Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is pushing ahead with his court battle to force an Afrikaans-medium school to teach English-speaking pupils, this time in the Constitutional Court.
This is despite education minister Angie Motshekga publicly discouraging the MEC’s decision to appeal a Pretoria High Court ruling pronouncing that the school did not have the capacity to take in 55 English-speaking pupils who had applied to the school.
The court also ruled that forcing the school to change its language policy was unlawful.
“Our legal team met with the national department of basic education yesterday to look at the Overvaal case,” Lesufi told journalists yesterday.
“We have taken a decision to approach the Constitutional Court directly. We are also filing our appeal this Friday. We believe we have good grounds to appeal this matter.”
He said his department had convinced political and community organisations to “cool off” after weeks of violent clashes at the school, and to stay away from the premises to allow discussions to take place between all parties.
“We have resolved that all parties be open-minded and will not interfere with the legal process, but will continue to engage.”
A negotiation process between the school administration, parents and the department was running in tandem with the litigation process, Lesufi said yesterday.
He claimed during his media briefing he was taking the matter to the Constitutional Court with the support of the national department.
However, just the day before, Motshekga’s spokesperson, Troy Martens, said the minister felt the matter should be handled out of court and the judgment respected.
“If you have a look at the judgment by Prinsloo, he indicated that this was mainly an administrative issue and not about language,” said Martens.