At a press conference held in Cape Town, Equal Education (EE) announced that it had filed papers in the Bhisho High Court against Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga; Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan; and the nine provincial MECs for Education. EE is represented by the Legal Resources Centre.
EE's Court case is composed of two separate, but interlinking, parts. The first part of the court case deals specifically with two schools in the Eastern Cape – Mwezeni SPS and Mkanzini JSS. EE argues that the government's failure to address and remedy the unsafe, unhealthy and inadequate conditions at these schools is unconstitutional and otherwise unlawful. In the court case EE is seeking emergency relief for these schools in the form of safe and adequate structures.
The second part of the court case deals specifically with the need for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure. EE argues that Minister Motshekga's failure to make regulations which prescribe minimum uniform norms and standards for school infrastructure constitutes a breach of the constitutional right to a basic education, equality and dignity. It is also a breach of her duties under section 5(1)(a) and section 5(2)(a) of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996. EE's application seeks an order directing the Minister to prescribe minimum norms and standards within three months of the order.
EE believes that if there had been minimum norms and standards in place, then situations like the ones at Mwezeni SPS and Mkanzini JSS would not arise. This is the most far-reaching court case about the right to basic education to have been launched in democratic South Africa.
The documents relating to EE's court case are available here.