New laws planned for schools and elections in South Africa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet approved the Basic Education Law Amendment Bill and the Electoral Amendment Bill for submission to parliament.

In a press conference on Thursday morning (November 25), Presidential Minister Mondli Gungubele said the Election Law Amendment Bill would amend the Election Law of 1998 to provide for the election of independent candidates to the Assembly national and provincial legislatures.

In a June 2020 judgment, South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s electoral law was unconstitutional. It does not provide for adult citizens to be elected to national and provincial legislatures as independent candidates.

Election Law 73 of 1998 currently only allows political parties to participate in the country’s national and provincial elections.

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“A conscious choice not to form or join a political party is as much a political choice as the choice to form or join a political party, and must also deserve constitutional protection,” said constitutional judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga in her decision.

“Once an adult citizen is compelled to exercise the right S19 (3) (b) to run for public office through a political party, it diverts him from the very choice that guarantees him not to join or form a political party. It can’t be. “

The court suspended the judgment for 24 months to give parliament time to make the necessary changes.

Schools

Gungubele said the Basic Education Law Amendment Bill would amend South Africa’s Schools Act of 1996 and the Employment of Educators Act of 1998 as part of a broad campaign to make the most accessible schools in South Africa.

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“The changes, among other things, give effect to universal access to two years of early childhood development, they also strengthen the accountability of school governing bodies and clarify admission, language and code of conduct policies.” , did he declare.

The Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Reginah Mhaule, has previously said the bill could introduce additional measures to hold principals, parents and governing bodies accountable for absenteeism. The bill, which will focus specifically on compulsory education between Grades 1 and 9, is also expected to hold parents more accountable than under current laws.

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A 2017 version of the Basic Education Law Amendment Bill proposed to increase the sentence from six months to six years when a learner’s parent, or any other person, prevents a learner from submitting to it. compulsory school attendance.

The 2017 bill also proposes to make it an offense for any person to interrupt or disrupt any school activity, willfully or voluntarily, to hinder or hinder any school in the exercise of the activities of the school.


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