CLOSED: A demand to open Uitsig High in Elsies
Former Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich has approached the Supreme Court of Appeal to overturn a Supreme Court decision to close Uitsig High School.

Ehrenreich says the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) must keep the Elsies River school open until the appeal has been heard.

Last year, the school was ordered to close and most of the pupils were placed in nearby Ravensmead High School.

There are just fewer than 100 pupils at the school.

Now the governing body wants the school keys to be given back to the acting principal.

The school’s lawyer, Jerald Andrews, says: “We call on you to confirm that the necessary support will be provided to the school, its staff and the pupils by the WCED while the court’s decision is still pending.

“Should you fail or refuse to provide our clients the requested information, our instructions are to forthwith bring contempt of court proceedings against the department and the MEC,” he said.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, however, hit back, saying the court ruled in their favour.

She said: “The status quo must remain. The school will remain closed unless they get an interdict, (for) it to keep it open, which I really hope they won’t do because it is wasting money and it is not in the interest of the pupils.

“The issue here is Tony Ehrenreich. He has some attachment to the school. He grew up in the area and I can understand people have attachments to schools in certain cases. We all do.”

She said, in real terms, the school was costing the department as it had to be rebuilt.

“The community was literally carrying it away. There are hardly any children there, we cannot justify spending another R60 million when there are fewer than 100 children there.

“The matric results are appallingly bad. I would question why someone wants to keep a school open that is dangerous for the children.”