Must non-South African children pay school fees too?

Yes. Parents and caregivers with refugee or asylum seeker status who are unable to afford school fees are eligible to apply for a fee exemption. Undocumented parents may not apply for such an exemption. Fee exemptions may be applied for at any public school, and the process is the same for non-South Africans as well as citizens. Parents and caregivers will need to submit documentation of their monthly salary and expenses.3 Despite the law, in practice it can be difficult for an applicant with refugee status to receive an exemption, and very difficult for one with asylum seeker status to receive one. However, a learner cannot be excluded from participation in any official school programmes due to non-payment of school fees by the parent.4 A school may also not retain a learner’s report because the parent cannot afford to pay school fees.