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Panyaza Lesufi dares schools insisting on Afrikaans to take the GDE to court

Bonile Khanyi

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has issued a stern warning against schools that use Afrikaans as the only medium of learning, saying that anyone who wants to take them to court over the matter should bring it on.

This comes after Hoërskool Overvaal served the department with an urgent court interdict last month to try and overturn a decision forcing the school to accept an additional 55 pupils.

“There’s a school that preferers Afrikaans speaking learners over other languages. On the waiting list, what they’ve done is, if you speak English, isiXhosa or isiZulu, they skip you and they look for somebody who speaks Afrikaans and pulls that person up, undermining people that have applied on time,” Lesufi said on Sunday.

“We told that school to stop and they’ve taken us to court. So, we’re saying bring it on, we’re not afraid of courts.”

The school maintains that it has reached its capacity while the department said the pupils were denied places based on their language preference.

In its affidavit, the department said the school’s capacity had nothing to do with the number of learners the school could occupy, and everything to do with language.

“It is unbelievable and/or unfortunate that even until today, in this constitutional democracy, we still have a society that sees nothing wrong with a language that was used as a tool of segregation and discrimination during apartheid which 90% of South Africans bemoan,” the affidavit read. 

The department also said that it had every right to place the pupils at the school as the school governing body plays no part in the process of admission of learners and does not declare a school full as that it the duty of the department.

The school has 21 classrooms, and the capacity to accommodate 840 learners, but currently only accepts 621.

The department said that additional furniture and textbooks were already procured and an English teacher would be provided to the school by the department.

The matter will be heard in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday morning.

 

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