The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education today concluded its discussion of all the proposed amendments. Although important amendments have been made, the FF Plus still has substantial objections to it.
This process was delayed with two weeks after it came to light that thousands of public submissions had not been processed.
Today, a summary of these submissions was presented to the Committee, but without any mention of figures. The figures were meticulously presented in the previous report, though.
The excuse currently put forward is that, according to the relevant provision, there exists no obligation to disclose the figures. The only logical conclusion is that the figures are being withheld because the majority oppose the Bill.
The law that currently regulates Basic Education was adopted in 1996 already. Innovation is, therefore, essential. The problem, however, is that there is a considerable move towards the centralisation of education.
After public submissions and input from Members of Parliament, significant changes were made to the Bill. Those are the amendments that the Portfolio Committee adopted.
The next step for this Bill is that the amendments that were adopted today must be integrated into the initial text.
This new text will be considered by the Committee next Tuesday. If it is adopted, it will be tabled in the National Assembly (NA). After that, the provincial legislatures must consider it and instruct their delegates in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) with regard to how they should vote.
Whether the NCOP will consider the Bill in time to complete the entire process before the next elections remains an open question.