Power relations are seldom one-sided. Those who exercise power are caught up in and subjected to its functions equally as those over whom power is exercised. Educational institutions as social structures with a mandate of sustaining learning represent the conceptualisation of power as concomitant to social relationships. In the enactment of power, discourses of text and talk are evident in directive speech acts, through text types and laws, regulations, instructions, institutional policies and everyday social contact. This article provides insight into the concept of social communication transfer in multicultural education settings in South Africa. Despite the transformation of South African society, education institutions in particular remain sites where powerlessness is rife and social communication discourses reinforce the notion of perpetual disempowerment. A Foucauldian discourse analysis was undertaken to analyse the purpose statements outlined in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS 2011). An analysis was conducted in which meanings conveyed in CAPS discourses were explored; an interpretation of the manifestation of power relations in texts and the implications thereof on the creation of a sustainable learning environment uncovered.