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Beware, our education is in peril

10 January 2013, 10:26

That is no rhetorical question I pose!  We have a government that avowedly declares that it is premised on the rule of laws and and that respects court decisions. I have read in the morning's paper that it now intends to "change" the law that affords governing bodies the democratic power, inter alia, school admission policies? I am truly gobsmacked here for front page report is headlined  'Government vows to fight school powers'(Mercury 10.1.2013) which reminds me of that discredited apartheid era when, every time a court decision went against government, the Nat dominated parliament either amended the law or passed another!

Either Basic Education Minister Angie Motshega has been reading the dos and don'ts from apartheid era handbooks or she is suffering from delusions of grandeur which overlooks the fact that we are a constitutional democracy premised on the principle of the rule of law. 

The SA Schools Act, as I recall when it was first mooted and went through the pre-drafting consultative stage, was intended to give people the say as to how matters, such as education, were to be conducted in their community. What is appalling is that we are now being subjected to a threat because of our reasonable exercise of power that has its source in a law which itself is subject to the grundnorm, namely the Constitution. Hmm, well good luck Minister for the heads up.

This coming in the wake of her celebrating mediocrity on national television when the matric 2012 results were announced indicates a serious disconnect between a constitutional mandate and her obligation that she ultimately answerable to 'we the people' the very opening declaration in the Preamble to the Constitution. Study that court decision, Minister, especially the ratio decidendi, in which the court validated the powers of the governing body that, in its judgment were rational and exercised responsibly and that therefore the government forced intervention constituted a serious breach of the spirit, the values and the spirit enshrined in both the SA Schools Act and the Constitution.

Here's what Minister Motshega can do. Hand over education to an apolitical body representing all stakeholders and political parties or to a private body that will be able to efficiently run a portfolio that has seen SA education in such a parlous state, and to positively, as opposed to cosmetically, achieve a turn around and provide quality education to our children.

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