ConCourt denies MEC school closure appeal

South Africa
The Mandela Park primary school in Mthatha received a major upgrade with state-of-the-art learning facilities, which was welcomed by the pupils with big smiles. Picture: AFP

Johannesburg - Teachers union Sadtu, in the Western Cape has welcomed the Constitutional Court’s refusal to grant MEC Donald Grant leave to appeal its decision to keep 17 schools open.

Grant intended on closing at least 20 schools by December but was stopped by the schools, their governing bodies and Sadtu through an urgent interdict to halt the closures.

His spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said Friday’s decision by the Constitutional Court was based on the fact that the Western Cape High Court was still going to review his decision to close the schools scheduled for May.

"[The MEC] looks forward to the review in May and is confident that the outcome of this process will be favourable," she said, adding that the closures were not about race or politics.

"It is about the better opportunities the learner will receive at his or her new school."

 

In October, Grant said he wanted to shut down the schools because of low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers. By the end of the year, three schools were successfully closed.

But the schools argued the closures where unlawful and unconstitutional.

 

On Friday, Sadtu said the money spent on legal proceedings could have been used to improve some schools.

"We don't know how he will explain to premier [Helen] Zille and the taxpayers that he has wasted their money. We are livid because this money could have been used to provide infrastructure to schools, more books, libraries, computer labs and reduce class sizes in poor working class communities."

-Sapa

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