School Enrolment: Important Information

school enrolment south africa

Do nonSouth African children have a right to education in South Africa? 

Section 29(1) of the Constitution grants everyone the right to education, and does not draw any distinction between learners based on their citizenship status. 

Non-South African children, including children who are undocumented, asylum seekers, and refugees may not be denied access to a basic education in South Africa. The right to a basic education for all, regardless of documentation, has been upheld by South African courts and this was confirmed in the Centre for Child Law case. 

What do I do if my child is denied placement because she or he is undocumented? 

If you are told that your child cannot enrol in school because your child does not have documentation in South Africa, or needs additional documentation, then you must give the school the Department of Education Circular 1 of 2020 

The Circular says that your child can be registered at a school after submission of any document showing their identity. This can be a clinic card, a birth certificate, or an affidavit signed at a police station by you as the child’s parent or caregiver.  

Is my child subject to paying more fees if he or she is accepted at a public school? 

Non-South African children are subject to the same school fees as South African children. Parents / caregivers with refugee or asylum seeker status, who cannot afford school fees, can apply for a fee exemption, which is applied for at the school. Applicants must submit proof of monthly salary and expenses. Additionally, a learner cannot be excluded from school due to non-payment of fees (note that this applies to public schools). A school may also not withhold a learner’s report because the parent cannot pay fees.  It is very important that if you cannot afford school fees that you apply for a fee exemption as early as possible as delay in this may result in fee exemption applications being denied. If you are not happy with the outcome of your fee exemption application, you may appeal against the decision. Parents and caregivers are advised to submit applications for learner placement at schools where they can afford to pay the school fees. Additionally, No Fee Schools are an option where parents and caregivers have no means to pay school fees. 

My child has not been accepted at any of the schools I applied to, what can I do? 

If your child is not enrolled in any of the schools because they are too full we advise that you contact your local district education office. The local district education department is better placed to assist with the placement of your child as they will have a list of available spaces in other schools. Additionally, you can reach out to other schools directly to check for possible openings as some students transfer at the start of the school year and this opens up space for unplaced learners. 

Where can I go for help if I am still looking for a school to enrol my child? 

The Western Cape Education Department has identified officials who are responsible for managing enrolments of learners in Western Cape schools. Parents are welcome to contact these officials if they have been unsuccessful in finding places for their children at schools in the education districts listed below. 

School Enrolment – District Contact Details 

Head Office 
Lance Abrahams 
Tel: 021 467 2364 
Tel: 021 467 2000 

Metro Central 
Brenda Robertson 
Tel: 021 514 6700 
Tel: 021 514 6793 /6925 

Metro East 
Eric Magodla 
Tel: 021 900 7173 
Tel: 021 900 7203 

Metro North 
Leon Rutgers 
Tel: 021 938 3000 

Tel: 021 938 3004 

Metro South 
Lynn Primo 
Tel: 021 370 2000 
Tel: 021 370 2035 


For other district offices contacts click on the following link for your local district education office. Note after you click on the link click on the arrow facing downwards to display the map of the area and the contact details.