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Rivonia Primary gets ready for ConCourt battle

Rivonia Primary School's admissions fight is bound to set precedents.

Rivonia Primary principal Carol Drysdale. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Rivonia Primary School's governing body has accused the Department of Education of failing to provide quality education and of meddling in the affairs of schools that do.

Court papers have been filed by both sides in a legal clash over admissions, which is due to be heard by the Constitutional Court in a month's time.

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.

This has now swelled to a landmark battle which is bound to set precedents.

In the court papers the school's governing body has asked the Constitutional Court to take into account the perilous state of South Africa's education.

It argues the department is not fulfilling its obligations and fails to use existing laws and regulations.

The governing body said a crucial aspect like admissions can't be dealt with on an ad hoc basis and requires strict policy and planning.

But the Gauteng Department of Education said schools like Rivonia Primary continue to find themselves in a privileged position because of apartheid.

It's argued that a policy is not law and is not binding on the department, which has a duty to provide education to each child in the province.

The Supreme Court of Appeal found the department had played the race card and accused it of obfuscating the issue at hand.

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 are now submitting written arguments ahead of the hearing.

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