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

Chapter 3 : Public Schools

16. Governance and professional management of public schools



1) Subject to this Act, the governance of every public school is vested in its governing body and it may perform only such functions and obligations and exercise only such rights as prescribed by the Act.


2) A governing body stands in a position of trust towards the school.


3) Subject to this Act and any applicable provincial law, the professional management of a public school must be undertaken by the principal under the authority of the Head of Department.


4) The Head of Department may close a public school in the case of an emergency if he or she believes on reasonable grounds that the lives of learners and staff are endangered or that there is a real danger of bodily injury to them or of damage to property.


5) When the Head of Department decides that the school should be reopened, he or she must inform the governing body and the principal of the date on which the school must reopen.


6) The principal or a person designated by the Head of Department must inform the educators and parents of the date contemplated in subsection (5).


7) If a new public school is provided in terms of section 12, the governance of that school vests in the Head of Department until a governing body has been constituted in terms of this Act.