_: The public participation process for the proposed school closures has now come to an end. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) conducted public hearings in respect of each of the 27 schools currently being considered for possible closure. All written and oral representations made at each of the public hearings will be included in the record that is being prepared for the Minister to consider before he makes his final decision in each case.
We would like to thank all those who have contributed to this process.
Earlier this year, the Minister announced that he had decided to take the public participation process beyond the prescribed public hearing and called on every parent, learner, educator, and community member who has an opinion on the proposed school closures to share these with him before the end of August 2012.
We would therefore also like to thank the members of the public who have written to the WCED or the Minister direct.
The Minister has taken and will continue to take the issue of school closures very seriously. He has welcomed as many views on the proposed school closures as possible and has undertaken to consider these carefully before he makes his final decision in each case.
To assist the Minister in making the best decision possible in each case, the Minister will carefully consider the following:
all representations made by the school governing body concerned;
all written and oral representations made by members of the public who attended and made representations at the relevant public hearing; and
all representations from members of the public received over and above the prescribed public participation process.
The Minister has allocated sufficient time to ensure that he is in a position to consider all representations made before he makes his final decision in each case.
The Minister will consider each and every representation made to him in relation to the proposed school closures and make his final decisions with restraint and taking into account the interests of all concerned, particularly the children.
The Minister is expected to make his final decision in each case by the end of September/ beginning of October.