Rivonia school case goes to ConCourt

The Constitutional Court will hear the case between the Education Department and Rivonia primary.

The Constitutional Court will hear the case between the Education Department and Rivonia Primary. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court on Friday agreed to hear the Gauteng Education Department's reasons for challenging an earlier judgment relating to school admissions.

The case began when the department overruled the school's decision not to admit a young girl into grade one, claiming the school was full to capacity.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled in favour of Rivonia Primary School and its governing body, while also slamming the department for playing the race card and confusing the real arguments.

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

However in its appeal, the department accused the school of remaining predominantly white and of using the advantage it obtained during Apartheid to hold on to its privileges, while poorer were schools bursting at the seams.

At the heart of the argument is who has the final say over capacity and whether the department should be allowed to override a school's decision. Rivonia Primary School says quality of education is at stake, while government believes its duty to place every child in the classroom is more important.

A letter from Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says the hearing will take place on 9 May.

This will determine whether the Education Department will be granted leave to appeal the earlier judgment which went in favour of the school.

Both sides will now need to submit written arguments in March and April ahead of the hearing.