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

Chapter 1 : Definitions and Application of Act

1. Definitions



1) In this Act, unless the context indicates otherwise -



means the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996);


"Council of Education Ministers"

means the Council of Education Ministers established by the National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No.  27 of 1996);


'dangerous object'


a) any explosive material or device;
b) any firearm or gas weapon;
c) (any article, object or instrument that may be employed to cause bodily harm to a person or damage to property, or to render a person temporarily paralysed or unconscious; or
d) any object that the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, declare to be a dangerous object for the purpose of this Act.


"education department"

means the department established by section 7(2) of the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 103 of 1994), which is responsible for education in a province;



means any person, excluding a person who is appointed to exclusively perform extracurricular duties, who teaches, educates or trains other persons or who provides professional educational services, including professional therapy and education psychological services, at a school;


"governing body"

means a governing body contemplated in section 16(1);



means that part of an educational programme which a learner may complete in one school year, or any other education programme which the Member of the Executive Council may deem to be equivalent thereto;


"Head of Department"

means the head of an education department;


"illegal drug"


a) any unlawful substance that has a psychological or physiological effect; or
b) any substance having such effect that is possessed unlawfully;


"independent school"

means a school registered or deemed to be registered in terms of section 46;



means any person receiving education or obliged to receive education in terms of this Act;



means any financial obligation based on agreement, which obligation renders a school liable for making payment, in one or more instalments, in favour of any person, but does not include the payment of staff appointed by the governing body in terms of section 20(4) or (5);


"member of staff"

means a person employed at a school;


"Member of the Executive Council"

means the Member of the Executive Council of a province who is responsible for education in that province;



means the Minister of Basic Education;


"no fee threshold"

means the level of funding per learner contemplated in the norms and standards for school funding applicable to a public school which enables the Minister to declare a school a no fee school in terms of this Act;


"norms and standards for school funding"

means the national norms and standards for the funding of schools determined by the Minister in terms of section 35;



means an employee of an education department appointed in terms of the Educators Employment Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 138 of 1994), or the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 103 of 1994);



means -

a) the biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian of a learner;
b) the person legally entitled to custody of a learner; or
c) the person who undertakes to fulfil the obligations of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) towards the learner's education at school;



means an educator appointed or acting as the head of a school;



means a province established by section 124 of the Constitution;


"provincial legislature"

means a provincial legislature contemplated in section 125 of the Constitution;


"public school"

means a school contemplated in Chapter 3;


"Registrar of deeds"

means the registrar of deeds referred to in section 2 of the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act No. 47 of 1937);



means a public school or an independent school which enrols learners in one or more grades from grade R (Reception) to twelve;


"school activity"

means any official educational, cultural, recreational or social activity of the school within or outside the school premises;


"school fees"

means school fees contemplated in section 39 and includes any form of contribution of a monetary nature made or paid by a person or body in relation to the attendance or participation by a learner in any programme of a public school;


"this Act"

means this Act and all regulations promulgated under this Act.