Solidarity spokesperson Juran van den Heever

Our members that teach in schools, specifically Christian schools, its important for them to teacher these children Christian values that they are comfortable with, the judgement said they can’t market the school as a Christian school,” Solidarity spokesperson Juran van den Heever said following court proceedings.

Last month an application by Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy (OGOD) was brought to the High Court requesting them to ban religious practices at schools, which they felt ran counter to the conviction of 95 percent of South Africans who identify themselves with a religion.

During proceedings, Judge Willem van Der Linde said that the Constitution supported both parties in the case,in that everyone had the right to religion, they could practice in public and attendance was free and voluntary.

The trade union said they were currently studying the ruling to determine what the limitations were imposed on governing bodies by the court would entail in practice.

According to Van den Heever, the court also ruled that a public school may not promote one religion by excluding another and that a school was not allowed to promote one specific religion exclusively as the religion that it supports.

“Governing bodies still retain the right and competence to determine the policies of a particular school provided they comply with the guidelines contained in the South African Schools Act,” he said.

“School communities and staff members may still reflect their religious convictions in their calling, provided that learners of other religious convictions are also given the opportunity to reflect theirs.”

Van den Heever emphasised that OGOD underwent stringent criticism by the court and that its court application failed to a large extent.

“The High Court denied OGOD’s main application that religious practices should be prohibited in public schools. In addition, OGOD did not succeed in having it declared unconstitutional,” said Van den Heever.