Cape schools seek urgent interdict

2012-11-28 19:19

Cape Town - Eighteen schools in the Western Cape are seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the education department from closing their doors at the end of the year.

The schools and the SA Democratic Teachers' Union filed papers for the interim interdict in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The action was directed at provincial Education MEC Donald Grant and his department, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.

The application seeks to prevent Grant or the department from closing or merging the schools and moving pupils, teachers, and resources.

It also asks for subsidies and salaries to be paid in the interim and that the department be forbidden from interfering in school operations.

The urgent application will probably be heard next Friday.

Grant announced in October that, after careful consideration, 20 schools would be closed.

At the time, he said most were small farm schools in rural areas with low enrolment numbers and multi-grade classes. The rest were in urban areas and were largely plagued by a decline in pupil numbers.

Grant said pupils would be transferred to schools which offered better opportunities. Where necessary and possible, the department would help with school uniforms, transport, and feeding.

If a pupil was moving from a no-school fee school to one which charged fees, the department would cover the fees for 2013.

The department also would cover the difference in cases where fees were more expensive.

Grant said teachers would remain employed and their salaries would not change.

The department originally earmarked 27 schools for possible closure.

Public hearings were held to collect arguments for and against the closures, by school governing bodies, parents, and civil society.

Beauvallon Secondary School principal Henry Hockey, in an affidavit on behalf of all applicants, said the closures were unlawful and unconstitutional.

He said that Grant's reasons for the closures were "irrational".

Teachers had not been consulted about possible changes to their employment, and schools had received either insufficient placement plans or nothing at all, he said.

The schools alleged their electricity was being cut off and their furniture being moved before the closure date of 31 December.

The urgent interdict could put a halt to the process until the schools can apply for a review and setting aside Grant's decision.

Hockey said the department had failed to put a timeous and focused intervention in place for underperforming schools.

He said these schools lacked a holistic approach.

"First, a culture of teaching and learning has to be cultivated; second, the biggest challenge is the safety issue... third, the problem of drugs and gangsterism have never been effectively or adequately addressed by the department," he said in the affidavit.

Grant's spokesperson Bronagh Casey said she could not comment on the legal papers as they were received only on Wednesday morning.

"Therefore, the ministry is currently studying them with a view to taking legal advice. This is an extensive process that requires careful reading and consideration," she said.

"School closures are about creating better opportunities for these learners. It is about what is in our children’s best interests and how we can improve their life chances."

She said district officials were liaising with principals to make sure school inventories were complete. The department would move furniture and other assets only once schools were closed at the end of the term.

  • khaya.blaai.1 - 2012-11-28 19:38

    It is very interesting to note that when there is an article that exposes a weakness in the DA administration there are no comments from the usual critics who read news24. However, anything relating to ANC or ANC led provinces attracts criticism amazingly. Is this an indication of subtle racism or just mere party politics at play?

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-11-28 20:56

      Khaya, So what are the so called weaknesses?? All I can see is that these kids will be moved to better schools and they will be given school uniforms, food and transport. So what is so wrong with that? Should the kids rather stay in small multi grade classes where they won't get the level of education that they would get in a bigger school? But I guess you don't think that far hey?

      danita.renecle - 2012-11-29 07:50

      Please Google "WCED media releases" to get the full picture.

      Thabiso Davis Davis - 2012-11-29 07:57

      Khaya, well said: i need anc to rull for more than 50 yrs. then i can start complaining if there are no changes: as for now they must rull and continue to model their leaders. anc have people who can lead us better: we dont need DA whites to run a country, their forefathers and brothers has caused us lifes not money.

      fpstevens - 2012-11-29 10:01

      @Thabiso, Your ANC Edumacation is showing.

      byron.matthews.562 - 2012-11-29 11:20

      @khaya.blaai.1 - the DA fundamentalists together with their ANC fundamentalist counterparts are 2 peas in a pod. Both have their heads firmly in the African soil which is watered regularly by their leaders while the media fertilizes the soil. Greener grass will grow on their side only for the sheep to dine on.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-29 12:00

      @Thabiso, another 50 years to see if anything changes??? LMAO!! We will all be financially and economically ruined by then you muppet.

      george.frangs - 2012-11-29 13:01

      No, it's just that we really don't like the ANC.

  • godfrey.welman - 2012-11-28 19:48

    If only SADTU can be this vigilent in the EC were teachers do not receive their salaries and vacant teaching post's freezed without explination.

  • 75sibusisomhlongo - 2012-11-28 19:54

    wow there is only two comments here, i wonder how many would have been had it been an ANC led province.

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2012-11-28 23:31

      Actually the is is being done under the guidance of the Minister of Education, so it comes from a higher rung in the political ladder than just the Cape Town education MEC. What is the worth in commenting. The more the people are uneducated the easier it is to ask them to follow some leader blindly. Just stupid in general. Education should be first.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-29 12:01

      You do know the ANC have closed over 500 schools right?

  • sipho.dube.92 - 2012-11-28 20:13

    The DA is a new national party and their mission is very clear, black must not be educated as long as the white children are at school.

