Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL
Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is not taking the temperate approach of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga towards the implementation of English language streams at the Afrikaans School, Hoërskool Overvaal, in Vereeniging.

Instead‚ the MEC says he wants to go directly to the Constitutional Court.

"Our legal team met with the National Department of Basic Education yesterday to look at the Overvaal case. We have taken a decision to approach the Constitutional Court directly. We are also filing our appeal this Friday. We believe we have good grounds to appeal this matter‚" he said on Tuesday.

At the weekend‚ Motshekga took a more restrained approach‚ urging those demanding the immediate enrolment of English-speaking pupils to calmly discuss the matter. She also emphasised the need to deal with issues raised by the North Gauteng High Court.

"Let’s deal with issues raised by the judge‚ and not take the matters out of context. The judge raised administrative matters‚ and let’s see if we can address them. The school must have English books and English teachers‚" she said.

The row at Overvaal erupted after the school refused an instruction by the Gauteng Education Department to accept 55 English-speaking pupils. The school said it had no capacity to admit the learners‚ and could not set up a parallel stream in the time frame it was given by the department. Its decision was backed by the High Court in Pretoria.

The mid-January court ruling on the Overvaal admission saga was critical of the conduct of the Gauteng Education Department.

On Tuesday, Lesufi’s office said in a statement that the MEC has been meeting with several stakeholders in an attempt to restore calm at the school and rebuild relationships.

The South African Council of Churches and the Social Cohesion Champions have also kick-started a process of mediation‚ his office said.