NEWS
26/01/2018 18:13 SAST | Updated 26/01/2018 18:17 SAST

Overvaal DID Place 3 Of The 55 Students, Says Governing Body

"Three of the learners are enrolled at Overvaal because they chose to be taught in Afrikaans."

Gulshan Khan/AFP/Getty Images
Hoërskool Overvaal SGB chairperson Hardus Visagie.

The chairperson of Vereeniging school Hoërskool Overvaal's governing body (SGB), Hardus Visagie, has revealed that three of the 55 learners embroiled in the court action between the school and the Gauteng education department were in fact admitted to the school.

"Three of the learners are enrolled at Overvaal, because they chose to be taught in Afrikaans," Visagie told HuffPost in an interview on Friday. He has been part of the SGB since 2012, and chairperson since last year.

Visagie said most of the pupils were actually placed on time, and only eight were left in limbo – not 55 as reported in the media.

"Phoenix [High] was, let's call it created for all the English-speaking learners in this area – specifically to say: 'Here is a school for you.'"

He said that Phoenix High had space to accommodate the learners – but that the department is adamant that they should attend Overvaal instead.

"In our discussion with those schools, because schools talk to each other, they said that they have the capacity," Visagie said.

He added: "Phoenix [High] was, let's call it created for all the English-speaking learners in this area – specifically to say: 'Here is a school for you.' They actually want more learners, because if they get more learners they can get more teachers."

Both Phoenix High and Jan Smuts High were Vereeniging schools that parents were advised to settle for, if their children had not yet been placed.

Hoërskool Overvaal has been the scene of continuous protest since the High Court in Pretoria's decision that the school not admit English-speaking pupils.

Overvaal is an Afrikaans single-medium school, and has been accused of using its language policy to exclude these pupils.

AFP/Getty Images
A member of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) faces policemen as she takes part in a demonstration against the language and admission policies at Ho?erskool Overvaal school on January 22, 2018 in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg. / AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN (Photo credit should read GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

HuffPost is still waiting for a response from the Gauteng education department clarifying how and where the 55 learners were placed.

The full interview with Visagie will be published on HuffPost SA on Saturday.