      Erna - 2012-11-28 21:18

      Why do you always presume the worst about the DA? Give them a chance - it's not as if the anc is doing such a good job. Maybe their reasons are genuine.

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-11-28 21:23

      Sipho, Did you not understand the report?? These kids would be moved to BETTER schools at NO EXTRA COST TO THE PARENTS!! Does your brain not understand this or are from one of the ANC governed provinces where education is totally in tatters??

      godfrey.welman - 2012-11-28 22:04

      Sipho...Why is the EC and Limpopo Education Dept. under Administration by National Govt. Do comment once you have the answer.

      megan.riddell.16 - 2012-11-29 09:25

      Shame Sipho, it must be sad living a life as blinded as you are. Funny how the Western Cape has produced higher matric passes than the rest of the country. Amazing how none of you remember the fact that since 1994 the ANC led government has shut down many more schools. It's remarkably weird that there seems to be a DA attack for shutting down schools, but in the Northern Cape about 25 schools will be shut down with another 14 to be shut down in Mpumalanga. A report released in 2009 showed that there were over 30 000 operating schools, but not long after that the number declined to about 25 000... Those closures were dictated by the ANC, primarily in provinces that are showing diabolical education results. It's so sad how none of you seem to understand that all this economic freedom you're banging about the bush, unemployment, etc is only ever going to be solved with education. It's even sadder that you don't seem to understand that the ANC know this, they also know that as soon as they start educating the masses people will start to realise that the ANC are nothing but theiving, incompetent and completely disgraceful leaders.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-29 12:01

      Sipho just went full retard.

  • wendy.webb.980 - 2012-11-28 20:58

    Interesting how they mention only the schools being closed, and not the new schools.

  • hezekiel.lefopane - 2012-11-28 21:16

    Its realy suprising how news 24 take sides when reporting in october they reported the following “ANC to fight Western Cape school closures View 111 comments Comment on this story 2012-10-17 09:34 Cape Town - The ANC in the Western Cape has vowed to take court action against the provincial education department over the closure of 20 schools, the Cape Argus reported on Wednesday” But reading the similar story today is like is ANC led government that want to close schools..not even a single mention of DA or madam who r the ones closing schools in the western cape....we l still vote for ANC

      godfrey.welman - 2012-11-28 22:08

      I hope your branch nominated Zuma. LOL No Confidance debate is coming.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-29 12:02

      The ANC have closed over 500 schools. If you had a brain of your own you would know this.. But clearly this week is not your week for a brain.

  • sipho.dube.92 - 2012-11-28 21:16

    Hezekiel Well said . . .

      bradley.lynn - 2012-11-28 22:01

      Is there perhaps the opportunity to debate this in a rational, responsible and respectful way without using terminology frought with rediculous inuendo. Our childrens education should not be politicised in any way shape or form. Our collective efforts should focus on their best interests and there's alone. I am afraid our children and as a result South Africa's future will suffer irreparable damage. The cycle of failure will continue.

  • marianne.jacobszkapp - 2012-11-28 22:27

    NO MAN!! So, the department will cover fees for 2013. And after that? What schools with better opportunities? Why not upgrade existing schools that serve children in the area? Smaller rural and multigrade schools are not necessarily the worst thing that can happen, larger schools in urban areas can swallow up a child. We all know that gangsterism and drugs is rife in a great many inner schools, so are these children going to be taken from the frying pan into the fire? The questions to be asked is who will cover their school fees after 2013, and which schools will they be attending?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-29 12:04

      marianne, the DA have built 80 NEW schools and MANY have already been upgraded. There is no point in upgrading a school that has dwindling numbers. It would make much better sense to move the little remaining to better schools with better facilities and better opportunities. It really is about applying your mind and getting both sides of the story.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-29 12:05

      The issue of school fees, closures and transport has been hashed out on TV, radio and the media. Community consultations have taken place. Have you been asleep for the last year??

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-11-28 22:31

    Always one crisis after another with the department of education.

  • heidi.pierce.12 - 2012-11-29 06:25

    Why is nobody fighting against the closure of KZN schools?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-29 12:06

      50 were closed recently in Gauteng.

      megan.riddell.16 - 2012-11-29 13:53

      Because when it's the ANC's decision it's the right one, but when the DA make the same decision (usually for better reasons) it's always wrong... That's all it comes down to. The ANC have achieved what they wanted, a completely uneducated country.

  • ian.mpofu1 - 2012-12-07 19:28

    I've done a bit of research on school marketing and the stats are actually shocking. in the last decade,more than 2000 public schools have closed down due to poor infrastructure,poor educator performance as well as the migration of learners from poorly resourced schools to the former gropu C schools.We need ABS the postmodern era of education it is clindestine that a contry like SA could have communities that are without their own schools. ANC or DA the education system is compounded with problems. According to a 2011 ANA report, from 144 countries that were studied,SA's education system was ranked 141. Poor by all standards.

  • ian.mpofu1 - 2012-12-07 19:29

    unbelievable system is bleeding to death while politicians grab each other's throats for positions.

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