Any single parent will tell you that raising a child is a mammoth task and that putting them through school is one of the toughest hurdles.

Well, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will provide some relief for single parents across South Africa.

The SCA has overturned a judgement by the Western Cape High Court that stipulated single parents must obtain the financial details of their former partners/spouses when applying for school fees exemption.

This comes after Cape Town resident Michelle Saffer was refused school fees exemption by Fish Hoek High School because she could not provide her ex-husband’s financial statements.  After the Western Cape High Court upheld the decision, she approached the SCA, which then ruled in her favour.

“The school required the fee exemption form to be completed by both Ms Saffer and her ex-husband. Ms Saffer had custody over her child and a difficult history with her former spouse. Because of this, she regarded it as unreasonable, humiliating and discriminatory,” said the The Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), which represented Saffer.

So whether separated or divorced, single parents’ fee exemption applications will now be processed in relation to their individual circumstances.

According to IOL, The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) welcomed the decision taken by the SCA, saying that the judgement from the Western Cape High Court placed a burden on single parents especially in cases where partners did not contribute, making it difficult for single parents to afford paying fees.