File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The Western Cape may soon become the first province to legally allow the sale and consumption of alcohol at school functions, after the controversial School Education Amendment Bill was passed in the legislature.

The bill was rejected at public hearings earlier this month.

Despite being rejected by members of the ANC, EFF, ACDP and members of the public, the bill will now move on to a second reading debate in the legislature before it’s passed.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said the bill constitutes the biggest public education reform since 1994, designed to achieve excellence in education.

However, these views were not echoed by an opposing parliamentary member.

“It’s the most ill-conceived bill I’ve ever seen. It’s a shebeen bill we’re looking at today. The alcohol bill was rejected in public participation.

“It gives me pain to stand here and try to reason with a regime that wants to bring alcohol to schools.

“The standing committee chair gave the green light to the bill which is shocking. What this means is public meetings is a check box because the public rejected it,” said ANC member Roland Olivier.

ACDP Western Cape leader Ferlon Christians shared similar views and said the public have been disregarded, disrespected and ignored by the provincial legislature that adopted the bill.

Christians said only 83 of 1400 schools adopted the bill and the public hearings held came to a cost of R34605.

Schäfer said the bill has been opportunistically distorted and misrepresented by the opposition and many schools already have events for adults where alcohol is sold or consumed on or off the school premises.

“I know some people don’t like it, but we believe in giving adults a choice in how they wish to live their lives.

“And we also believe in people taking the responsibility they have been given seriously.

“This is why we have provided that application must be made to the head of department for permission to hold certain adult functions on school premises where alcohol may be consumed or sold.”

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Cape Argus