Home South African Minister Motshekga reveals Education department’s legal woes

Minister Motshekga reveals Education department’s legal woes

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Litigation costs increased from R1.4 million in 2018/19 to R12.8m in 2019/2020, says Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Minister Angie Motshekga. File picture

THE DEPARTMENT of Basic Education is facing a slew of lawsuits amounting to millions of rand over several allegations against the department, including the death or injury of learners.

Minister Angie Motshekga said that in nine cases they were sued over the injury or death of learners, in several cases they were taken to court over contractual disputes, while other cases related to labour disputes with teachers.

She added that the department’s legal bill was mounting.

Motshekga said that during the 2018/19 financial year, they faced 38 lawsuits and the following financial year 42 cases were brought against them in court.

The litigation costs increased from R1.4 million in the 2018/19 period to R12.8 million the following year.

She said that in most of the cases it was the provincial MECs that were sued, with her being cited as a respondent in the court papers.

Motshekga said that during the 2018/19 financial year, when they faced civil claims, the national department spent just over R1.4 million on litigation.

“The department did not spend on each case. In many of the cases, the minister is cited with the MECs, and in such cases the cost is covered by the province. The department spent R 1,459,000 in litigation costs in the 2018/2019 financial year,” said Motshekga.

She said the cases related to several disputes involving the department and other people.

“There were eight cases relating to contractual disputes; nine cases relating to claims for injury or death of a learner; 10 cases relating to constitutional or administrative law issues; one case relating to pension payment of an educator; two cases relating to examination issues; one case each for defamation, copyright infringement and motor vehicle collision; and five cases relating to labour disputes of educators,” said Motshekga in a written reply in Parliament.

The question was asked by DA MP Desiree van der Walt who wanted to know about the lawsuits against the department.

Motshekga also said that many of the cases were still ongoing or dormant. But the department settled three cases and won one.

She said they did not lose any case.

Motshekga said that during the 2019/20 financial year they were facing 42 cases in court.

“There were 11 cases relating to contractual disputes; 10 cases relating to claims for injury or death of a learner; six cases relating to constitutional or administrative law issues; one case relating to pension payment of an educator; seven cases relating to examination issues; one case each for defamation, copyright infringement and motor vehicle collision; and four cases relating to labour disputes of educators,” said Motshekga.

Political Bureau

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