Elna Wichmann Heath is in the forefront of the BELA Bill which has progressed to the National Council of Provinces.
She says section 28(2) of the Constitution states “A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.” However, she asks, does the Department of Education have our children’s best interests at heart? The Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELA Bill) has progressed to the National Council of Provinces. The Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature has announced the commencement of Public Participation.
“Yes, I know, this is the worst time of the year to think about anything else other than exams. However, this presents a valuable opportunity for schools, educators, SGB’s, parents, children and the general public to actively engage, shaping the educational landscape. Despite the promises made by politicians to enhance education, the reality has fallen short. The proposed BELA Bill raises concerns about the potential regression of schools to state run entities, acknowledging the challenges often associated with such institutions,” says Wichmann Heath.
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She emphasised that it is crucial for schools not to adopt a passive stance, relying solely on organisations like FEDSAS, Unions and Political Parties to advocate on their behalf. “Your direct involvement is paramount. Attend the public hearings and show up in numbers, to ensure that your voices are heard. The collective strength of school representatives and parents, is a powerful force increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome. We urge you to actively participate in the upcoming Provincial Hearings, the details of which are displayed below.”
Thursday, 23 November 2023 – 10h00-13h00 – Nkangala District, Mpumalanga – Mmamethlake Community Hall – Dr. JS Moroka Local Municipality. Pin Location – Unsure
Wednesday, 29 November 2023 – 10h00-13h00 – Gert Sibande District – Vukuzakhe Community Hall – Dr. Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality
Thursday, 30 November 2023 – 10h00-13h00 – Ehlanzeni District, – Jeppes Reef Community Hall – Nkomazi Local Municipality