[lg policy] Reasons why department wants to appeal Hoërskool Overvaal decision
haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Feb 6 10:39:11 EST 2018
Reasons why department wants to appeal Hoërskool Overvaal decision
06 February 2018 - 16:22 By Ernest Mabuza
for you: Reasons why department wants to appeal Hoërskool Overvaal
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[image: The department of education's Edward Mosuwe said the demand was not
for Afrikaans instruction to cease at the school‚ only for it not to be
The department of education's Edward Mosuwe said the demand was not for
Afrikaans instruction to cease at the school‚ only for it not to be
Image: Google Maps
The governing body of Hoërskool Overvaal had attempted to control the
admission of new learners to the school‚ insisting that no learners may be
admitted to the school unless they submit to Afrikaans-only instruction.
As a result‚ despite the composition of the local community surrounding the
school‚ the school remains effectively a white school.
These are the submissions the Gauteng Department of Education has made to
the Constitutional Court.
The department is seeking leave to appeal against an order of the Pretoria
High Court last month‚ which set aside the department’s instruction to the
school to admit 55 learners who wished to be taught in English.
In an affidavit filed with the Constitutional Court on Monday‚ Gauteng
education head of department Edward Mosuwe said Hoërskool Overvaal was a
public school with duties to the community in which it was situated.
We thought Hoërskool Overvaal matter would ‘sort itself out’: Motshekga
Basic Education Minister‚ Angie Motshekga on Monday said she and department
officials had not anticipated that the issues of Hoërskool Overvaal would
15 days ago
He said the school’s governing body had thus far insisted that it must be a
single-medium Afrikaans language school.
“As a result‚ more than 20 years after the advent of democracy it remains
an almost exclusively white school.”
Mosuwe said the department maintained that the school had excess classroom
capacity relative to neighbouring public schools.
Mosuwe said since before the 2016 school admissions‚ there had been a
demand from predominantly “African” residents within the immediate vicinity
of Hoërskool Overvaal for the school to accommodate learners in its feeder
area who wanted to be taught in English.
Mosuwe said the department concluded that Overvaal had the capacity to
accommodate the 55 learners who qualified for admission to the school in
terms of the admission regulations made under the Gauteng School Education
Edward Mosuwe said in the past‚ the area in which the school was situated
was a predominantly white Afrikaans area‚ but this had changed since 1994
and the area was now dominated by non-Afrikaans speaking persons
Mosuwe said the high court decision involved important constitutional
issues of procedure and substance relating to‚ among others‚ whether issues
of language could be used to deny learners admission to a public school in
Mosuwe said in the past‚ the area in which the school was situated was a
predominantly white Afrikaans area‚ but this had changed since 1994 and the
area was now dominated by non-Afrikaans speaking persons.
There was now demand for the school to open up to English learners as two
other English-instruction schools in the area were overcrowded.
Mosuwe said the demand was not for Afrikaans instruction to cease at the
school‚ only for it not to be exclusive.
Mosuwe said the Gauteng admission regulations expressly prohibited unfair
discrimination on grounds of language and provided for a system of
admissions which was dictated to by location‚ and not by language policy.
He said in terms of the School Act‚ the powers of a public school governing
body over admissions and language policies were subject to any applicable
“The admissions policy or language policy of Hoërskool Overvaal accordingly
could not prevail over the Admission Regulations.”
The department has filed a similar application in the high court seeking
leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal against the judgment of
Judge Bill Prinsloo.
It has indicated it would not pursue that application unless the
Constitutional Court application is rejected.
Harold F. Schiffman
Professor Emeritus of
Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Phone: (215) 898-7475
Fax: (215) 573-2138
Email: haroldfs at gmail.com
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