Western Cape schools interdict explained

2013-03-20 14:30
(Picture: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Shutterstock</a>)

(Picture: Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The reasons for granting an urgent interdict stopping the closure of 17 schools were handed down by the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Judge Elizabeth Baartman briefly entered court room two to explain that the interdict was granted in December and that the court was now providing reasons for the judgment.

The majority judgment by Baartman and Judge Siraj Desai was not read into the record.

The minority judgment by Judge Dennis Davis was also not read in.

The main reason for granting the interdict rested on the schools' argument that provincial Education MEC Donald Grant failed to meaningfully consult with them on the closures.

The applicants' lawyer Norman Arendse had argued that the Schools Act of SA required Grant to allow schools governing bodies and communities a "reasonable opportunity" to make submissions to him.

He said that failing to do so amounted to a "material irregularity, which vitiates the closure decisions".

Grant announced last year that 27 schools faced possible closure for various reasons.

Public hearings were advertised, held and attended by school governing bodies, parents and civil society.

Following these hearings, Grant announced in October that he had decided to only close 20 of the schools after careful consideration.

He said these schools either had low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers.

Desai found that the department's public hearings were conducted in a "peculiar manner", without two-way debates or any consultation processes.

"The hearings were patently farcical," Desai said in his judgment.

"They were merely platforms for the Western Cape education department to passively listen to the community and then report back to the MEC."

He said that public hearings implied at the very least a public dialogue, if not debate, with the elected representatives or delegated officials.

The court said public hearings assumed greater importance in this matter.

The right to education

The right to a basic education was accorded due importance in the Constitution and the affected schools, largely rural, had an "unfortunate legacy" which had to be prioritised if the imbalances of the past were to be redressed.

There were also a significant number of schools involved, and each school was located in a marginalised community.

"Viewed cumulatively, these factors warrant a proper dialogue with the affected communities to enable them to make an informed decision with regard to the future schooling of their children.

"The public dialogue must be a genuine attempt to reach an agreement, which best suits the interests of all and enhances the values enshrined in the Constitution."

The court thus found that the hearings did not meet this criteria and that Grant's conduct fell below the standard required by the Constitution and the relevant statutory provisions.

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

It was his finding that Grant had showed "commendable commitment to compel compliance with the requirements of the act as I have interpreted them".

His view of the act was that Grant had complied with the act in allowing representations, and that there was no legal basis for importing the concept of "meaningful engagement" into the wording of that section.

Decision to close the schools

Davis' opinion was that the act ultimately empowered Grant to make the final decision on school closures.

He said the applicants had failed to make out a case that a right to education had been compromised.

The interdict was against Grant, his department, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, and Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe.

It prohibited these parties from closing or merging the schools and moving pupils, teachers, and resources.

It also compelled the parties to take all reasonable steps to ensure necessary services were provided to the schools.

Eighteen schools originally contested the closure, but one of the institutions, Tonko Bosman in Somerset West, agreed to closure.

The main review application was likely to be heard in May.

- SAPA
Read more on:    norman arendse  |  siraj desai  |  dennis davis  |  donald grant  |  cape town  |  education
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Cape mob victim found alive

2014-11-20 22:30
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 ways to drive her wild!

Fill her nights with passion and drive her wild with the best sex ever!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Angela
10 things you should never say after sex
Guy code: Looking good for the ladies
SA surfer rides massive waves in Maui

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong desire to be unique, self sufficient, right and in control today. Your mind is fast today and you may have the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.