The Department of Basic Education warned schools that it is illegal to ask parents to pay a registration fee before enrollment and urged parents not to pay. National Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department has been overwhelmed with calls from parents reporting schools across South Africa.
The South African public school calendar is due to start on Monday, February 15, a delayed opening as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents whose children could not be registered because they could not afford an upfront payment have turned to the department for help, according to SABC News.
Mhlanga condemned the practice as unlawful and urged parents to report schools that demand a fee before accepting pupils.
“This is a warning from the Department of Basic Education to advise schools to refrain from this particular activity as it generates unnecessary tension between parents and schools,” said Mhlanga.
He added that the unlawful system adopted by some creates unnecessary tension between parents and schools and places pressure on parents who think they need to pay to have their children admitted, which is not true.