Overvaal school wins first round in legal tussle with Gauteng department of education

11 January 2018 - 12:53 By Sipho Mabena
Gauteng Education Spokesperson, Steve Mabona is pictured at the North Gauteng High court in Pretoria where the School Governing Body of Hoerskool Overvaal launched an application to overturn a decision made by the Department of Education to enrol 55 additional students who were allegedly denied because Afrikaans wasn't their first language. The school claims they don’t have capacity to accommodate the students. File Photo
Gauteng Education Spokesperson, Steve Mabona is pictured at the North Gauteng High court in Pretoria where the School Governing Body of Hoerskool Overvaal launched an application to overturn a decision made by the Department of Education to enrol 55 additional students who were allegedly denied because Afrikaans wasn't their first language. The school claims they don’t have capacity to accommodate the students. File Photo
Image: Alaister Russell

The Gauteng department of education has failed to convince the High court in Pretoria to throw out‚ for lack of urgency‚ the Hoerskool Overvaal’s legal bid to prevent 55 learners from attending this school.

The department had argued that the school would suffer no harm if the 55 Grade 8 learners were admitted‚ saying the children posed no threat to the school governing body‚ which brought the application on behalf of the Afrikaans medium school.

Kumbirai Toma‚ the department’s advocate‚ further argued‚ albeit in vain‚ that the department had put necessary resources‚ English educators and learning material in place to ensure that the learners were not a burden to the school come Wednesday‚ January 17. “Everything that the learners need has been provided . . . it is a sad scenario that the kids are denied access to the school‚” he said.

Toma said the school governing body also failed to give proper reasons as to why the review application could not be heard in a normal court.

But Judge Bill Prinsloo said Toma failed to make a case for lack of urgency‚ ruling that the matter will be heard in an urgent court.

Earlier‚ the school's lawyer‚ Advocate Albert Lamey‚ argued in reply that it was in the interest of the 55 learners that the matter be heard in an urgent court.

“Any delay is to their detriment‚” he said.

The Afrikaans medium school in Vereeniging approached the court to review and set aside the department’s instruction that the school admit the 55 learners despite the school’s insistence that it had no capacity to do so.

Judge Prinsloo indicated he wants to deliver judgment on the matter without delay‚ possibly by Friday. 

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