FF Plus’s bill to prohibit protest actions at schools is of vital importance

Opinion by FF Plus

FF Plus’s bill to prohibit protest actions at schools is of vital importance
FF Plus’s bill to prohibit protest actions at schools is of vital importance

The violent protest actions in front of Schweizer-Reneke Primary School and Stilfontein High School as well as acts of trespassing and even attacks on one of the schools, by throwing bricks, is an indication that attacks on schools are on the rise and that legislation is urgently needed to declare such actions illegal and criminal.

That is why the FF Plus tabled a private member’s bill last year to amend the Regulation of Gatherings Act to make any march or protest action that takes place within 500m from a school or any other institution where minors are present illegal.

According to media reports, the North West MEC for Education, Sello Lehari, created an extremely dangerous situation for learners in Schweizer-Reneke by apparently saying that rioters may not be prevented from entering the school grounds.

Allegedly even the remote control with which access to the school is controlled was confiscated by the police. The potential consequences of these actions are so serious that a criminal complaint must be lodged against the relevant police officers and the MEC in terms of the National Schools Act, which prohibits political activities on school grounds.

As soon as Parliament convenes this year, the FF Plus’s bill will be discussed by Parliament Police Committee. The leader of the FF Plus, Dr Pieter Groenewald will join Adv Anton Alberts, chairperson of the FF Plus, to advocate why the bill should be passed as legislation.

Minors may not be directly exposed to political and social actions as well as protest actions of any kind. The Constitution makes it very clear that minors deserve special protection and that is why this bill is of cardinal importance as it offers yet another line of defence in the protection of minors.

Our children and youth deserve better than the violence currently playing out at numerous schools. They may never be used as political pawns. Tabling the bill forms part of the FF Plus’s Fight Back campaign that aims to ensure stability and accountability in South Africa.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Adv Anton Alberts on FF Plus

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