Court reserves decision on Afrikaans-medium school

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Pretoria high court on Friday reserved judgment in an application in which Hoerskool Ermelo is seeking leave to appeal against an interim order forcing it to teach in English.

Hoerskool Ermelo is one of only two schools in Mpumalanga that is still an Afrikaans-medium school.

The school has, for a number of years, had black pupils who chose to be educated in Afrikaans.

In February a full bench of the high court set aside an earlier ruling and ordered the school to admit 113 English-speaking pupils.

Only 18 grade 8 pupils eventually enrolled.

The school claimed earlier this year that the 113 pupils wanted to be taught in English.

Despite the small number of pupils who eventually pitched up at the school, the Education Department used this to pressure the school to change its language policy.

Pieter Mulder, leader of the Freedom Front Plus , donated R10000 to the school towards the school's legal fees in its struggle to remain an Afrikaans-medium school.

The school's governing body said the dispute had alienated and polarised parents, teachers and pupils.

Hlahla Ngwenya, spokesman for the Mpumalanga Education Department said they would accept whatever outcome the high court finally came to.

"We are confident the justice system will find a way to put this matter to rest," he said.