Cape Town - The ACDP in the province is rallying its members and supporters to oppose the Western Cape Education Department’s Draft Guidelines on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Public Schools which it has condemned as “evil and ungodly”.
In a speech in the legislature, ACDP provincial leader Ferlon Christians questioned the wisdom of the department as the driver of the guidelines.
Among the proposals in the draft are that schools will be encouraged to accommodate the dress code preferences of LGBTQIA+ learners in their respective codes of conduct and may introduce gender-neutral uniforms.
“As the ACDP we cannot keep quiet. We oppose this policy and ask the Western Cape government to throw it in the rubbish bin where it belongs,” Christians said.
He said he had seen reports of developments on the proposed guidelines in a news story in which speaker Masizole Mnqasela had been quoted as saying it would be great if the adoption of the guidelines could happen as soon as June.
“I want to ask the outgoing MEC Debbie Schäfer: With your eight years of hard work in the education portfolio, is this the ungodly legacy you want to leave behind?”
He asked whether the entire DA in the province had no rank and file members who objected to the guidelines.
Provincial ANC education spokesperson Khalid Sayed said although the ANC had seen the document, its main concern was that the guidelines had not yet been tabled in the legislature.
“As the education standing committee we have not even been briefed by the department yet, so it’s very difficult for us to provide comment at this moment on a document that is in its draft form.”
Equal Education Law Centre spokesperson Anele Gcwabe said the centre was concerned about the amount of time that had lapsed since the first draft of the guidelines emerged.
She said the centre, with Equal Education, first made comments on the draft policy in September 2019, when they highlighted serious inadequacies which they were concerned about.
Responding to the outrage, Schäfer said the guidelines had yet to be signed off and that the development of a document relating to it and which would be distributed for public consultation soon, was also being factored into the process.
“It is not clear why certain individuals have decided to belatedly attempt to whip up social media complaints on the guidelines this week, referring to articles from 2020.”
Schäfer said she was concerned about the seemingly deliberate false claims that boys and girls would be forced to share bathrooms, or be forced to share them with adults.
“This is blatantly false and I must question the motives of those making this claim.”
She said the guidelines were intended to achieve a safe environment for all learners, which would allow schools to implement measures such as unisex toilets if there was space and they had considered safety measures and risks.