Comments BELA Bill

The Director General

Private Bag x895



For Attention Adv. T.D. Rudman

Comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill

We, the Cape Home Educators (CHE), are an autonomous Home Educating association representing our constituents’ home education interests in the Western Cape. The Department of Education has the association on their database as an interested and affected party. In 2014 and 2015 we were invited by the DBE to take part in 2 two-day sessions respectively, which included various presentations from the main home educating associations, legal and other. Together with related dynamic discussion and dialogue, these sessions were constructive and according to Dr. Simelane and others, very informative and educational, but nevertheless too short to adequately address the various complex issues.


Since homeschooling was legalized in South Africa at the dawn of our democracy, home education has been growing exponentially. In the 2011 census, there were approximately 58,000 children who were receiving home education in the country as the current education system failed families and could not cater for the various needs which children and families were burdened with. Contemplating international trends, we strongly believe that homeschooling will continue to increase at an exceptional rate.

Art.51 of the SA’s school act of 1996 which addresses home education, is such a failure that it resulted in only approximately 5% of home educators complying with the policy. Due to education officials not understanding the philosophy of home education, a great sense of mistrust has been bred over the years between the home educating community and the Department of Education. Therefore, as an association we can appreciate and welcome the efforts of the DBE to rectify the flaws of the current bill. Since the request for an extension on the closing date for the 10 November was not granted we reserve the right to continue submitting comments after the closing date. Unfortunately, the proposed changes in the BELA bill will make the situation worse and even fewer home educating families will comply. As an association we are grateful for the opportunity to work with government to find workable, viable solutions to these issues.

1. Art. 51 (1) & 51 (2)

51 (1) a parent of a learner who is of compulsory school going age may apply to the Head of Department for the registration of the learner to receive home education.

51 (2) The Head of Department must approve the application and register the learner as contemplated in subsection (1) if he or she is satisfied that-


Parents have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. From the ages of 0-7 years and from 15 years to adult, the parents can fulfil their responsibility to their children without having to ask for permission from the Head of Department.

If it is in the child’s best interest to be educated in an acceptable cultural and religious environment, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If schools are overcrowded and the institution cannot deliver adequate education, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If families are living in remote, rural areas far from educational institutions, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If a child has learning disabilities which the school cannot cater for, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If a child is abused, raped or bullied in a school, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If a child excels in a certain sport or cultural activity and needs more time to pursue this talent, which homeschooling accommodates, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If the child has a physical disability or sickness and cannot function properly in a school environment, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

The above clause proposed in the BELA bill restricts the parent to fulfil their obligation to their children.


As an association we propose that the idea of having to ask permission from the HOD to home educate the child be removed and replaced with the parent having to notify the department of their intention to home educate.

2. Art.51(2)

(d)(iii) arrange for the learners educational attainment to be assessed annually by a competent assessor, approved by the Head of Department, at the parents own expense who will apply a standard that is not inferior to the standard expected in a public school according to the learners age, grade level and ability; and

51(2)(d)(iv) provide the Head of Department with the learners assessment report signed by a competent assessor


The financial burden placed on Home Educating families by this article, is extremely high. This will make home education unattainable for families of a low-income bracket and homeschooling will not be perceived as an educational option for all in South Africa, but only for the rich. Due to this fact, many homeschooling parents will be forced to send their children back to school, which will put further strain on the current institutional system.

Homeschooling families also contribute to the tax base which funds education. In more enlightened countries i.e. New Zealand, home educators receive grants for taking the responsibility to home educate and relieving the educational system and the state of the financial burden.

The department of education will have to appoint officials who can process and assess the reports of the 52 000 children who are currently being home educated. This, once again, will place an exorbitant financial burden on the state.


The current homeschooling curriculum providers offer various school-leaving internationally accredited qualifications. i.e. Cambridge, SAT’s, GED, CAPS. IEB, etc. These providers are, by default, regulating the home education environment just like the NSC are regulating schools.

At present schoolgoing children can advance through grades without passing a single exam, since they can only fail once per phase. Enforcing stricter policies on home educated children through annual assessment as condition for a learner’s registration for home education would constitute discrimination towards a minority group.

3. Art. 3 (6).

(a) any parent who without just cause and after a written notice from the Head of Department, fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable of conviction or a fine or imprisonment for a period of six {months} years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.


As home educating parents sacrifice much i.e. an extra income, to do what is in the best interest of their children, they are now also liable to be imprisoned for six years for non-compliance with a draconian policy. Law abiding citizens will be criminalized as opposed to serious crimes of which the penalty is less than aforementioned. This section of the article will once again, drive home educating families into a covert position where they will act like a persecuted minority.


