A matric said the school should have been aware about how the event would come across: “The reason this is such a hard thing for us to swallow is because these racist incidents have been building up.” Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency
A matric said the school should have been aware about how the event would come across: “The reason this is such a hard thing for us to swallow is because these racist incidents have been building up.” Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency

Masquerade ball was a private function not matric farewell, insists Brackenfell High SGB

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Nov 12, 2020

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Cape Town – In a letter to parents, the governing body of Brackenfell High School has defended the recent event, which has sparked outrage and led to a violent clash between residents and the EFF.

The EFF had been protesting against alleged racism at the school, after reports of a whites-only Masquerade Ball.

As the EFF descended on the school to protest the event, a group of predominantly white men, armed with baseball bats and stones, attacked the protesters.

Prior to the clash, the school governing body (SGB) addressed parents in a letter signed by the chairperson Dr Guillaume Smit and principal Jannie Muller which stated “it is actually wrong to refer to the function as a matric farewell”.

“This leaves the impression that it was an official function of Brackenfell High School, and it was not. The governing body decided several months ago that the school will not organise a matric farewell function, as the risk of the Covid-19 pandemic is too great. The masked ball, referred to as a matric farewell, was a private party organised by the parents of matriculants, and did not fall under the control of the school at all,” the SGB said.

The SGB corroborated media reports that at this particular function only 42 out of a group of 254 matrics were present.

“The function was held on a private venue and not at the school, as certain allegations claim. The governing body and staff of Brackenfell High School therefore distance themselves from any allegations that Brackenfell High School will condone or accommodate any events that are exclusively reserved for certain groups, and especially racial groups.”

Earlier in the week a resident and parent Jay J Kotze said that the party invitation was open, and shared with all relevant people.

“The party was a private event that was planned by parents for their children in matric. It was open to only 100 learners, due to Covid-19 regulations, and a fee of R500 was charged.

“It was not a whites-only party and a number of children of colour attended. The school is not racist and does not deserve to go through so much unnecessary drama because a parent felt a certain way. The EFF is opportunistic and needs to stop blowing things out of proportion,” said Kotze.

The SGB stressed the school was an inclusive, integrated school. The school had also appealed to parents and residents to distance themselves from any violent behaviour.

"We kindly request that our parents please do not behave in any way that will put the school under more pressure. No matter how difficult it may be, we should try to stay calm at all times. Let us give the police and security the necessary space to do their job and not make their work difficult through our actions.“

LETTER TO PARENTS - 8 NOV 2020 (Framed blue) BRIEF AAN OUERS - 8 NOV 2020 (Swart geraam)

Posted by Hoërskool Brackenfell High onSunday, 8 November 2020

The EFF has since the violent clash on Monday laid charges against residents. Provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said members would not be physically following the case.

On Tuesday, Xego accompanied a group of EFF members to lay charges against those who attacked them during their demonstration.

The SGB also failed in its bid to obtain an urgent court interdict in the Western Cape High Court to prohibit the EFF from holding any further protests outside the school.

The EFF opposed the application.

No urgent interdict was granted, and the application was postponed until Monday to allow the EFF to file its papers on Friday.

The matter was heard before Judge Siraj Desai who accepted the undertaking from the EFF it wouldn’t impede on the current exams held at the school.

* Additional reporting by Nomalanga Tshuma.

Cape Argus

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