- ANC Western Cape education spokesperson Khalid Sayed said he believed there was no political will to provide quality education to poor and vulnerable communities in the province.
- The party and Parents for Equal Education SA (PEESA) have filed an application in the Constitutional Court to hold the education department accountable for the number of unplaced pupils
- Education MEC Debbie Schäfer has rejected their claims.
The ANC in the Western Cape and Parents for Equal Education SA (PEESA) have launched a court bid to compel the Western Cape education department to address the number of unplaced pupils in the province.
ANC Western Cape education spokesperson Khalid Sayed said at a press briefing on Wednesday there appeared to be no political will to provide quality education to poor and vulnerable communities in the province.
"In the Western Cape, we are faced with unplaced learners year after year. This situation lasts well into the middle of the academic year.
"Some learners don't even make it to the classroom for a whole academic year. Others get placed very late into the year and have missed out on much academic work."
Sayed added many activists have raised their concerns about this issue.
"Many an activist has spoken up against this injustice while the department and MEC Debbie Schäfer have shrugged their shoulders, and our learners suffer."
The ANC and PEESA have filed an application in the Constitutional Court, stating Schäfer had failed to comply with her statutory and constitutional duties to ensure the availability of sufficient places at schools for every child in the Western Cape.
They also want her to pay 30% of the costs of the application from her own pocket.
In the notice of motion, the applicants stated they wanted the department to file an affidavit on a bi-monthly basis regarding the steps taken to ensure sufficient places were available for pupils at public schools by the commencement of the 2022 academic year.
PEESA founder Vanessa le Roux said they decided to approach the court for a series of structural interdicts to compel the department to address the serious psycho-social consequences on unplaced pupils.
"We have mobilised parents under this umbrella, and we took a decision to mount a legal fight for the right to basic education for these children, as well as for their constitutional right to be educated in a safe and healthy environment, a right that must never be attached to budget constraints, or permission whether they want to move to another province," she added.
Schäfer, however, rejected all claims made by both Sayed and Le Roux.
"I have never heard of PEESA. I have no knowledge of this case, have not received papers, and the claims made in their press statement are false," she said.
In March, the ANC in the Western Cape and various unions announced they planned to lodge a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission and Public Protector to hold the department accountable for the number of unplaced pupils.