Motshekga says the dispute between the Gauteng education department and Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging should be resolved out of court as it’s not a racial issue, but rather an administrative one.
Her spokesperson, Troy Martens, said Motshekga made this observation after meeting with the school’s principal last week.
“She believes that if we first sort out the issues by providing resources and English teachers to the school, then we can sit down with the school and resolve these matters out of court,” said Martens.
“She raised the issue in a meeting with the principal last week and he felt they could not just switch to being a dual-medium school in January. It has to be a process.”
The dispute ensued when Overvaal refused to accept 55 English-speaking pupils that the Gauteng department of education had ordered it to enrol, leading to Economic Freedom Fighters’ members protesting and clashing with police outside the facility in the first week of the new school year.
Some parents were allegedly assaulted. Earlier this month, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said his department would appeal a Pretoria High Court ruling which found that Hoërskool Overvaal did not have the capacity to accommodate the 55 English-speaking pupils.
Judge Bill Prinsloo castigated department officials for their conduct, referring to evidence submitted accusing officials of intimidating the principals of two nearby schools into claiming their schools did not have the capacity to take more pupils.
Prinsloo referred to WhatsApp messages which revealed that one of the principals was threatened with being fired for supplying an affidavit saying his school had places.
The other principal said he was summoned to a district office and similarly threatened.
“In as much as these communications may amount to hearsay …. I exercise my discretion in terms of Section 3 of the Hearsay Amendment Act 45 of 1998. I declare the evidence as duly admitted.
This is obviously in the interest of justice,” said Prinsloo. Martens declined to comment on this aspect of the judgment, saying it had no bearing on the national department.
Lesufi’s office declined to immediately comment on Motshekga’s views on the matter.
His spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said he would answer questions in this regard today.
“We are finalising more information … officials are still on the ground,” he said.