A year since Eastleigh Primary in Edenvale sent a letter informing “all foreign parents” that their children would not be allowed onto school premises if they could not prove their documentation was in order‚ yet another school in Gauteng has threatened parents.
In a letter from Sunnyside Primary School in Pretoria‚ posted by Equal Education on Twitter on Friday‚ the school asks foreign parents to submit recent study permits‚ temporary or permanent resident permits‚ or any evidence that they have applied for permission to stay in the country.
“We‚ therefore‚ urge you to ensure that you submit those documents on or before 21 February 2018‚ after which‚ if no submissions are made‚ the school will alert both the department of home affairs and the South African Police Service of an illegal immigrant harboured‚ with the possibility of immediate deportation‚” the letter reads.
The school’s principal Miss LP Moetlo told TimesLIVE that she and other principals were told at a meeting that they would be held liable if they “harbour” illegal immigrants at schools.
“I am not sure where the directive comes from; whether it is from the department of education or home affairs‚” Moetlo said.
She said that‚ according to the directive‚ learners have to submit renewed permits on a annual basis.
Equal Education’s Daniel Linde said they would write to the school to inform leaders that the threat to remove learners from school‚ even if undocumented‚ is unconstitutional.
“A school may not refuse admission of a learner‚ or remove a learner‚ because of their status or because of their lack of documentation.
“There is no doubt that the right to basic education‚ which vests in everyone [not just documented South Africans] is covered‚” Linde said.
In February last year‚ Eastleigh Primary school sent out a letter informing “all foreign parents” that their children would not be allowed onto school premises if they could not prove their documentation was in order. The letter sparked fury after being circulated on social media.
According to Linde‚ Equal Education wrote to the school after the incident happened and the school retracted the letter. The organisation also wrote to the departments of home affairs and education to discuss the issue.
“We received no response to these letters‚ despite following up. That is why yesterday’s tweet says the state has not stepped in to deal with this situation‚” he said.
The departments of education and home affairs did not respond to TimesLIVE questions on Friday.
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