Education Minister opposes Equal Education court case

| Mary-Anne Gontsana
Mud school, Eastern Cape

The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has filed a notice to oppose Equal Education’s (EE) court case for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure.

On 2 March, EE filed an affidavit in Eastern Cape’s Bhisho High Court against Motshekga, and 12 other respondents including nine provincial ministers of education, the minister of finance, the Eastern Cape government and the national government.

EE’s application includes two parts. Part one seeks emergency relief for two schools, Mwezeni Senior Primary School and Mkanzini Junior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape. According to EE these schools do not have adequate infrastructure and have to hold classes in mud classrooms or corrugated iron shacks. Part two of the application seeks an order that would instruct Motshekga to prescribe minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure.

EE’s head of policy, communications and research, Yoliswa Dwane, said they would now wait until 5 May, when the minister is expected to file her arguments and explain her opposition to the court case. “Then we will decide what further steps to take. We hope that the minister will offer emergency relief to those two schools and that the norms and standards will be passed,” said Dwane.

A statement by EE says the organisation has also received a response from the Western Cape MEC for Education, Donald Grant.

“MEC Grant filed a Notice to abide by the Bhisho High Court’s decision on the application. Although the Eastern Cape government had filed a notice to oppose EE’s application, reports earlier this week suggested that they could be expected to settle with the two schools. Mkanzini J.S.S has already been approached by government officials who have agreed to provide emergency relief in the form of ten temporary structures. The remaining respondents, including Minister Pravin Gordhan and the remaining MECs for Education, have yet to file their intentions,” said the statement.

Dwane said, “We hope that at the end we will win the court case for the poor children that are suffering”.

Attempts to get comment from the Department of Basic Education were unsuccessful.

TOPICS:  Education

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