Thursday, September 24, 2020

Ministry of Education loses court case against UB students

The long legal battle between UB students, through their Student Representative Council (SRC), and the Ministry of Education and Development Skills (MoE) was finally settled once and for all before a Special Appeals Board on Wednesday.

The MoE was ordered to pay UB students P3840 of their winter vacation allowance.

The final Court of Appeal order comes after the MoE decided to contest a court order by High Court judge, Justice Key Dingake, who had ordered that the MoE pay the UB students their June-July living allowances amounting to P3840 after finding that the ministry’s decision to terminate the students’ allowances during the winter period was an infringement on the sponsorship agreement the MoE entered into with the students.

During the final hearing of the case before the Special Appeals Board set up to address the case, Collen Mudara, of Kanjabanga and Associates, argued that the MoE abused the powers bestowed upon it by the contract they had with the students’ community.

Mudara argued that Clause 14 of the contract signed by the two parties states that there shall be no alteration, variation, addition, cancellation, deleting or amendment, unless in writing and signed by both parties, something the MoE failed to do.
Mr C. Gulubane, representing the Education ministry, argued that the MoE did not have enough money nor any sources to raise the funds needed to pay the students over the vacation.

In passing judgment, the Special Appeals Board declared that “the refusal of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development to pay the applicants their allowances for June and July 2009 in terms of their respective loan agreements constituted a breach by the Government of its obligations under the said loan agreements”.

The declaration goes on to state that “the second to fifth applicants (being the UB SRC, Richard Khomoekae, Moiteelasilo Mbaki, Nico Selobilwe, Thato Lesetedi- who are all members of the UB SRC) were and remain , entitled to payment of such allowances”.
The MoE appeal was dismissed with costs.

The Judges who presided over the appeal were Justice of Appeal C.T Howe, M.M Ramodibedi and J.G Foxcroft.

Meanwhile the UB SRC Vice President, Nico Selobilwe, expressed gratitude at the final results of the case, saying that Justice had finally prevailed.
He said since no time line of the allowances to be payed to students was given by the Special Court of Appeal they intent to meet with the MoE to set dates which shall be within a 2-3-week period.

“If they fail to obey the court declaration, we will look for execution of court order and or even order a warrant of arrest to the respondents”.
Selobilwe urged the student community to help in raising the legal fees owed to Kanjabanga and Associates as, after all, the battle was fought to protect their rights.

So far the students have managed to pay P28,000 of the P50,000 owed.

With the agreement the two parties agreed to during the previous court hearing, Wednesday’s decision was final and unchallengeable.

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