The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says it will not be taking any action against two Brackenfell High teachers who attended a matric event organized by matric parents, that was allegedly only attended by white pupils.
This, as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) called for swift action in probing the teachers’ conduct.
On Monday, members of the EFF protested outside Brackenfell High School demanding that the two teachers who attended the alleged “whites only” private event be suspended from the school.
This, following news reports and allegations on social media that black pupils were not invited to the privately held event.
“We were at the school [Brackenfell High School] to demand that the school and the education department suspends [sic] the two teachers that were involved in the incident,” EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego told News24 on Monday.
SAHRC’s Gushwell Brooks said the alleged holding of a “whites only” event, if true, was strongly condemned.
“The commission calls for swift action in investigating the conduct of the two teachers who allegedly attended the racially segregated matric event and the commission will play an appropriate role within its mandate to promote, protect and monitor human rights, coming out of this event.”
However, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said that no teacher would be suspended.
“The WCED cannot and will not take action against educators who were invited as guests and attended a private event, which they did not organize, and had no prior knowledge of the attendees,” said Schäfer.
According to the department, the event in question was privately organized, at a private venue, by private individuals.
“The school had nothing to do with the organization or management of that event.
“It was not supported, funded or endorsed by the school in any way,” added Schäfer.
On 11 September, the school wrote a letter to parents saying they had decided not to hold a matric dance.
Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the private party was organised by some parents for 42 pupils out of a group of 254 matriculants.
Brackenfell community members disputed the allegation of racism, saying that the event was open to all pupils, and those who could attend, did so.
Schäfer condemned residents and the EFF after some from both groups got involved in a confrontation. After heated exchanges and provocations, punches and rocks were thrown, while public order police moved to disperse the crowd that had gathered outside the school.
“Our learners are currently writing matric exams after a stressful and difficult year, and the EFF knows full well that this kind of confrontation will disrupt learning and cause unnecessary distress to our learners,” she said.
EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said the attacks were another confirmation “that racists are emboldened under the current regime”.
“All those white racists who have an uncontrollable desire to control the movement of black people, and dictate where we can and cannot go will be taught the humility we taught racists in Senekal,” Pambo said in a statement.
Brooks condemned the violent scenes which played out.
“Learners should not have been exposed to the violence and racial tensions that played out in front of their school,” he said.
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