In a months time, thousands of parents will gather in school halls and classrooms to vote for their representatives on school governing bodies (SGBs). As in any good political battle, there will be jostling for positions and plenty of promises. Once the ballots have been tallied, these parent representatives will meet with teaching and non-teaching staff and learner representatives, often after a work day or on a Saturday. The meetings will take place at least once a term, to discuss, argue and debate issues ranging from the maintenance of buildings to exemption from school fees.
Buying a new home has just become a great deal cheaper. In February, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel announced that all homes under R500 000 will attract no transfer duty. This is a saving of up to R17 000. At the same time, the banks have become far more aggressive in offering better rates for home loans -- you just need to shop around to find the right package.
Initial impressions of the re-opening of schools in January suggest a huge improvement compared with previous years. Recurring problems include overcrowding, supply of textbooks and state-subsidised transport - but on a far smaller scale than has been experienced in the past.
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