On 6 August, the attorneys acting for the six public schools advised that the schools will NOT be appealing the judgment delivered by the Johannesburg High Court on 27 June 2017. This means that the judgment stands, and that (in terms of the declaratory order made by the Court) it is illegal for a public school:
- To promote or allow its staff to promote that it, as a public school, adheres to only one or predominantly only one religion to the exclusion of others; and
- To hold out that it promotes the interests of any one religion in favour of others.
Since this judgment will affect all 24,000+ public schools in South Africa, it is important both for public schools and religious practitioners or ministries working into public schools, to understand the practical implications. In this regard, see a blog prepared by FOR SA – http://forsa.org.za/ogod-judgment-what-now-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/.
Since the judgment, OGOD’s Hans Pietersen has delivered letters of demand on 29 more public schools across South Africa, demanding compliance with (his interpretation of) the OGOD judgment. As a result, some schools are turning away Christian ministries who have been working with them for some time.
However, neither this judgment nor the law prohibits religious observances per se. We therefore advise all public schools NOT to have a knee-jerk reaction based upon fear of non-compliance based upon what is typically a misunderstanding.
FOR SA has prepared a guideline for schools and religious practitioners or ministries working into schools, to advise what the OGOD judgment practically means and how they can make sure their religious policy or rules fall within the boundaries of the law. For a copy of the guideline, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) is dedicated to protecting and preserving the freedoms and rights that the South African Constitution has granted to the faith community. You can help FOR SA protect our freedom by:
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