W Cape Act narrows gap between schools in rich, poor communities
I REFER to Mr Adiel Ismail’s letter (October 25), accusing me of being incompetent.
Allow me to give Mr Ismail a lesson in law. We agree the Constitution is the supreme law of our country.
It is this very Constitution, in Schedule 4, that provides that national AND provincial government have CONCURRENT legislative competence in respect of certain matters, one of which is “education at all levels, excluding tertiary”. This clearly includes schools.
This same Constitution, in s146, expressly states that in the event of a conflict between national and provincial legislation, provincial legislation prevails, unless certain conditions are met. We do not believe these conditions apply to our bill.
His statements that the SA Schools Act (Sasa) is “the constitution and supreme law for education in our country” and that all education laws in the country must comply with it, are incorrect.
If this were the case, concurrent competence would have no meaning.
Notwithstanding, the lawyers for both the department and the standing committee have come to the conclusion that the Amendment Bill does not in fact contradict Sasa, as collaboration schools is a different school model that is not prohibited, and that while Sasa regulates education at the national level, it does not exhaustively cover the field of education. In addition, the existing W Cape Act provides that the MEC can establish any other type of school that is in the interests of education.
Mr Ismail’s statement that the objective of section 23(9) of Sasa is to ensure that the number of parents at any public school represent a majority of members on the governing body is also incorrect.
To the contrary, Sasa itself provides that for public schools for learners with special education needs, a parent majority is not required.
It is incorrect that parents’ voting power has been “removed” – they still vote for 50% of the governing body in this model, and any stalemate is to be resolved by a full parent meeting.
This bill contains innovative means of advancing a learner’s constitutional right to education and can also assist in narrowing the gap between schools in wealthier and poorer communities.
Opposition to it astounds me. Comparisons drawn with the death penalty is absurd.