New feeder zones for public schools will 'cross the colour line' - Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is hoping that new feeder zones for public ordinary schools will be inclusive of all South African learners irrespective of race, background or creed.

"We are thrilled to announce this today. It is a groundbreaking way of opening all our schools to all our children and a radical shift in addressing the negative impact of apartheid spatial planning," Lesufi said at a media briefing on Thursday.

This comes after the Constitutional Court – on May 20, 2016 – ruled that the MEC had to determine feeder zones for all public schools in the province, in the manner required by regulation 4(1) of the Admission of Learners to Public Schools, by November 20, 2018.

Approximately 2 067 feeder zone maps had been finalised and would be published in the government gazette for consultation. According to the department, 334 schools had contested their proposed feeder zones and their concerns had been addressed.

These feeder zones will enable learners from previously disadvantaged areas to access schools that were previously reserved for white learners.

"We are closing a chapter in our history that was left unattended for too long.

"There must be no one that is told you are born in the wrong area and, therefore, you cannot come to this school," Lesufi said.

He said he believed this would address the issue of transformation with respect to public schools.

"The feeder zone will incorporate white areas with black/Indian areas. It will cross the colour line."

Speak up within '30 days or keep quiet'

"They will never oppress our children or our children's children. We are handing over now a non-racial society, where no one will be judged based on the colour of their skin," Lesufi explained.

The publication of the new feeder zones dictates that schools will have to resubmit their policies to the head of the Gauteng education department within three months.

"Every school policy must now be resubmitted to department, whether it be uniform, hair, language etc, but in particular their admissions policy.

"They have 90 days to submit and the department has 90 days to respond," Lesufi said.

The provincial education department also clarified that feeder zones would be up for review every year for all schools and that, only in the event of dramatic changes in demographics, should a school apply for a review of their feeder zone.

"I delegated this to the HOD, Edward Mosuwe, and I have removed myself just to have a separation of powers, because you know my views," Lesufi added.

The department said it would be ready to implement the proposed feeder zones as law in 2020 and has urged school governing bodies to speak up within "30 days or keep quiet".

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