Motshekga’s court bid fails
The Constitutional Court has dismissed the department of basic education’s application to appeal a Bhisho High Court order that minister Angie Motshekga bring all schools in the country to a basic minimum standard of safety.
The order, granted on October 29, finds the application for leave to appeal bears no prospect of success and dismisses it with costs.
However, an application for condonation is granted.
In July, the high court ruled that certain regulations in the norms and standards for school infrastructure law, which was promulgated by the state five years ago, were unconstitutional, invalid and in need of amendment.
The ruling was in favour of activist NGO Equal Education (EE)’s application to compel Motshekga to fix some “loopholes” or “escape clauses” in the legislation and to meet infrastructure completion deadlines.
Motshekga was ordered to amend the regulations and to pay the applicant’s legal costs.
The high court found that the regulation stating that infrastructure standards need only be met if cooperation and resources were forthcoming from “other government agencies and entities responsible for school infrastructure” was inconsistent with the constitution, as well as with the South African Schools Act.
In September, during a council of education meeting in Pretoria, Motshekga said the appeal had nothing to do with the department’s willingness to provide school infrastructure.
She said the reason for the appeal was that the Bhisho judgment would force the department to take responsibility for things it has no control over. The minister wanted the ConCourt to share out responsibility for school infrastructure.
Contacted for comment on the ConCourt order, Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga told the Dispatch he would not comment until after a council of education meeting set for Thursday.
In her defence submitted to Bhisho, Motshekga said provision of services like electricity lies with other organs of the state, such as Eskom...