7 July 2022
Media alert: Equal Education members will be protesting at the Department of Basic Education in Pretoria tomorrow against Minister Motshekga’s proposal to remove #DeadlinesToFixSchools from the infrastructure law
At 10am tomorrow, Equal Education (EE) Gauteng members will picket at the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in Pretoria, against the drastic and unacceptable changes that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga wants to make to the school infrastructure law (the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure). Read our memorandum of demands here.
Minister Motshekga signed the Norms and Standards into law in 2013, following years of tireless campaigning led by EE members. Never before did South Africa have a law saying what basic infrastructure a school must have, and by when it must be provided. We went to court in 2018 to get Minister Motshekga to fix gaps in the law, not to water it down!
The scariest change that Minister Motshekga wants to make to the school infrastructure law is to scrap the deadlines that put the responsibility on the government to get rid of pit latrines and provide basics such as water, electricity, classrooms, libraries, etc by specific dates. Read about her other proposed changes here.
The current deadlines entitle learners to decent school infrastructure right now. Without the urgency and accountability that is demanded by the deadlines, poor and working class communities will never know when their schools will be fixed.
The current school infrastructure deadlines:
2013: when the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure was signed into law in 2013, it immediately banned plain pit latrines from all public schools in South Africa.
2016: By 29 November 2016, all public schools in South Africa should have been provided with some access to water, electricity and acceptable toilets. School buildings made from inappropriate materials – such as mud, asbestos, wood or zinc – should have been replaced.
2020: By 29 November 2020, all public schools in South Africa should have been provided with enough classrooms, enough electricity, enough water, and enough proper toilets. Schools should also have been provided with electronic connectivity (telephones and internet) and perimeter security (such as fences).
2023: By 29 November 2023, all public schools in South Africa should have been provided with libraries and laboratories.
2030: By 31 December 2030, all public schools in South Africa should have been provided with halls, sports fields and all the other infrastructure that the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure demands.
The DBE’s initial closing date for feedback from the public on its proposed changes was 10 July. The closing date was only changed to 31 July after EE and the Equal Education Law Centre raised public awareness about the unfairness of having only one month to make submissions, and after we wrote two letters of concern to the DBE. Our second letter was written alongside five other organisations. The DBE also only published the draft amendments document to its website two weeks after it was published in the Government Gazette!
We are still worried that the proposed changes, which can be read here, are drafted in a way that is very difficult to understand, which limits the ability of members of the public to submit feedback to the DBE.
We call on school communities to make submissions to the DBE, and to say NO to the scrapping of the #DeadlinesToFixSchools.
When: 10am Friday 8 July 2022
Where: Sol Plaatje House, 222 Struben Street, Pretoria
To arrange an interview, contact Jay-Dee Cyster (EE Communications Officer) email@example.com 082 924 1352