Religion in Schools

Background to the court case

In the September 2014 the “Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie” instituted legal proceedings in the Johannesburg High Court against six public schools.  Rather significantly, the schools targeted by the Applicant all affirm a Christian ethos/value system as basis for achieving a flourishing school environment. The Court has effectively been asked to order that Christianity be removed and banned from the schools. This is indeed a watershed case for religious freedom in South Africa and is likely to end up in the Constitutional Court.

Current events

  • From 15 – 17 May 2017 the matter will be heard in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg).
  • From 28 February – 15 May 2017 our legal team will be preparing for the court hearing. We will consider the other five parties’ written legal arguments and prepare our oral submissions. Our legal team consists of two advocates (one senior and one junior), two attorneys and one researcher.
  • Cause for Justice filed its written legal arguments at court on 28 February 2017. You can view our Heads of Argument here.
  • To read our Media Briefing, click here for the English version and here for the Afrikaans version.

CFJ  argues in favour of a school system that tolerates diversity of religious practices and views, and against a system that is essentially secular, denying all but agnostic or atheistic views in the life of a school.

The South African constitutional structure allows for the state to support and promote a variety of religious and irreligious views fairly and equitably.

CFJ acknowledges that accommodating religion in schools in a manner that ensures that the dignity and beliefs of all involved is respected, may at times not be an easy task.  But the answer is not to jettison religion – and along with it the enriching role that religious belief and practice play within the school environment.

We will keep you posted on developments in this crucial religious freedom case. As always we thank you for your continued support and interest in our endeavours.


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