1. The purpose of this circular is to inform all WCED institutions and school governing bodies about the existence of legal injunctions preventing individuals and organisations from conducting political activities during school time. These injunctions are contained in section 33A of the South African Schools Act (SASA), 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), and section 46B of the Western Cape Provincial School Education, 1997 (Act 12 of 1997).

2. This circular repeals Circulars 10/2009 and 38 of 2009 in their entirety. It further amends paragraph 3.3 of Circular 76/1998 as follows: "No advertisements of a sexual or political nature, or promoting the use of liquor, tobacco or any related products are allowed. Any proposed advertisement should be made available for parents’ comments and objections for a period of 21 days, as different religious or cultural groupings have differing interpretations of, especially the wording, ‘sexual … nature’."

3. The prohibition in paragraph 2 applies equally to a commercial agreement on a billboard or hoarding.

4. Section 20(1) (g) states that the governing body of a school must "administer and control the school’s property, and buildings and grounds occupied by the school, including school hostels, but the exercise of this power must not in any manner interfere with or otherwise hamper the implementation of a decision made by the Member of the Executive Council or Head of Department in terms of any law or policy".

5. This provision of the Act places a responsibility on a governing body to ensure that the use of school property, including for commercial purposes, is done in a manner that complies with existing law and that it is consistent with the instructions of the Provincial Minister.

6. The SASA was amended in 2011 by the Basic Education Laws Amendment Act, 2011 (Act 15 of 2011), through the insertion of section 33A which states that, "No party-political activities may be conducted at a school during school time determined by the governing body of the school in terms of section 20(1) (f) of SASA".

7. The party-political activities contemplated in subsection (1) of section 33A of SASA include, but are not limited to

  1. campaigning;

  2. the conducting of rallies;

  3. the distribution of pamphlets and fliers; and

  4. the hanging or putting up of posters and banners.
8. A member of a political party may not, for the purposes of conducting party-political activities, encroach on school time.

9. Section 46B (5) of the Western Cape Provincial School Education Act, 1997 (Act 12 of 1997), defines ‘school time’ as "the times of the school day determined by the governing body under section 21A(1) (g), and any other time during which curricular or extra-curricular activities are taking place on the school premises".

10. The SASA further provides, in section 33A(4), that a school may not allow the display of material of a party-political nature on its premises, unless such party-political material is related to the curriculum at the school.

11. Section 46B(3) of the Western Cape Provincial School Education Act prohibits a governing body or principal from allowing a political party or a member of such a party to conduct party political activities at a school during school time.

12. Responsibilities of the school principals

Principals of public schools, as per section 12 (3) of the SASA, must always act in a manner that promotes and sustains constitutional values and the rule of law. In doing so they shall, among other things

  1. represent the Head of Department in the governing body when acting in an official capacity as contemplated in sections 23 (1) (b) and 24 (1) ( j) of the SASA;

  2. ensure the implementation of policy and legislation;

  3. inform the governing body about policy and legislation; and

  4. inform the Head of Education about any violations of the provisions of any legislation governing education.
13. Any permission granted by the principal or the school governing body for the conducting of any of the prohibited activities contained in this circular may not constitute good cause, or a valid excuse or defence in law, as such permission will be unlawful in terms of the applicable legislation.

14. Failure to ensure that these requirements are fulfilled could result in disciplinary measures being instituted against an offending principal.

15. Please bring the content of this circular to the attention of all staff and members of the governing body of the school.

DATE: 2013:11:22

Circular 76 of 1998  (size: 246 KB)
South African Schools Act (SASA), 1996 (Act 84 of 1996)  (size: 255 KB)
Western Cape Provincial School Education, 1997 (Act 12 of 1997)  (size: 61 KB)
Basic Education Laws Amendment Act, 2011 (Act 15 of 2011)  (size: 735 KB)