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Governing Body Hoerskool Overvaal v Head of Department of Education (86367/2017) [2018] ZAGPPHC 1

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Governing Body Hoerskool Overvaal v Head of Department of Education (86367/2017) [2018] ZAGPPHC 1

19th January 2018

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PRINSLOO (J):  This matter came before me in the urgent Court of last week during the session of 9 to 12 January.  The case had to stand down until Thursday 11 January because of the late filing of a replying affidavit.  I heard lengthy argument on 11 and 12 January and when the court adjourned at 19:00 on Friday 12 January I undertook to give judgment this afternoon Monday 15 January.

Logistically there was no opportunity to prepare a written more comprehensive judgment.  I regret this because delivering an extempore judgment as I will do this afternoon can be a time consuming affair and I apologise to those present in this very hot courtroom.

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On Thursday I also heard argument on two point in limine raised by the respondents namely that no case for urgency had been made out and also that the application was bad for non-joinder.  I delivered two separate judgments both in favour of the applicants.  It is not necessary to revisit details of those judgments.

In essence the urgent relief sought is the reviewing and setting aside of an instruction issued on 5 December 2017 by the District Director (Second Respondent) to the principal of Hoërskool Overvaal, a single medium Afrikaans secondary school which is the second applicant to place 55 grade eight English learners with the school for the 2018 school year starting on 17 January.

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Broadly speaking the School Governing Body (SGB) which is the first applicant argues that the school is full to capacity; that neighbouring English medium schools have sufficient capacity to accommodate 55 grade eight English learners.   That the second respondent’s instruction is procedurally flawed and also unlawful and that it also offends against the school’s language police.

These contentions are in dispute.  Before me Mr Lamey appeared for the applicants and Mr Toma appeared for the respondents.  I turn to a brief synopsis and background sketch.  The second applicant is an Afrikaans single medium high school (“The School”) situated in the Vereeniging area.  It is a public school as defined in Section 1 of the South African School’s Act 84 of 1996 (“The Act”).

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