Sants teacher colleges allege Education Dept has a ‘vendetta’ against them

2014-01-22 00:00

THE Department of Education will be in court again this Friday over what Sants Private Higher Education Institution alleges is a malicious vendetta against it by the department.

The case came before Judge Pete Koen in the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday and was adjourned until Friday.

Sants says in court papers it also plans to launch contempt of court proceedings against the DOE for ignoring last year’s court order that it must pay R36 million in respect of bursaries promised to students enrolled at Sants.

In the present case, Sants is seeking an order to stop the DOE from giving any information to students that “contradicts” the terms of the court order already issued and from directing any of the students to study at other institutions. Sants also wants the high court to order the DOE to send an SMS to each of the students concerned. The SMS should inform them that they are entitled to undertake their degrees at Sants, and assure them that the DOE will honour its bursary agreement with them if they choose to continue studying at Sants.

Sants is an accredited and registered institution offering teacher education qualifications.

The managing director of Sants, Jacobus Bernard, said in an affidavit that because of the failure by the DOE to pay the students’ bursaries in terms of a court order granted on November 26, 2013, Sants had been forced to initiate execution proceedings against the department’s property.

This resulted in 708 of the department’s vehicles being attached by the sheriff.

Sants now wants to interdict the department from causing it further harm by making “false statements” to the students concerning their rights under their bursary agreements with the DOE.

He told the court he had received information about meetings held by the DOE at which students were told that the department was no longer going to continue to pay Sants to train the students and insisted that if the students continued to study at Sants the department would not be liable for fees.

Students were instead advised to study at other institutions such as the universities of KZN or Zululand, Durban University of Technology or Unisa.

“The department’s vendetta against the applicant [Sants] is driven by malice, which is evident from the fact the department will pay whatever it costs with any of the other institutions [the figure of R80 000 was mentioned], so long as the students don’t study with the applicant,” said Bernard.

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