ACDP brands the Bela Bill as ‘being against God’s will’

ACDP supporters protested against the BELA Bill ahead of public hearings. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

ACDP supporters protested against the BELA Bill ahead of public hearings. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 5, 2024


Cape Town - The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) demonstrated at the legislature in Wale Street on Thursday, opposing the Basic Education Laws Amendment (Bela) Bill.

The protest, with around 100 people, was held ahead of public hearings into the bill.

Other political parties who have opposed the adoption of the bill in its current form include the DA and the Freedom Front Plus.

The bill aims to amend the South African Schools Act of 1996 and the Employment of Educators Act of 1998 to align them with developments in education.

It was adopted by the portfolio committee on basic education on September 26 last year, and then by the National Assembly, with 223 votes in favour and 83 against, on October 26.

The bill will now have to go to the National Council of Provinces before it is passed.

ACDP provincial leader Ferlon Christians said: “Parents will now be criminalised for not sending their children to school, so it’s either a fine or imprisonment. We cannot agree with that.

“Secondly, we believe that the government is driving a strong Comprehensive Sexuality Education, teaching our children what the parents must teach our children, and I am shocked to see the explicit things they want to teach our primary school learners.

“Thirdly, the ACDP is appalled by the fact that more and more powers are going to be taken away from the SGBs, so that’s an attack and giving more and more powers to the government and less to our parents. Another great concern is that the government wants to make Grade R compulsory, making sure that they indoctrinate our children earlier. It’s a big problem.”

Christians said they could not support the bill as it was “pushing an agenda that is against the will of God”.

ACDP communications officer in the Western Cape, Mongezi Mabungani said: “The ACDP believes that the bill undermines the aims of creating competent communities and had, instead, entrusted the state with more powers … In its current form, the bill gave more jobs for officials, undermined the rights of parents, and ignored the best interests of the child.”

He said the party rejected the bill in its totality and demanded that it be scrapped.

“In our view, the current policies and the approach of the Department of Basic Education are not only failing but are exacerbating the situation,” Mabungani said.

ACDP regional chair in Helderberg, Yolanda Daniels, said: “If they pass this bill, there’s a lot of things that they can do. They add additions and additions because that Bela Bill leaves it open for a lot of things to take place.

“We feel just scrap this bill because in the past they tried to pass this bill and we stood up and they extended it up until now. We feel totally, leave the parenting to the parents and not to the educator.”

[email protected]

Cape Argus