The WCED welcomes the decision by the court to allow proper representation
The Western Cape Education Department has been made aware of comments allegedly made in the media by the Heathfield HS SGB Treasurer, Mr Brandon De Kock, that the Labour Court has “granted Heathfield High school principal Mr Wesley Neumann an urgent court interdict to stop the Western Cape Education Department (WCED)'s disciplinary hearing against him” and that the Department would not oppose the interdict.
This is blatantly false and misleading.
Mr De Kock has evidently not read the court papers, or has misunderstood the contents.
Mr Brian Isaac’s subsequent statement that the Labour Court granted Mr Wesley Neumann an interdict against the WCED is similarly false.
Mr Neumann’s application to interdict his disciplinary proceeding for an indefinite period will still be heard. This was done by agreement between our lawyers and the lawyers for Mr Neumann. We therefore welcome the decision by the Labour court to postpone Mr Neumann’s court application. Mr Neumann served court papers only on Friday night, wanting the case heard this morning. He has been aware of the charges against him for over a month, but has filed at the last minute before his internal hearing. We thus had no opportunity to prepare papers opposing his claim. The postponement until 27 October 2020 will give us the opportunity to do so. We have therefore postponed his internal disciplinary hearing – which will be heard on the 28th of October.
It is therefore not true that the interdict was granted, nor is it true that we would not oppose it.
The interdict to postpone Mr Neumann’s disciplinary proceeding for an indefinite period will be opposed by the WCED. Mr Neumann is arguing that a decision regarding the legality of Mr Schreuder’ s contract must be made first, and thus his disciplinary postponed. The court has granted us time in order for us to file comprehensive papers to oppose Mr Neumann’s attempt to delay his disciplinary hearing.
Mr Neumann had an opportunity to engage with the Head of Department before disciplinary charges were brought against him. He did not take up this offer. He is now trying to avoid the disciplinary hearing after charges have been laid.
We also condemn the false statements made that Mr Neumann has been granted an interdict.
On the memorandum handover today and the participation of learners during school time:
It is disturbing to once again see learners taking part in protest action during school hours. The WCED was notified of the decision to handover a memorandum this morning, via email yesterday. The Head of Department wrote in reply to the SGB Treasurer that teachers are expected to be at school until 14:30, so therefore they should only come after 15h30. It was noted that the SGB had intended to instruct both learners and teachers as well as deputies to attend the memorandum handover during school time.
The Head of Department therefore requested that the handover should not detract from the educational priorities at the school and recommended that any delegation instructed or invited to attend such hand-over be limited to parties who do not have a duty to be in attendance at the school at that time.
This was evidently ignored.
We will review the contents of the memorandum. We will, however, not consider dropping the charges.
The WCED will continue to ensure that the law is fairly and evenly applied in this matter.