The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has set aside the decision by the Gauteng department of education to admit 55 English speaking pupils to Hoërskool Overvaal, an Afrikaans medium of instruction of language.
Judge Bill Prinsloo has found in favour of Hoërskool Overvaal in that the school does not have the capacity to admit the additional learners.
“The instruction by the district director of Sedibeng East, to place [more] learners for enrolment is set aside,” said Prinsloo.
“I find that on the probabilities that the school has no capacity to receive the 55 English learners, let alone on such short notice and convert to a dual-medium school.”
He said the district director and perhaps head of department and MEC Panyaza Lesufi acted in conflict with the constitutional principal of legality, and that the decision to admit the additional pupils was unlawful.
The school’s governing body brought an urgent application before the court in a bid to overturn Lesufi’s decision.
The school claimed to be at capacity, with 621 pupils, but the Gauteng department of education argued that it could take 840.
The school argued that instructions from the education department did not negate its own language policy.
After judgment was handed down, parents of the affected pupils, who had been attending the court case, started shouting that they would shut down and burn the school.
Addressing them in the court room, Lesufi said this was a short-lived victory for the school and vowed to appeal the judgment.