He will contest a court ruling that favoured the Federation of Governing bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas). Lesufi said no child could be denied quality education “purely because the school uses a different language or she is speaking a different language”.
The department “respected the judge’s decision”, but he believed another court could come to a different decision. This followed a judgment by Judge Gregory Wright at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Lesufi said the department was of the view the case brought by Fedsas was flawed and motivated by “concerns that do not accord with our constitution as well as the regulatory framework governing education and, particularly, access to education in our new democracy”.
Fedsas brought an urgent application last week to stop the education department from “interfering with schools’ language policy and admissions”. The department had announced 124 single-medium schools would be converted to parallel-medium schools.
In an affidavit, Fedsas accused the department of taking the decision without prior consultation and without legal or factual basis. But Lesufi reiterated no school should exclude a learner on the basis of language.
“The right to education is one of the most fundamental rights in the constitution and if any school, when applying its language and admission policy, acts contrary to the constitution, that policy must be disregarded,” said Lesufi.