The legal team lead by Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC with Adv. Lerato Zikalala and Adv. Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane

Summary of facts and legal arguments made

On 8 May 2022 the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) instituted litigation alongside six parents and caregivers against the Western Cape’s MEC of Education (MEC), the Head of the Education Department (HOD) and the Director of the Metro East Education District due to their failure to place learners in schools. The court application sought to address the ongoing failure within the Metro East Education District to fulfil their statutory and constitutional obligation to ensure that all learners are appropriately accommodated in schools.

The WCED has filed a notice of intention to defend the application and delivered their answering affidavit. The urgent application was heard in the Western Cape High Court on Friday, 27 May 2022.

On Friday, 03 June 2022, Justice Gamble in the Western Cape High Court issued an order directing the Head of Department (HOD) Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the District Director of the Metro East Education District, to place seven unplaced learners in school by Friday, 10 June 2022. The Court Order has further instructed the District Director and the HOD to take all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that all learners who are placed in a similar position as the unplaced seven and who remain at home for the 2022 academic year, are also placed in school.

Court papers

Status of matter

The EELC continues to prepare for Part B of the application which will be heard on a semi-urgent basis on the 8th and 9th of March 2023. Whilst the urgent part of the application was aimed at obtaining immediate placement of all unplaced learners for the 2022 academic year and the provision of support, Part B seeks to address the longstanding crises of unplaced learners in the Western Cape, in particular the Metro East Education District. Part B of the EELC’s court application also seeks to make sure that there is a plan in place on the steps that are to be taken to ensure that enough space is available for learners in public schools by the beginning of the 2023 academic year.