Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

21 December, 2012

Minister Grant's response to the court decision on school closures.

Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Education, Western Cape

The Court order handed down today is a loss of opportunity for the children in this province. We will continue to fight for their rights to better education opportunities.

The effect of the order could be that learners return to schools that we believe we have sound reasons to close.

This Government is committed to improving education opportunities for all learners in the province.

I must stress that the interdict does not automatically imply that these schools will remain open indefinitely. The interdict has the effect of delaying their closure. Their future will now depend on the outcome of the review application.

The interdict also does not in any way restrict the rights of parents to act in the best interests of their children. Therefore, the parents of these 17 schools are free to enrol their children at other schools, including the proposed receiving schools, which in their opinion is best equipped to meet the education needs of their children.

I note the Court's decision with concern and great disappointment, particularly given that my decision to close these schools was taken after careful consideration of all representations made to me and with the best interests of the learners at heart. I stand by each of my decisions.

I also note that the Court's decision was not unanimous.

We are studying the Court's decision carefully and will be consulting with our legal team so that we can give due consideration to all the legal options available to us.

The decision taken to close 20 schools was ultimately made to improve the education opportunities of these learners. These decisions were education decisions, not political decisions.

The WCED will continue to do everything possible to ensure that the best interests of the learners, teachers and public service personnel concerned are protected and promoted, particularly as we prepare for the start of the 2013 academic year.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  072 724 1422 or bronagh.casey@westerncape.gov.za.


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2012 Western Cape Education Department