WC to appeal school closure ruling

MEC Donald Grant has confirmed the dept will appeal the decision to keep 17 schools open.

Education MEC Donald Grant briefed reporters on the possible closure of 27 institutions across the Western Cape on 20 June 2012. Picture: Malungelo Booi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Education Department will seek leave to appeal a court ruling which compelled it to keep several schools in the province open.

The department wanted to shut down 17 schools across the province due to, among other reasons, high absenteeism and dwindling pupil numbers.

But late last month, the Western Cape High Court ruled against the department.

MEC Donald Grant said, "Yes the decision has been made to appeal. It's now up to the court whether they'll give us leave to appeal. This decision was made carefully after consultation with the national minister."

Late last month, the department said the High Court's decision to keep 17 schools open will not prevent it from closing down schools in the future.

Grant said that while the department was not successful, it still has the mandate to close more schools.

"There is nothing which precludes us moving and closing other schools. The majority of the judges are questioning the process but not the merits of my decision."

At the same time the African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape slammed the department for trying to close down the schools in the first place.

Provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman said Grant "must go and bath in shame".

"The question though is why Helen Zille's been protective of him over the last 12 months," remarked Fransman.