29/01/2018 10:45 SAST | Updated 29/01/2018 10:51 SAST

Motshekga: Department Not Encroaching On Overvaal Language Rights

"There’s been a lot of investment in those languages, and we don’t want to throw that away."

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Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga claimed that the Gauteng education department was not encroaching on Hoërskool Overvaal's language rights when it ordered it to accept 55 English-speaking pupils.

Hoërskool Overvaal has been the scene of violent protests since the academic year started, following the court ruling that overturned the department's order.

Motshekga told eNCA that she wanted a resolution to the impasse at the Vereeniging school. She said it was unfortunate that the situation at the school had escalated.

"Had I not been dragged by the school to court, I wouldn't have landed there," she said. "I am there reluctantly... Judge Prinsloo is raising issues of resources and readiness... It means the school must have English books and teachers.

"I said to the province, 'Let's not necessarily go and fight. This school belongs to us...' The school is not resisting a parallel medium. It's a resource issue."

The school refused the department's order, went to court and won, resulting in the ongoing protests.

"There's a place for every language in the country ...We have invested so much in Afrikaans" – Angie Motshekga

The minister insisted there was never an attack on Afrikaans as a language of instruction.

"There's a place for every language in the country... We have invested so much in Afrikaans. There are more people who are not white who speak Afrikaans. There's been a lot of investment in those languages, and we don't want to throw that away," she said.

Motshekga appealed to all involved to talk about issues and avoid court battles.

The Gauteng education department, however, is still appealing the court judgment.