File photo: INLSA
Judgment in the court battle to have Uitzig Secondary School stay open has been reserved in the Western Cape High Court.

The school and its governing body brought forward an application to review and set aside the decision by Education MEC Debbie Schäfer to close the school.

They also want two declaratory orders: one declaring the move unlawful, and another declaring alleged negligence by the department with respect to maintenance work unconstitutional.

On September 11 last year, Schäfer accepted recommendations by officials of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to close the school.

The WCED said the school had been plagued by vandalism, theft and violence to the extent that it was no longer a safe environment for pupils and staff, and was not conducive to teaching and learning.

The WCED in the past said the situation at the school had become intolerable as vandals were chasing security guards off the site almost daily.

In February last year, the WCED sent a letter to parents indicating that pupils had to move to other schools.

“During the first term of 2017, seven learners in matric left Uitzig and enrolled at Ravensmead. 

"In the final matric examinations at the end of 2017, of those seven learners, two passed with a bachelor’s pass, two passed with a diploma pass, two failed (but qualified to write supplementary examinations) and one wrote three subjects last year and will write the other three this year.

In those final matric examinations, Ravensmead had a pass rate of 97.3%. Of the 15 learners from Uitzig who wrote those examinations, only three passed (a pass rate of 20%), with one achieving a bachelor’s pass,” the WCED argued.

In the build-up to the court case, trade federation Cosau said the school had four new classrooms where learning was taking place and a fully functional staff room. 

They accused the WCED of trying to create the impression that the school was falling apart.