The current social, welfare and policing systems are adequate to prevent abuse of children and it should not become the task of the Department of Education.


Due to the lack of research by the DBE and proper consultation with the various effected parties, the BELA BILL, in its current form, will unfortunately, once again, be rejected by the home educating community. We therefore URGE the DBE to educate themselves with regards to home education and its various philosophies. The home educating community is driven by passionate parents who love their children immensely and have their best interests at heart. Herein is an opportunity for this passion to be channelled by government in the right direction, to benefit education in this country.


Victor Sabbe

CHE Chairman

CHE request for extention on BELA Bill

The Director General
Private Bag x895


For attention Adv. T. D. Rudman

Dear Adv Rudman

Request for extension on the closing date of 10 November, for comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill

Dear Adv Rudman

We are an autonomous Homeschooling Association called the Cape Home Educators (CHE) which represents Homeschooling interests in the Western Cape.

The Department of Education has the Association on their database as an interested and effected party.

In 2014 and 2015 we were invited by the DBE to take part in two 2-day sessions respectively, which included various presentations from the main representative Homeschooling associations, legal and other, in SA, together with related dynamic discussion and dialogue. These sessions were constructive and according to Dr Simelane and others, very informative and educational, but nevertheless too short to adequately address the various complex issues.

The CHE withdrew from the next phase which was the “working groups”, due to a foundational principle that the DBE and the association could not agree on, namely the DBE claim that the child ‘belongs to the state’, which contradicts the values enshrined in the Constitution, both local and internationally

This notion would inevitably be interpreted by parents as the state usurping the essential role of the family, whose responsibility it is to act in the best interest of their child. This state view is ominously reminiscent of totalitarian, Marxist philosophy, an ideology that globally, has repeatedly proven to fail. As Marx himself said, “in order to create a perfect socialist state, you have to destroy the family, substituting governmental authority for that of the parent’s, in the rearing of their children”. History is replete with failures ensuing from this systemically flawed philosophy.Regardless of the differences however, , we made it clear to the DBE that we were available and willing to work and dialogue with them on an ongoing basis, to find practical, workable solutions to these weighty issues which encapsulate our Constitution.

On 13 October 2017 the Department of Basic Education (DBE) published a draft bill with proposed amendments to the SA Schools Act on the Website of the South African Government for public comment. The draft bill, however, proposes changes that could severely restrict the freedom of parents to choose the education that is in the best interest of their children. The public is given until 10 November to submit their comments.

As an interested and effected party which represents Home-schooling parents and has been engaging constructively with the DBE, we were extremely disappointed that we were not officially informed or invited to make comment on the new bill, especially considering the expressed willingness of the DBE, during the talks of 2014 And 2015, to involve the representative Homeschool organizations in ongoing discussion and consultation . To our knowledge the DBE has been working on this document for at least 4 years since 2014, while we as educating parents, are expected to contribute comments within the unreasonable and unrealistic time-frame of one month only.

The primary reasons for the request are:

1) As an Association we need to consult with our members and get consensus. You would know that this is a time-consuming process, when done properly. If the DBE had notified us sooner, we could have initiated the process with sufficient time at our disposal, for proper, meaningful input and comment.

2) The Association needs to budget for and obtain adequate, expert legal advice in this matter.

3) This is a busy time of the year, and most families are engaged in exams, among other end of the year commitments, with little or no time at their disposal to apply themselves and comment on the proposed Bill, so exercising their democratic right.

4) Institutions and providers of the various curricula to Home-schoolers, whose input in this process would be equally invaluable, are also inundated and engaged in examination during this time.

As the ancient axiom goes, healthy families build strong communities and strong communities in turn build powerful nations. Due to the complex issues addressed in the Bill, issues directly attacking and threatening the sustainability of healthy families and responsible parenting, this Bill in its current form would undoubtedly contribute to the demise of our nation.

Due to the lack of research by the DBE and proper consultation with the various affected parties, we believe the process to be severely compromised, even in its inception, and would not accurately represent our great democracy.

We urgently request that the date for submissions be extended by at least six months, in order for the democratic process to be followed fairly and justly.

Please revert back to us within 7 days of receipt of this letter, in order for us to provide feedback to our members.

