Cosatu branch demands the admission of 55 pupils to Hoërskool Overvaal

2018-01-25 17:22
A member of the public carrying a tyre during a past protest at Hoërskool Overvaal. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

A member of the public carrying a tyre during a past protest at Hoërskool Overvaal. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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There are a number of human rights at play at #HoërskoolOvervaal - SAHRC

2018-01-18 11:41

Following protests that turned ugly on Wednesday, crowds have gathered outside Hoërskool Overvaal again on Thursday to express their anger at the exclusion of learners from the Afrikaans-medium school. Watch. WATCH

Vereeniging – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Vereeniging on Thursday afternoon demanded that Hoërskool Overvaal admit all 55 pupils who were previously denied access to the school by a court order. 

"The school [is] using lack of capacity as an excuse and we are of the view that it was not a proper excuse, rather a camouflage that they don't want to admit learners that come from our African communities," Cosatu Vereeniging chairperson Khulu Mntambo said. 

On Thursday morning, hundreds of marchers from Cosatu, the ANC and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) gathered outside the main gate of the school.

Marchers sang songs and danced while they waited to hand over their memorandum to the school governing body (SGB).

READ: South Africans react to #Overvaal fallout: 'It's time to knuckle down'

Some held placards that read: "Boer se moer." A second placard read: "Remove racist SGB."

Later, pupils in uniform also joined the gathering.

Vuyani Mpofu of the Gauteng education department and SGB chairperson Hardus Visagie received the memorandum. 

The protest was sparked by a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that set aside the decision by the Gauteng department of education to admit 55 learners, to be taught in English, into Hoërskool Overvaal, an Afrikaans medium school.

Judge Bill Prinsloo found in favour of Hoërskool Overvaal, which submitted that the school did not have the capacity to admit the additional learners.

"We want to see English also used as a medium of instruction at this school. If you only use Afrikaans you will be disadvantaging some of our learners," Mntambo said. 

Cosatu also demanded that the school governing body review the language policy of the school.

Mntambo said they would return after seven days until the pupils were accepted at the school. 

"As much as we respect the court's decision, these children that were denied access reside right next to the school. They have been accepted at a high school 17 kilometres away and this is going to be a disadvantage," ANC regional member Sipho Nhlengethwe said.

READ: The police are brutal and biased - #HoërskoolOvervaal protesters

Nhlengethwa said the placement of the pupils so far from home would also damper their performance. 

"All we are saying is, Hoërskool Overvaal open your doors for these learners," Nhlengethwa said.

Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona said they met with all stakeholders during their meeting earlier this week. 

"The message was very clear, give the court process an opportunity to unfold. If you want to support us, come and support us," Mabona said. 

Mabona said they will announce when they are going to appeal the court’s decision. 

"The disruptions that are happening here, we condemn it in the strongest possible form. The school is closed and it was supposed to be functional today."

Read more on:    cosatu  |  johannesburg  |  education

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