South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996)

Chapter 4 : Funding of Public Schools

39. School fees at public schools

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1)Subject to this Act, school fees may be determined and charged at a public school only if a resolution to do so has been adopted by a majority of parents attending the meeting referred to in section 38(2).


2)A resolution contemplated in subsection (1) must provide for –
a)the amount of fees to be charged;
b)equitable criteria and procedures for the total, partial or conditional exemption of parents who are unable to pay school fees; and
c)a school budget that reflects the estimated cumulative effect of-
i)the established trends of non-payment of school fees; and
ii)the total, partial or conditional exemptions granted to parents in terms of the regulations contemplated in subsection (4).


3)The governing body must implement a resolution adopted at the meeting contemplated in subsection (1).


4)The Minister must, after consultation with the Council of Education Ministers and the Minister of Finance, make regulations regarding the equitable criteria and procedures referred to in subsection (2)(b).


5)No public school may charge any registration, administration or other fee, except school fees as defined in section 1.


6)A public school may not charge a parent of a learner at that school different school fees based on curriculum or extramural curriculum within the same grade.


7)Despite subsection (1), the Minister must by notice in the Government Gazette annually determine the national quintiles for public schools or part of such quintiles which must be used by the Member of the Executive Council to identify schools that may not charge school fees.


8)The Minister may make a determination in terms of subsection (7) only if sufficient funding, not less than the no fee threshold, has been secured to fund learners at the schools affected by the determination.


9)The Member of the Executive Council must identify and draw a list of all the schools contemplated in subsection (7) within his or her province.


10)The Minister must-
a)consider the list of schools identified in terms of subsection (9);
b)compare the list with the determination contemplated in section 35(1); and
c)publish the list per province, in the Government Gazette if it complies with the determination.


11)The schools contemplated in subsection (7) may, despite that subsection, charge school fees if they receive less than the no fee threshold from the provincial education department.


12)The right of the school to charge school fees in terms of subsection (11) is limited to an amount equal to the sum obtained if the actual amount received from the State is deducted from the no fee threshold.


13)Subject to subsection (7), the Member of the Executive Council may, after consultation with the relevant governing bodies, annually by notice in the Provincial Gazette identify additional public schools within his or her province that, although they have not been included in the list of schools contemplated in subsection (10)(c), may not charge school fees.


14)The schools contemplated in subsection (13) must be the schools that have been ranked as the poorest schools in that province falling outside the list of schools contemplated in subsection (10)(c).


15)The Member of the Executive Council may act in terms of subsection (13) only if sufficient funding has been secured in the province to fund learners in the schools affected by such action.


16)For the purposes of subsection (15), "sufficient funding" means funding that is not less than the no fee threshold.