Lesufi sets Feb 15 as deadline to place more than 3 000 pupils
Johannesburg – A total of 3 366 Grade 1 and Grade 8 pupils still need to be placed in schools, according to Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
He was speaking at a media briefing on pupil placements in the province since the start of the school year.
In mid-January, before the start of the academic year, 28 000 students had not been placed, with Lesufi blaming this on a number of reasons, including parents' refusal to let their children be accommodated at alternative schools.
The MEC said that since January 13, an extra 13 155 late applications had been received for various grades.
Despite this, the department needed to place just over 3 000 pupils.
Lesufi said that the department had given itself until February 15 to place the pupils, with registration remaining open until Wednesday.
He added that the department had picked up a new trend in which schools were getting an increasing number of applications from Zimbabwe, Burundi and India.
Department to approach ConCourt over Hoërskool Overvaal
Lesufi told the media that the language issue at Hoërskool Overvaal – which has resulted in racially charged protests – had been resolved, and that he had met with various stakeholders to ensure education was not disrupted at the school.
"We have gotten the disrupters to move off from the school, and allow education to take place so that we can ensure that the learners aren't disturbed by the incidents," he said.
The school was rocked by disruptions on the first day of term as protesters flocked to the school, accusing it of excluding 55 pupils over language despite it having enough space to accommodate them. The school is an Afrikaans medium school.
The department approached the court over the matter and the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled against it, saying there was space available at other schools.
Lesufi said the matter was going to be taken to the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court, for appeal.
"The reality is that we just felt we had to settle this matter for once and for all because we are also under pressure. We are getting schools that converted from single medium to dual schools who want to revert back.
"We feel we stand a better chance, without wasting time, that if we go to the ConCourt, we will be in a better position to win," he said, adding that the EFF and other interested parties would join in the legal action as friends of the court.
Lesufi said the provincial department had the support of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.