The Mpumalanga High Court (Mbombela) has ruled that the case against a school accused of unfairly discriminating against a learner who disclosed she had a same-sex lover should be re-enrolled at the Equality Court and heard to finality, says a report in The Star.

King’s School, located in White River, faced an allegation that it violated the Promotion of Equality & Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

The mother of a minor learner identified as ‘S’ launched proceedings at the Equality Court against the school. Her move followed a meeting in which principal Marick Coetzee asked her to take her child home.

Coetzee showed the mother a letter written by ‘S’, in which she disclosed her sexual orientation and that she was dating a girl.

She alleged that Coetzee told her the learner needed to go home because she needed motherly love to heal.

Coetzee then allegedly advised that she would assist with a transfer letter for ‘S’ to find a school close to home.

The mother approached the High Court to appeal an absolution order granted by the Equality Court.

This contested absolution order favoured the school’s bid for dismissal of the mother’s application on grounds that she did not depose sufficient evidence.

The court effectively found that the mother did not make out a prima facie case of discrimination.

Acting Judge Denise Greyling-Coetzer set aside the Equality Court’s absolution order.

According to The Star, she found that the mother’s evidence could present a prima facie case and convince the Equality Court to find in her favour.

‘What the appellant (the mother) thus had to show was that ‘S’ was treated differently from other learners based on or as a result of her sexual orientation,’ said Greyling-Coetzer.

She said the school acted against ‘S’ in response to the letter, and that ‘S’ was treated differently from other learners due to her sexual orientation.

She referred the matter back to the Equality Court.

Full report in The Star

Judgment