Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke teacher Elana Barkhuizen. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Schweizer-Reneke - The Johannesburg Labour Court on Thursday ruled that Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke teacher Elana Barkhuizen's suspension was unlawful.

The court ordered that Barkhuizen return to work immediately.

Barkhuizen was suspended on January 10, a day after the start of the 2019 academic year, after a picture she took of a fellow-teacher's Grade R class went viral

It depicted the black pupils sitting at a separate table from the white children.

She was labelled a racist, but Barkhuizen explained in her affidavit that this was done for practical reasons and that the children were moved from time to time.

On Wednesday the North West MEC for Education, Sello Lehari, and the department would no longer oppose Barhuizen's urgent application to return to her post.

Lehari told labour union Solidarity late Wednesday afternoon that he decided to withdraw his opposition to Barkhuizen's urgent application before the Johannesburg Labour Court to have her suspension set aside. 

Lehari indicated that he will abide by the decision of the court.

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Pretoria News and IOL