Durban — Teacher unions and parents have rejected a new policy which provides for the possession, consumption, or sale of liquor during any private or religious function on school premises.
The policy is included in the new Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (Bela) approved by the National Assembly recently.
The Bill is meant to amend South African school rules, including eight amendments that are expected to be tabled to the National Council of Provinces before President Cyril Ramaphosa signs it.
There were 222 votes for the Bill, while 83 MPs opposed it. The fourth clause, which has caused a stir, provides for the possession, consumption, or sale of liquor during private or religious functions on school premises.
Sadtu General-Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke told the Daily News that the union was against this.
“We made a written and oral submission on this because we do not accept the new policy,” Maluleke said.
“It will have a bad impact on the learners.
Vee Gani, chairperson of the Parents Association of KZN said: “During discussions of the amendments, parents did raise their concerns about alcohol on the school premises. If the government and the department does not stop this, the governing body in schools has the right to refuse.”
However, provincial Department of Education Spokesperson, Muzi Mahlambi said the sale of alcohol after school hours would not harm learners.
“The policy does not imply that the alcohol will be sold in tuckshops within the school premises. Schools have been co-ordinating fundraising events, with limitation of alcohol sales at those functions which are sold to people over 18. These types of events are only attended by potential attendees and sponsors,” said Mahlambi.
Some of the amendments include making Grade R the new compulsory school starting age, religion, corporal punishment, language policy, criminalising parents who don't ensure their children are in school, allowing learners to perform abortion without consent from guardians and introduction of sex education in all its forms.
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