News24

Oudtshoorn school to fight eviction

2012-02-16 22:06

Johannesburg - Grootkraal Primary School near Oudtshoorn is to fight an application for the school to be evicted from the land it occupies, advocacy group Equal Education said on Thursday.

It said the farm school, which had been operating for over 80 years, faced eviction by the Kobot Trust because there were plans to turn the farm into a game reserve.

Last year, the school obtained a court interdict to prevent the Western Cape education department from closing or temporarily relocating it.

The interdict prohibited Education MEC Donald Grant from relocating the school during the 2011 school year.

Kobot proposed a rental increase, but the education department said it could not afford this and that it had made arrangements to move the school a distance of 17km, Equal Education said.

Kobot will go up against Grant and the school's governing body in a civil case in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on March 9.

Equal Education would join the case as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court.

As such, it would ask the court to refuse an eviction order, compel Grant to engage with the school community and would tell the court all possible avenues that could be explored to resolve the issue.

One possibility, Equal Education said, was that Grant could expropriate the land in the public interest, as provided for in Section 58 of the Schools Act.

According to its website, Equal Education is a community and membership-based organisation which started in Khayelitsha in 2008 and now has members active in most provinces.

Among other things, it advocated for quality and equality in the South African education system and engaged in evidence-based activism for improving the nation's schools, it said.