FIRST ON EWN: School's admissions saga heads to ConCourt

The Gauteng Education department says it will appeal an SCA judgement around a grade one pupil’s admission.

File picture: An empty classroom at Lavis Drive Primary School. Picture: Nadine Moodie/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt that the battle over school admissions sparked by the row involving a grade one pupil at Rivonia Primary School is now headed for the Constitutional Court.

The case revolves around the school's decision not to admit a grade one pupil in 2010 and is ultimately about who has the power to determine a public school's capacity.

Despite a scathing judgement against it by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), the Gauteng Department of Education maintains it has the power to determine a public school's capacity.

Rivonia Primary School will be filing their response within days, after which the Constitutional Court will decide whether to hear the case and, if so, when.

The news comes as schools prepare to reopen for the 2013 academic year.

In its November judgement, the SCA criticised the education department for playing the race card to obscure the merits of the case, describing it as "sad" and "unfortunate".

But in its appeal, the department accused Rivonia Primary School of remaining predominantly white and of using the advantage it obtained during apartheid to hold on to its privileges - while poorer schools burst at the seams.

The department has said its responsibility is to place every child in a classroom, while Gauteng's population continues to grow.

The school's lawyer, Paul Latergan, on Monday said they were ready to face the challenge.

"We will play our game in the court also."

He said they did not believe the education department had a case to take to the highest court in the land.

The department confirmed the appeal and said it was acting on the advice of its lawyers.