Suspended Schweizer-Reneke teacher heads to the Labour Court

The suspension of Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke teacher Elana Barkhuizen is expected to take centre stage in the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Thursday when it hears an urgent application she lodged.

The school dominated headlines two weeks ago when a photograph of Grade R pupils went viral on social media. It showed black pupils sitting separately from white pupils.

Barkhuizen was then suspended, pending an investigation.

Read: 3 lessons from that Schweizer-Reneke photo

However, with the assistance of trade union Solidarity, she filed court papers alleging that her suspension was factually flawed.

In the court papers, she argued that she should not have been suspended because she was not the teacher who separated the pupils, adding that she was never given an opportunity to correct the misinformation. 

She also contended that she was not informed of the intention to have her suspended, and was not provided with reasons.

No opposition to the application

North West Education MEC Sello Lehari, the department and the school governing body (SGB) have decided to no longer oppose the application.

Lehari said on Wednesday that he had withdrawn his initial notice to oppose the application and that he would abide by the court's judgment instead.

In an explanatory affidavit, which News24 has seen, Lehari explained his office's involvement in the matter.

He stated that since the North West Provincial Department of Education was placed under administration in terms of Section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution, the powers of his office were transferred to the Minister of Education.

Read more: Tackling the resilience of racism in 2019

"This will explain why no inference could be drawn by anyone with full knowledge of such known facts to aver that my office unduly influenced the principal or the governing body of the [school] to suspend [Barkhuizen]," Lehari said in the affidavit.

He further denied labelling Barkhuizen racist.

"All other reports made by a third party remain hearsay in so far as they relate to me and I do not admit them as a true reflection of what I expressed," the affidavit reads.

FEET UP: Watch these fun to funny clips of Channing Tatum twerking, Santa stumbling off a boat; and Zuma's Twitter debut

'Ho, ho, whoooa!' - Here is a selection of some of our best watched local and international videos to lift your mood.'

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 4088 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 3778 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 404 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.08
-0.9%
GBP/ZAR
19.70
-0.2%
EUR/ZAR
17.12
-0.2%
AUD/ZAR
11.05
-0.1%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
-0.6%
Gold
1,832.66
+1.0%
Silver
27.39
+0.3%
Palladium
2,926.54
-0.8%
Platinum
1,254.00
-0.1%
Brent Crude
68.09
-1.3%
Top 40
62,573
+1.4%
All Share
68,520
+1.4%
Resource 10
71,474
+2.1%
Industrial 25
86,856
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,711
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo