Recently Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke gave the middle class the proverbial middle finger as he laid waste to their future aspiration with a Constitutional court ruling.

While education is a human right that is often spoken about in the Torah, Bible and Quran, the quality and quantity is the devil in the detail.

In South Africa, because of Apartheid, colonialism and slavery, it is logical that the proverbial playing fields must be levelled so that those who suffered are given opportunity.

As a descendant of people who suffered slavery, colonialism and Apartheid it would be idiotic not to agree with the Constitutional judgement, accept for a few practical experiences.

As the Chairperson of a Primary School for nearly a decade, the ruling which removes the right of governing bodies to decide, who is accepted based on feeder area and so on, heralds ruin.

Where I am the chairman, we have a statistic of 15% of non-payment. We accept this as a duty towards the poor. This is typical for former Model C schools. At high schools the stats are higher. Thus when fees increase the 85% pay extra to sponsor the 15%.

Often the 85% who pay are also previously disadvantaged; as they are majority black and brown. Also the 15% who do not pay are also black and brown. The question which requires a response is why some people must pay while others do not, when the majority are also previously disadvantaged.

For examples, many years ago a lady had two kids at the school. She had a very high paying stable state job. She resigned to follow her dream of a fashion designer. A year later her dream did not work and she could not pay the school, ballet or aftercare fees. She refused to engage the school with practical solutions and assumed like some black and brown people that her kids are entitled because of Apartheid. Who must now pay for her expenses? Who told her to give up a stable state job? What has the 85% who must now subsidise her kids have to do with her dreams of fashion design?

Years ago I rejected a request because the mother did not complete the entire form.  She refused to fill in her income or the child father’s details. On my resolve the father eventually appeared. He was a senior manager at a parastatal and earned about R100 000 a month. This well-off couple anticipated that by hiding the father’s details they could avoid school fees. I have a hundred of such examples.

In due time, when schools cannot balance the books, the SGB teachers which include the library, art, ballet, and music teacher will be sacked. Slowly the class size will grow as money will be absent. Ultimately, only private and public schools will endure and mediocrity will be the norm. Study the situation in every African nation and witness what happened.

In the words of the wise when something belongs to everyone, in reality it belongs to no-one. People value what they work for. Have we learnt nothing from handing out free housing, electricity and so on?

Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. It is change, inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society today.

 

Ironically no sensible decision can be made without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be after the change.

 

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress