Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi delivering a keynote address during the launch of School Governing Bodies (SGB) elections in 2018. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency/ANA
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi delivering a keynote address during the launch of School Governing Bodies (SGB) elections in 2018. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency/ANA

Parents encouraged to vote and participate in SGB elections

By MaryAnne Isaac Time of article published Mar 17, 2021

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As the School Governing Body (SGB) elections for 2021 are under way nationally, parents are encouraged to participate by voting or standing for elections.

Chairman of the Parents Association of KwaZulu-Natal, Vee Gani, said the SGB was the custodian of a school and its responsibility was to ensure the functionality of the school, implement policies and supervise the school’s finances.

“The SGB has the power to appoint school staff, implement policies, maintain and fix infrastructure, determine the amount of value added to the school, direction of the school, look for methods and ways to get sponsorships or donations, and the development of education. They have a huge role to play in the function of a school and its structure, with the only exception being the curriculum.”

Gani said the SGB did not only comprise of parents - there are also teachers and non-educator representatives (cleaners, admin staff and security) as well as the principal, who also play a crucial role in the SGB.

All public schools have been given two months to conclude elections. The elections are held between March 1 and April 30.

The Western Cape MEC of Education, Debbie Schäfer, urged parents to use this opportunity to get involved in the running of their child’s school by voting and standing for a position, or voting for someone they believe best represents the school’s interests.

“The South African Schools Act gives governing bodies considerable powers and responsibilities in governing schools, such as the school’s constitution, mission statement and code of conduct, budgeting and financial management, recommending staff appointments and generally supporting the school and its staff.

“While SGB members do not have to have formal qualifications, we are urging parents with skills in bookkeeping, accounting and legal services in particular to consider standing for election. While we value all skills, knowledge of accounting and legal processes is particularly useful, given the kinds of decisions that governing bodies have to make and the responsibilities they are entrusted with.”

According to the government gazette, SGBs represent all sectors of the school community and, in Grades 8 to 12, learners too. All parents and legal guardians with children registered at a school are eligible to vote and 10% of a school’s parents must vote to achieve a quorum. Parents with children at the school and legal guardians are also able to stand for election, with some exceptions.

Some of the exceptions are: a person will not be eligible to be a member of a governing body if he or she is mentally ill and has been declared as such by a competent court; has been found guilty of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment by a court of law; and has been declared to be unsuitable to work with children as stipulated in terms of the Children's Act.

The voting process is a little different this year due to Covid-19 and each school will advise its parents as to how and on what date the election will take place.

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