Article – Can a public school have more than one bank account?

Section 37(3) of the South African Schools Act states that the governing body of a public school must open and maintain one banking account, but may, with the approval of the Member of the Executive Council, invest surplus money in another account.

This requirement can be interpreted as follows:

  • The school can only have one banking account.
  • The school can only have another banking account if the account is for the purpose of investing surplus funds.
  • The opening of the additional banking account for investing surplus funds must be approved by the Member of the Executive Council.
  • Having more than one banking accounts will result in a non-compliance with the South African Schools Act.

Based on the above interpretation, it appears that a school cannot even have separate banking accounts for activities such as Grade R, hostels, trips and tuck-shops.

However the practice of having multiple banking accounts in public schools is widespread and auditors and examiners do not seem to be reporting this matter to the relevant authorities when they pick it up.