MEC wants Sadtu to pay for schools

2013-06-11 19:23

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Cape Town - The Western Cape wants teacher union Sadtu to pay the legal costs should 17 schools in the province lose their legal battle to stay open.

This emerged in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, where the 17 School Governing Bodies (SGBs) were asking for a review of Education MEC Donald Grant's move to close the schools.

Eduard Fagan, for Grant and his department, told the court the matter was clearly politically motivated.

He cited the presence of ANC Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman during proceedings on Monday as proof of this.

The ANC-affiliated SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) is also an applicant in the matter.

Fagan said the province would not be seeking costs from the SGBs, but Sadtu should be made to pay costs because of the political nature of the case.

Fagan on Tuesday concluded his arguments in court, insisting the process leading to the decision to close the schools was legally and procedurally fair.

He said the Schools Act did not compel his client to consult affected communities.

The provincial department did, however, give SGBs an opportunity, during public hearings last year, to make representations to Grant on his intention to close schools.

Fagan argued Grant supplied the schools with sufficient reasons for their closure before they were asked to make representations.

Empowered by the Act

The Western Cape education department is in agreement with a minority judgment by Judge Dennis Davis last year.

In the minority judgment, Davis said after "anxious reflection" he would only have made an order in the case of two schools.

He found Grant had complied with the Schools Act in allowing representations, and that there was no legal basis for importing the concept "meaningful engagement" into the wording of that section.

The act ultimately empowered Grant to make the final decision on school closures, he said.

His two colleagues, Siraj Desai and Elizabeth Baartman, did not agree and granted the schools an urgent interdict halting the closures, pending the outcome of a final review process.

This final review process is now underway.

- SAPA

Read more on:    anc  |  sadtu  |  dennis davis  |  donald grant  |  marius fransman  |  cape town  |  education
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