Leader of the DA in the Western Cape
The Democratic Alliance received a tip off that the ANC has been conducting political campaigning in two public schools in Wittewater, Piketberg ahead of an important by-election scheduled to take place there this week.
The ANC’s councillor from Berg River, Sanet Smit, accompanied by other ANC activists visited two schools – Goedverwacht and Carl Schreve Moravia School – and distributed food and ANC t-shirts.
When the DA arrived at the first school, Goedverwacht, the ANC were just leaving. The headmaster of the school told us that the ANC had been distributing t-shirts and food to the pupils and staff.
The DA then went to the second school, Carl Schreve Moravia, and found the ANC councillor doing the same thing. It was very clear that the ANC were promoting themselves for the upcoming by-elections. The ANC activists then threatened the DA staff member and told him to leave and not “interfere with their campaign”.
This blatant political campaigning in public schools is clearly illegal. In 2010, the Western Cape Government made a new amendment to the Western Cape Provincial School Education Act (46B) which explicitly states that school time shall be used for educational activities only and that no person, or party, may conduct political activities on the school premises during school time.
This includes campaigning, conducting a rally or march, distributing party political material and the hanging of posters.
The amendment to the provincial act also clearly states that a governing body or school principal may not allow a political party or a member of such a party to conduct political party activities at a school during school time.
The DA in the Western Cape views this as a very serious matter. We have already raised this matter with the Western Cape Education Department, and they have confirmed to us that they are investigating it. Specifically, they need to determine whether the respective principals were in breach of the Act in allowing the ANC to conduct campaigns on the school grounds during schools hours.
We will also raise this matter at the Provincial Party Liaison Committee of the Independent Electoral Commission.
The ANC in the Western Cape cannot be allowed to abuse public schools for their own political ends. Schools should be politics-free zones, and school hours should be preciously guarded for the education of learners – not for the cheap political point scoring of the ANC.