Nathan Savage and Others V MEC, Western Cape Education Department and Others

In August 2013, Mr Nathan Savage, whose son had tested positive for marijuana at Pinelands High School, contacted the EELC. The learner had been asked to compose a written statement, without parental consent, which was then used against him in a disciplinary hearing. The learner was later expelled after the hearing, leading to an appeal before the MEC Donald Grant. In the meantime, the learner was prohibited from attending classes. The EELC argued that such cases call for rehabilitative, rather than punitive disciplinary measures.

Whilst the EELC’s most far-reaching objective was to seek relief for learners appealing against an expulsion, we also sought relief for the individual learner to be readmitted to Pinelands High School before his final exams commenced, and given necessary study materials. Ultimately, the matter was settled out of court, and the learner was readmitted to Pinelands High School. Whilst it was an important decision for the individuals concerned, the need to develop and clarify jurisprudence surrounding fair disciplinary processes still remains, and the EELC maintains that schools must respect learners’ right to fair disciplinary processes, and that punishment must be aimed at rehabilitative measures for children.