WCape school closure case heard

By Drum Digital
20 March 2013

The Western Cape High Court will hear a review application on Wednesday on whether 18 schools in the province will be closed permanently.

On December 21, Judge Siraj Desai granted the schools, their governing bodies and the SA Democratic Teachers' Union an urgent interdict halting the closures.

Desai instructed provincial education MEC Donald Grant to re-instate leases and basic services to 17 of 18 schools he had intended closing.

Grant and his department were "interdicted from transferring or compelling to move any of the registered learners and educators... save in those cases where the learners and educators voluntarily choose to do so".

Grant maintained that low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers were lawful reasons for his decision. Parents and teachers insisted the move was unlawful and would prejudice children.

Desai's announcement came after Western Cape premier Helen Zille made a last-minute undertaking to keep four of the schools open, pending the outcome of a final review.

Desai questioned the late timing of the premier's announcement, branding it "absolute gamesmanship".

-by Sapa

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