Cape Town – The EFF is expected to demonstrate for the second time at Brackenfell High School today as the controversy over alleged racism at the institution intensifies.
The party has called for the heads of two teachers to roll after they went to a private matric function that was only attended by white pupils and their parents.
However, the provincial Education Department said its hands were tied as they “cannot take action against educators who were invited as guests and attended a private event which they did not organise and had no prior knowledge of the attendees”.
The EFF’s picket today follows demonstrations on Friday when the organisation gathered at the school and demanded that the two teachers as well as the principal be fired.
Their call follows black pupils saying they were neither informed nor invited to the event, which was organised by parents.
EFF Western Cape chairperson Wandile Kasibe claimed they were met with racism from some of the school community during the party’s demonstration on Friday.
“The event reproduced a space for segregation. The school has distanced itself from the event, but two teachers went. They must be fired.
“We are going to the school (today) to confront that racism,” Kasibe said.
At the demonstration last week, a car’s window was smashed, which Kasibe alleged was their vehicle.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said police were investigating malicious damage to property.
“The window of a vehicle belonging to one of the protesters was damaged. The circumstances are being investigated and a suspect is yet to be arrested,” Traut said.
A parent on the ball’s organising committee said she was growing tired of the fuss being made about the event, and she was now concerned about the stress pupils were under as they were writing their finals. She said the teachers were invited as “friends” of parents.
“A lot of lies are being spread about the event. It was a private event paid for by parents, and the teachers were invited as friends of ours,” she said.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department was aware of today’s expected picket and would be monitoring it closely.
She said the WCED cannot take action against teachers who were invited as guests. “The WCED has engaged with the school and learners and will continue to address the concerns that have been raised. No other reports of discrimination have been reported to the WCED this year.
“The WCED will also be monitoring the actions of the EFF (today). Matric learners are writing their NSC, so any disruption to these examinations could have negative consequences for all the learners,” Hammond said.
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has meanwhile said the kind of exclusion displayed publicly at Brackenfell High School existed at schools across the province, including at majority black and coloured schools.
SAHRC provincial commissioner Chris Nissen said they would approach the school to look at implementing diversity management programmes.
Following a call for the SAHRC to intervene, Nissen said a formal complaint would first go through the head office.
“We are concerned that this is happening, especially at schools where pupils are taught life skills on how to positively contribute to diversity in the country.
’’I have seen from doing diversity workshops that this happens across the board, it’s not just Brackenfell High.”