden the inputs from ordinary South Africans into the Authority, contributing to the enrichment of the institution with views from people on the ground.

The Education Laws Amendment Bill supports the philosophy of fair representivity of parents from all backgrounds on school governing bodies, even where those parents are in a minority. The Education Committee considers the matter to be both important and sensitive; an appropriate way of ensuring that school governing bodies are more representative is being investigated.

Making Education Secure for All

The Bill introduces the notions of serious misconduct and incapacity on the part of teachers and school managers to ensure that learners learn in a secure environment. The ANC Government sends out a clear signal to teachers and managers who may abuse, or wish to abuse, their authority over learners in various negative ways. The Bill clearly differentiates between those acts that constitute serious and less serious misconducts, outlines the disciplinary procedure and introduces two new concepts namely counselling and rehabilitation programmes for transgressing teachers. At the same time it allows for teachers to be suspended summarily with full pay to expedite the finalisation of disciplinary procedures.

Other Important Education Bills

The Adult Education and Basic Education and Training Bill will ensure that everyone has the right, and access, to basic education, including adult basic education. It provides for the establishment and registration of both public and private adult learning centres. The Bill also enables public schools and ABET centres to operate in partnership to eradicate the scourge of illiteracy that hampers economic growth in South Africa.

The Higher Education Amendment Bill gives the Registrar of higher education institution discretionary powers to decide whether or not to register an institution even if it meets the set criteria for registration. The Government is concerned about the recent drop in enrolment figures at local universities, especially previously black universities. That is why the Bill distinguishes between local and foreign institutions that apply for registration, and attempt to control the influx of foreign institutions and the rapid growth in the number of private higher education institutions. The Bill will balance the human resource needs of the country and quality assurance on one hand with the right to register an institution on the other.

Another Key Piece of Transformatory Legislation

The Developmental Welfare Governance Bill

The ANC Government is committed to a developmental social welfare approach, aimed at building a self-reliant nation in partnership with all stakeholders. The Government will achieve this through an integrated social welfare system that maximises existing potential, and that is based on the progressive principles of equity, sustainability, equal access and people-centredness. This will reverse the inadequacy of governance structures - which lacked legitimacy and inclusivity and perpetuated disparity and selective service delivery - established under apartheid rule.

In the main the Bill provides for the establishment, objects and functions of the South African Developmental Welfare Council. The main objectives of this Council are to:

advise the Minister on:

act as a consultative forum for the Minister to discuss:

The ANC Government continues to redress the past inadequacies of apartheid governance mechanisms and imbalances of service delivery. It acknowledges the need for appropriate, legitimate, transparent and effective governance structures. This Bill is part of the overall transformation of the welfare system from one that was geared toward selective delivery to a minority to one that is developmental and delivers to the majority of South Africans.

Bringing Change Under Review and Improving Delivery

Transformation of South African society, spearheaded by the ANC Government, has firmly taken root over the last six years. The past year allowed us to review the implementation and effects of the bulk of transformatory legislation that it has passed, and sometimes had to fight for against a barrage of opposition from those opposed to change. We will continue to review existing laws and improve them in spite of the efforts of those forces and continue to bring a better life for the many, not just the few.