Gauteng Schools Threaten Legal Action Against Parents For School Fees


Some Gauteng Schools have given parents an ultimatum. They say they must pay their school fees or they'll be handed over to lawyers.


Parents in Gauteng may find themselves subjected to legal action for failure to pay their children's school fees. This comes after some schools in the province told parents that they must pay their school fees or be taken to court.

Some have said that they are struggling to make ends meet due to job losses.

The spokesperson for Gauteng's Department of Education, Steve Mabona, says that these measures are the result of agreements between parents and school governing bodies.

The School Governing Body has the responsibility to govern the school, so they are given that power by parents. So whatever decision they make at the school level would have been adopted or parents would have said they agree with it.

Mabona adds that there's no school governing body that would introduce any regulation at a school without consulting the parents. According to him, the school would have come to an agreement with parents regarding what measures to employ should they be unable to pay the school.

The department's spokesperson also added that the involvement of legal entities in efforts to recover outstanding fees is usually a last resort measure on the part of the schools.

Oftentimes we receive complaints from parents and when we interact with them we find that they have not made any inroads to interact with the school and make sure that they have made an arrangement of some sort to make those payments. So the school will in many cases resort to those measures. 

Mabona emphasizes that it is important for parents to inform the school of the circumstances which lead to their inability to pay their school fees.

A representative of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, Matakanye Matakanye, says that although parents are legally mandated to pay for their children's school fees, the current socio-economic conditions in which many of them find themselves legally allows them to apply for exemptions.

This, therefore, means that due to the advent of the pandemic, a lot of parents lost their jobs so there is no money. So the parents have got the right to apply for exemptions. An exemption is determined in three ways so they will see which one that parent falls under. So I don't think taking the parents to court will work.

Matakanye also says that they have had consultations with the Department of Basic Education on the matter of retaining teachers from fee-paying schools who rely on funds from School Governing Bodies for their salaries.

His organisation is of the view that the department should consider employing measures to give parents lee-way to assist parents in this regard.

However, the education department remains adamant that even the exemptions are part of the mechanisms that they have introduced to assist parents and that the process must be evidence-driven, meaning that parents must inform their respective schools of their reasons for being unable to make payments.  


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