State opposes mud schools' court bid

Education authorities will oppose a court challenge by impoverished schools in the Eastern Cape to improve their infrastructure.

The seven schools, all in the OR Tambo district, are suing the Eastern Cape education department, the national government and the OR Tambo district municipality to provide them with proper resources. The schools want the state’s failure to provide adequate school facilities to be declared unconstitutional.

The attorney representing the schools, Cameron McConnachie told the Mail & Guardian Online that both the department of basic education and the Eastern Cape department of Education have indicated they would oppose the court action.

“At this stage there has been no response from the OR Tambo district,” he said.

“Basically we’re just waiting till October 20, when they parties will have to file an affidavit to explain their opposition to the challenge by the schools.”

According to the court papers, six of the schools have classrooms built from mud and one has classrooms made from cinder blocks. They all say their facilities are unusable and massively overcrowded.

Their affidavit also claims that pupils at all seven schools rely on tanks to catch rain water but often have to walk long distances to collect water during the dry winter months.

When the M&G reported on the court challenge in September, McConnachie said that if the challenge was opposed it could take months for the matter to appear before a judge.

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