South Africa: Law Preventing Attachment of Public School Assets Found Constitutionally Valid

On Wednesday 9 October 2019, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in an application brought before it by a father who sought to attach the assets of a public school after it had failed to make payment of an amount owed to him in terms of an order made in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

In bringing an application to attach the assets of a public school, the father of a pupil, Mr Deverajh Moodley, argued that Section 58A(4) of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 (the Schools Act), which protects the assets of public schools from attachment as a result of any legal action taken against the school, was unconstitutional.

Justice Madlanga, delivering the unanimous judgment of the Constitutional Court, held that because of its critical role in upholding the right to basic education, Section 58A(4) was not constitutionally invalid.

The court held that although the section limits the rights to equality and dignity, the limitation is reasonable and justifiable.

The matter, which began in the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in 2010, concerned Kenmont School's admission policy, which it had amended after a behavioural incident at the school which involved Moodley's son.

Kenmont School (Kenmont) is a school for...

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