The Constitutional Court. File picture: Antoine de Ras.
The Constitutional Court. File picture: Antoine de Ras.

ConCourt rules in favour of Limpopo pupil who was stopped from writing matric exam by principal

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Dec 29, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has ordered Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to allow a Limpopo matric pupil to write his missed Business Studies Paper 2 examination in January. This comes after his acting principal refused him entry into the exam room.

Johannes Moko’s trouble began on November 25 when he arrived at the Malusi Secondary School to write the paper. He was stopped at the gates by the acting principal, Tlou Mokgonyana, because he had failed to attend extra lessons.

The learner was instructed to fetch his parents to discuss the missed lessons, and not to return to the school without them. Moko wasn’t able to find them and returned to the school alone. By that time, the exam was under way. The acting principal refused him entry and he subsequently missed the exam.

Various meetings with Mokgonyana and members of the Limpopo Department of Education ensued.

Moko was informed that he could write the supplementary exam in May. He was unhappy about the date as it would delay the start of his tertiary education at the beginning of next year. Moko brought an urgent application to the Limpopo High Court for an order that he writes the exam imminently.

The high court struck the matter off the roll for lack of urgency. He then applied for leave to approach the Constitutional Court urgently for an order declaring the conduct of the acting principal inconsistent with the right to education in Section 29(1) of the Constitution. Moko asked to write the exam before the marking of other matric exams and the release of the matric results.

On Monday, Constitutional Court Justices made a unanimous decision in favour of the learner. They criticised the Limpopo High Court for its refusal to hear Moko’s urgent application.

In her judgment, Justice Sisi Khampepe granted the learner leave for direct access to the Constitutional Court. The Justice declared Mokgonyana’s conduct a violation of the applicant’s right to education.

The Constitutional Court ordered Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, the Limpopo Education Department and quality assurance body Umalusi to allow the learner to write the paper by January 15.

It also ruled that Moko’s results would be released simultaneously with the general release of the results in January or February.

Political Bureau

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