For Immediate Release
5 May 2022
Amasango School heads to court over unimplemented 11-year-old court order
MAKHANDA — The High Court in Makhanda has issued a rule nisi order for both the MEC for Education in the Eastern Cape and the Superintendent General of the Department of Education to appear before the court on 31 May 2022. Both parties must explain to the court why they failed to comply with a 2010 court order directing the department to develop and provide a plan for the development of proper, appropriate and adequate school facilities for the Amasango Career School, why this plan was never implemented, and the reasons for the department’s failure to file reports with the court every three months until the order was complied with.
In 2010, the department was ordered to remedy the lack of suitable school facilities at the Grahamstown Amasango Career School. The school was founded in 1995 to provide education to poor, often abused, and neglected children marginalised by apartheid and those who remained on the fringes of post-apartheid South African society. Many of these children have been abandoned by one or both parents and are homeless. Some of the learners from the school reside at the Eluxolweni shelter where children of unsafe and broken homes find refuge. The school has been operating from the old buildings in an industrial zone on the edge of Makhanda’s central business district since 2001. This is an area not conducive for education. In 2003, the Department of Education registered Amasango as a “special school”, that is, a “public school for learners with special needs” in terms of section 12(3) of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996.
In addition to the MEC and the Superintendent General, the court has also ordered the Minister of Basic Education, to comply with the 2010 order by taking reasonable steps and developing a plan, in consultation with the SGB of the Amasango School, to ensure the provision of a school to Amasango. The plan must have clear time frames for the completion of each task, provide the details of the relevant officials and the steps that each relevant official must take to comply with, and the budget to be made available for the implementation of the plan with confirmation that the necessary funds are available. These must be filed with the court every three months until the order has been fully complied with.
The school and applicants’ attorneys have explored all avenues to encourage the MEC, SG and the minister to comply with the 2010 court order. Seemingly, none of these officials have any intention of making the land on which to build the school available or to comply with the court order. Following more than 10 years of delays, frustrations, and obstructions, the school has no option but to return to court for further relief to ensure the rule of law is upheld and learner’s rights are respected.
Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
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