Purpose of Litigation
“… a measure of our humanity is inextricably related to how we treat our children. Apartheid tried to rob us of our humanity. By condemning every black child to a life of deprivation, they sought to deprive us of our dignity… Everyone involved in education has a responsibility to restore the humanity and dignity in the way we treat our children.” (Professor Kader Asmal, former Minister of Education, 2000)
Thousands of learners across the country attend school in dilapidated and unsafe buildings with inadequate sanitation, limited access to water and insufficient desks and chairs. The problem is particularly acute in the Eastern Cape where over 395 ‘mud schools’ remain in existence. There is no doubt that these conditions are a systematic denial of the fundamental rights to a basic education, dignity, safety and security and equality guaranteed by the South African Constitution.
On 4 February 2011, the Legal Resources Centre concluded a landmark settlement on behalf of seven mud schools in the Libodes district in the Eastern Cape. As part of the settlement, the national Department of Basic Education has committed to spend R8,2 billion from 1 April 2011 to 1 March 2014 to eradicate mud schools and to improve infrastructure in schools throughout South Africa. This included an undertaking to construct permanent buildings for the seven schools and to provide basic services. In addition, the Eastern Cape Department of Education undertook to provide the schools with temporary prefabricated classrooms, water tanks and sufficient desks and chairs.
This web portal provides more information on the case, profiles of the seven schools and regular updates on the progress of the construction work. Take a look around, learn more, donate and join us in the struggle to improve conditions in South Africa’s schools.
Recent progress reports:
This litigation seeks to (a) compel the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education to provide furniture to the co-applicant schools within two months; and (b) ask for a new independent audit to be done and furniture provided to all those schools in the province needing furniture within three months of the updated audit being completed. The matter is scheduled to be heard on Thursday 29 November 2012 at the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha. The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) is acting on behalf of the Centre for Child Law (CCL) and parents from three Eastern Cape schools.
The three schools are Mpimbo Junior Secondary School in Libode District, Mbananga Junior Secondary in Cozwa Phezukwana village outside Mthatha, and Sirhudlwini Junior Secondary School in Mount Frere District.