The disruption caused by protest actions near schools, like in the present Hoërskool Overvaal case, is unacceptable and the FF Plus will table a private member’s bill with the aim of prohibiting protest actions near schools, says adv Anton Alberts, chairperson of the FF Plus.
According to adv Alberts, the laws that will have to be amended to achieve this aim include, amongst others, the National Schools Act and the Regulation of Gatherings Act. It will be applicable to all schools, from the pre-primary through to the secondary phase.
"The FF Plus’s intended private member’s bill is of paramount importance, because it aims at the very least to protect learners against such disruptions"
Adv Alberts adds that a recent ruling by the Western Cape High Court that allows for concessions with regard to protest actions, increases the need for such amendments.
In the said case, Judge Thandazwa Ndita ruled that peaceful gatherings of which the authorities were not informed beforehand, are now permissible.
According to an article in the Cape Argus, Judge Ndita said: “The criminalisation of a gathering of more than 15 people on the basis that no notice was given violates the Constitution as it deters people from exercising their fundamental Constitutional right to assemble peacefully unarmed.”
According to the Judge, “the limitation is not reasonable and justifiable in an open democratic society, based on the values of freedom, dignity and equality”.
Adv Alberts said that with this ruling, the Judge failed to take the rights of people that are adversely affected by such protest actions into account.
“It can cause major disruptions and open the door for vandalism and violence if a large protest march may be held in a town or city without any prior notice, seeing as the authorities and law enforcers will not have the opportunity to prepare for it.
“It will, however, interfere most with the lives of ordinary people that need to get to school and work on time.
“It doesn’t take the rights of peace-loving citizens into account at all and therefore the FF Plus’s intended private member’s bill is of paramount importance, because it aims at the very least to protect learners against such disruptions and in general add to the fundamental rights of children, as enshrined in the Constitution,” says adv Alberts.