Lerato Radebe & Other v Principal of Leseding Technical School & Others

Represented by EELC and supported by EE, Lerato Radebe, a grade 8 learner in the Free State, filed an urgent High Court application to ensure her return to Leseding Technical School. This was as a result of repeated instances of discrimination experienced by Lerato, who is a Rastafarian and has dreadlocks because of her faith.

On 15 April 2013, Lehlohonolo Radebe contacted the EELC, requesting urgent intervention on behalf of his daughter, Lerato. From the beginning of the school year, Lerato was repeatedly removed from class and humiliated by the principal, being forced to remain in the school staff room and miss all her classes. These frequent exclusions amounted to a violation of section 9(3) of the Constitution, prohibiting unfair discrimination on the basis of religion, conscience, ethnicity, belief or culture.

In the urgent application, attention was drawn to the Free State Department of Education’s failure to intervene to ensure Lerato’s return to school. The EELC argued that this conduct was both unconstitutional and invalid. Judge Phalatsi agreed and found in favour of Lerato, ordering that Lerato be readmitted and that, within five days, a remedial lesson plan for her be drafted.