Two Afrikaans high schools in Pretoria have applied to interdict Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi from changing their language policies.
Hoërskool Montana and Hoërskool Overkruin have resisted the Gauteng Department Education’s request to take in more English-speaking pupils.
The schools saw this instruction as Lesufi interfering with their language and admission policies.
Both schools, predominantly Afrikaans, say the matter is not necessarily about language policy but a question of capacity as they have limited space to accommodate English-speaking learners.
The department says it approached the schools in December 2016 with the request to accommodate more pupils.
Last year the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the Education Department over language policies, saying admissions shouldn’t be racially based.
At the time, the department was in court following an urgent application by the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, which said it was preventing the department from interfering with School Governing Body preserves of language and admission policies.
The court ruled that schools had the right to prepare and submit waiting lists, and that such lists may be informed by the schools’ internal admission and language policies.
The department maintains that both schools knew about recommendations to accommodate more pupils since July last year, and did nothing about it until now.