Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi (seated) at the North Gauteng High Court attending a matter between the department and Hoerskool Overvaal on Friday. PHOTOs: Brenda Masilela/ANA

In The News South Africa

Afrikaans high school using language to bar 55 English-speaking kids – department

PRETORIA, January 12 – An advocate representing the Gauteng Department of Education has told the high court that capacity was not the reason Hoërskool Overvaal was refusing to admit 55 English-speaking learners.

Advocate Kumbirai Toma argued on Friday in the North Gauteng High Court that the Afrikaans medium school in Vereeniging was using the language to discriminate against the children, who were desperate to enrol before schools open next Wednesday.

It was the second day the department was doing battle in court against the Afrikaans school, which says the school is full and that the request to take in more children was made after the enrolment deadline. The Afrikaans school, which is seeking relief from the court, also said it doesn’t have resources to accommodate English speaking learners.

However, Toma told the court that the school admitted 20 more Afrikaans-speaking students after the department, which is trying to place thousands of children in school, instructed it to reserve places for the 55 children.

“If capacity was a problem, the school would not have spa experience for these 20 learners,” Toma said.

He said the school was built with 23 classrooms and only 17 are used for tuition, the rest have been converted to specialised centres without the department’s authority. The school had approval to convert two classrooms.

“In an essence capacity is not an issue, there are five classrooms that can be used to teach learners in English,” Toma said.

He further argued that the demographics of the Community has changed and it would only make sense for the school to adapt to society change.

“The admission criteria says learners who live within a 5 km radius from the school and wish to be admitted, they can do so despite the school’s language policy.”

Toma said the school “shouldn’t be bothered” about resources because that was the department’s reponsibility.

Earlier, Judge Bill Prinsloo indicated that he won’t be able to hand down judgement today and said he will be in a better position to do it on Monday at 2pm.

The matter continues.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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