Kind Regards

Victor Sabbe
CHE Chairman

BELA Bill Request for Extension

Dear Educator and/or Member of the Pestalozzi Trust


I would like to thank all of you for your suggestions and pledges of support over the last few days. I also know that many of you are for good reason very eager to join the fight for our rights and your families. I also appreciate your patience, and allow me to assure you that we have been working feverishly in the background getting ready to respond.

SUMMARY: The Department of Basic Education “DBE” has published the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill for public comment (due by 10 November 2017). Section 2 on ‘compulsory school attendance’ and Section 25 in particular on ‘registration for home education’, would seriously restrict your freedom and add costs to you as a home educator. Given that it is now exam time followed by the festive season, that we were poorly consulted before, and that the proposals have such serious implications for home educators that we need to time to study, and consult with other and our legal representatives, we have written to the DBE to ask for an extension to comment period until the 15th February 2018. Please could you urgently write a letter preferably in your own words to Adv Rudman at to ask for more time and Bcc a copy to

Read our motivation for more time at
Please also read the full Bill at

We will be contacting you again next week to discuss how the bill will affect you.


The first battle in our fight is to obtain an extension to the closing date for the public comment on the draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill. On the 18th of October 2017, the Pestalozzi Trust presented the attached request to the office of Adv. Rudman at the Department of Basic Education. We spoke to Adv. Rudman, and he acknowledged receipt of the letter from the Pestalozzi Trust.

You will see from the request that home educators have been very significantly prejudiced by the lack of consultation.

We now need your support

We now need your support to ensure that this request is successful.


(a) Send a letter
You can do this in the following way:

1. You can copy, amend and sign a form letter that we have drafted and submit it to the DBE. Please only use this as your second option and if you really feel you can’t write a personalized letter. Find it attached as: Extension letter individuals form letter.docx [This is second best.]
2. Draw up your own letter. You can look at the template and the sample letter, and then use these as a basis to draw up your own request. Find them attached as: Extension Letter Individuals template.docx and Extension letter individuals sample.docx

We understand that everyone will not be comfortable with the second option, but drafting a personalized request will have the most impact. Please BCC the letter to, which is the e-mail address we have created for the BELABill campaign. This allows the Trust to keep a record of the actual requests for extension. Thank you!

As a member of the public you don’t need to sound like an organization or format your response like an organization, although it is best to use the same basic format.

(b) Call Adv Rudman to confirm receipt
Once you have submitted your request for an extension please call Adv. Rudman on (012) 3573856 to confirm they have received your request. Take the opportunity to ask for the extension again. Please keep calling until you get a response.

(c) Tweet
As soon as you have done that, please tweet about your experience using #BELAbill, #homeschoolfreedom, #nocommentduringexams

(d) Please also post to the Pestalozzi Trust Facebook page

We understand that some of you feel intimidated and do not want to leave details with the DBE. That is very understandable. You will see that we have raised this with the DBE. There is no reason for those asking for extensions of time to mention that you are a home schooler. So if you are concerned then don’t mention you are a home schooler.
If you do not want to be identified please call Adv. Rudman (turn off you caller ID) explain your fears. Then e-mail us at the Trust and tell us that you called. We want to keep track of how many people have called the DBE. This will strengthen our case.


Karin van Oostrum
(Executive Officer: Pestalozzi Trust)

Pestalozzi Trust (IT6377/98)
die regsfonds vir tuisonderwys en burgerlike onderwys
the legal defence fund for home and civil education

Posbus/ PO Box 12332 Queenswood Pretoria 0121 Tel: (012) 330 1337 Faks/ Fax: (011) 5075997
E-pos/ E-mail: Web: Bank: Pestalozzi Trust ABSA 4048112677 Hatfield 335545

[Attached: Extension Letter sent in by Pestalozzi Trust 2017.10.18, Extension letter individuals sample letter, Extension Letter Individuals template WRITE YOUR OWN, Extension letter individuals form letter]

Home School Expo 2016, a great day for all!

So the Home School Expo for 2016 finally came. We could not have asked for better weather on the day. Overall, the event was a resounding success! We thank everyone who came down on the day to support us. We also thank all the exhibitors for their excellent stands full of valuable information to the Home School Community in Cape Town and a far. We also thank the Josh Gen church for the venue, and all the CHE Committee members who put in many hours of hard work to make the day special.

This year we shook things up a little. We used an event’s organizer, Kragdag, to take care of planning and running the event. We also tried a new venue in Sunningdale on the West Coast. We have had great feedback and will aspire to build on our successes and keep improving for next year, making the Expo the de facto Home-schooling event of your yearly calendar.

Here are some photos giving you a glimpse of the day.