Court halts school closures

2012-12-21 13:40

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The Western Cape High Court has instructed provincial education MEC Donald Grant to re-instate leases and basic services to 17 of the 18 schools he intends to close.

Judge Siraj Desai granted the schools, their governing bodies and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union an urgent interdict halting the closures.

The MEC and his department were “interdicted from transferring or compelling to move any of the registered learners and educators ... save in those cases where the learners and educators voluntarily choose to do so”.

One of the 18 schools, Tonko Bosman Primary School in Somerset West, had agreed to the closure.

Desai said he would give reasons for his ruling later.

He indicated that his colleague, Judge Dennis Davis, did not agree with the order “in principle”, while Judge Elizabeth Baartman was in agreement.

A final review application on the school closures would be heard in the same court in the new year.

Grant maintained that low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers were lawful reasons for his decision.

Parents and teachers insisted the move was unlawful and would prejudice children.

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