Forest Village residents decided to open a School under the tree. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
Forest Village residents decided to open a School under the tree. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

ANC, activist take WCED to Constitutional Court over unplaced learners

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published May 28, 2021

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Cape Town - The provincial ANC has teamed up with a group called Parents for Equal Education SA (Peesa) and are planning to go to court to compel the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to address the number of unplaced learners in the province.

The group of parents said the department allegedly fed them lies, making the public believe it successfully placed their children.

ANC provincial spokesperson on education, Khalid Sayed, said the province was faced with unplaced learners year after year, and the situation lasted well into the middle of the academic year.

Sayed said some learners did not even make it to the classroom for a whole academic year, and others were placed very late into the year and have missed out on most academic work.

“The usual excuse is that learners migrate from other provinces.

“Budget constraints are also offered as excuses,” he said.

Peesa founder Vanessa Le Roux, said as activists, they knew that was far from the truth, there was no political will to provide quality education to poor and vulnerable communities.

“As activists, visiting these communities daily, we knew that everything they spin in the public domain is blatant lies.

“We see these communities and children each and every day,” said Le Roux.

She said they knew the real total number of unplaced learners far exceeded what MEC of Education Debbie Schäfer said in her public statements and to Parliament recently.

Le Roux claimed not once did the MEC rush to hear the community’s plea in the same manner she rushed to Brackenfell when racist incidents occurred.

ANC and Peesa filed an application in the Constitutional Court, stating that Schäfer failed to comply with her statutory and constitutional duties to ensure the availability of sufficient places at schools for every child in the province.

Schäfer said they would study the papers before making comments, but there was no doubt that was a classic case of political opportunism.

“Unfortunately, it is playing politics with the important issue of education, which will mean that more of our already scarce resources will have to be spent on legal fees, instead of improving education which is what we are trying to do,” said Schäfer.

She said there was no explanation of the justification to approach the Concourt directly.

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Cape Argus

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