Unique case over school fees

2012-09-08 16:30

A Pretoria couple has finally forked out part of the R100 000 they owe to Pretoria Boys High School for their sons’ school fees.

The school was this week granted a court order allowing it to sell two properties belonging to the couple to settle the debt.

The couple, who may not be named to protect their children, allegedly told the school’s governing body to ask the government to pay the outstanding fees because the state had promised free education for all.

The couple’s lawyer, Sello Letsoalo, told City Press: “I advised my clients to pay the fees because what the father said about government promising free education has nothing to do with semiprivate schools.

“I told my client that if he doesn’t pay, he would lose his homes. I have never seen a case of this kind,” Letsoalo said.

The father, a businessman who says he is currently unemployed, has agreed to fork out R10 000 a month to prevent the properties being sold.
He disputed the school’s claims that he simply didn’t want to pay.

“I fell sick with lung and heart disease, and my business was liquidated, but the school didn’t care about this,” he told City Press.

Elizabeth Oosthuizen, the lawyer who represented the school, said fee-paying public schools were financially battling with parents refusing to pay for their children’s education.

In this case, she said, the school was forced to approach the court because the couple refused to furnish the school with their payslips to prove they could not afford the fees.

Oosthuizen said she advised the parents to apply for a rebate if they could not pay the R99 584 owed to Pretoria Boys High.

“But the father flatly refused. He told the school to ask government for the fees because the government promised public free education.

“Before this judgment we’d been trying to negotiate with the father, but he was rude and accused me of being racist.

“Most parents, like in this case, would rather hire a lawyer to represent them against the school’s claims instead of negotiating payments in instalments,” she said.

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