Cape Town 100511. MEC Donald Grant addresses the media on the new Own your future billboard campaign at Masiyile senior school in Khayelitsha. PHOTO SAM CLARK, CA and CT.

ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman challenged Education MEC Donald Grant to a public debate on the proposed closure of 27 schools.

But Grant said it would be inappropriate for him to participate in a public debate.

“Grant must indicate by the end of business today (Thursday) that he will take up this challenge and defend his decision to start the process of closing community schools in mostly poor rural or worker class township areas where children battle with less resources and teachers,” said a statement from the ANC Western Cape.

Fransman said Grant had many questions to answer and should come out and defend his decisions.

The ANC said that while the schools had first been labelled as “underperforming”, various other reasons were now “trumped up to use as a weapon to kill off these community institutions”.

Closing the schools would mean that poor children would have to walk or travel vast distances to schools and some would be exposed to danger by entering “no-go gang warzones”, the ANC added.

Grant said that given the legislative requirements applicable to school closures (including the Department of Basic Education’s guidelines for the rationalisation of small or non-viable schools), it would be inappropriate for him to participate in a public debate on the matter with Fransman.

“Furthermore, given the patent lack of understanding of due process as well as the many inaccuracies reflected in Mr Fransman’s statement, there is little purpose to be served by such a debate.” - Cape Argus