“The Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) decision supporting the Western Cape education department’s closure of Uitzig Secondary School is indeed unfortunate, but expected.”
This was the sentiment of federation union Cosatu following fights to keep the school open.
The fight doesn’t end there though as the Uitzig’s School Governing Body will now approach the Constitutional Court to keep the doors open.
The WCED closed the high school in 2017, citing issues of vandalism, gang violence, and declining pupil numbers and pass rates. The matric pass rate was 15.4% before its closure.
Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich said: “The WCED managed the school into the ground over the years, which led to some learners moving away from the school. The department then started reducing the teachers, which led to results declining because learners did not have teachers. When learners asked to be allowed to move to the old primary school that was in a better condition the WCED refused and broke down the primary school.
“The SGB then went to court and got an order against the WCED, which forced them to continue supporting the school. In spite of this order, the WCED let the situation at the school deteriorate, through denying the learners water and food on various occasions. The school is in a bad shape and needs to be replaced with a new school as there are three primary schools in the area,” said Ehrenreich.
He emphasised that the high schools in the area are overcrowded so this high school is an absolute requirement for the community.
“Cosatu has supported many communities to get a decent education for the learners and will support Uitsig also. The decision by the SGB to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court is in the best interest of the learners.”
Schäfer said the latest ruling by the SCA vindicates the actions taken in this matter to date. “In my view, the refusal to find that an appeal has any merit, by two courts now, gives credence to the view that Tony Ehrenreich’s motives in attacking me over it are both personal and political, and have no regard for what is in the best interests of the affected and future learners.
“Now that the SCA has ruled on this, and dismissed the appeal, I will be holding discussions with the district officials in the area and will seek legal advice as to what the next steps are with respect to proceeding with the closure of the school in the best interests of the few remaining learners that are still in attendance.”
Schäfer added: “We cannot allow individuals with personal vendettas and agendas to continue to hold our learners and communities hostage.”
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