Hoërskool Overvaal can accommodate 55 English-speaking pupils, says education dept

2018-02-05 22:28
A member of the public is seen carrying a tire during the Hoërskool Overvaal protest on Wednesday morning. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

A member of the public is seen carrying a tire during the Hoërskool Overvaal protest on Wednesday morning. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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COSATU chant 'shoot the boer', Afriforum blame Lesufi in latest #HoërskoolOvervaal protest

2018-01-25 16:04

Protests continued outside Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging on Thursday, this time by members of Cosatu and affiliates from Sadtu, the ANC and SACP. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg – The Gauteng Department of Education filed appeal papers in the Constitutional Court on Monday in the Hoërskool Overvaal matter, saying it believes the school has the capacity to accommodate 55 English-speaking pupils.

"The High Court judgment has led to sustained public controversy," the department's head, Edward Mosuwe said in the court papers.

In January, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside a decision by the department to admit 55 pupils to be taught in English at Hoërskool Overvaal, an Afrikaans medium school. The court found that the school didn't have the capacity to admit additional pupils.

READ: Cosatu branch demands the admission of 55 pupils to Hoërskool Overvaal

But in papers filed on Monday, Mosuwe argued that the school had the capacity and, beyond that, that the 55 pupils had their own education disrupted because of the decision of the North Gauteng High Court.

"The 55 [pupils] who were at the centre of the dispute, but not heard in the High Court, have also had their education disrupted," he said. 

Mosuwe argued that there were demonstration, counter-demonstrations and racially-charged confrontations at the schools, after the judgment.

No need for 'urgent hearing'

Protesters were injured while property was damaged and teaching and learning at the school were significantly disrupted, he said.

The decision by the High Court saw the EFF, ANC, and the South African Democratic Teachers' Union stage protests outside of the school. 

He said two days before the school year began, the court told the pupils that they could not go to the school after they had already been admitted.

"The department needs to bring calm to the situation at Hoërskool Overvaal. It also seeks to avoid a situation where the unfortunate incidents around the admission process at Hoërskool Overvaal are repeated in the 2019 process," he said.

OPINION: Overvaal: Where is the moral leadership?

He also argued the High Court misdirected itself by entertaining the school governing body's urgent application for final relief when "there was no reason to seek final relief in an urgent hearing".

"Any urgency faced by the governing body was entirely of its own making, given that it had known since July 2017 that the department was placing English [pupils] at its school."

Mosuwe argued that the court erred in not insisting on the participation of the 55 pupils.

He added that the court "failed in its obligation to give paramount importance to the best interests of the 55 pupils in deciding to hear the matter without insisting on their joinder so that they had an opportunity to participate in the proceedings to protect their interests".

Read more on:    hoërskool overvaal  |  johannesburg  |  education

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