CHAMPS: The Groote Schuur Primary School drummies were crowned the overall winners of the first Western Province Cheerleading Competition last week. Picture: Fuad Esack

Raphael Wolf

COMPLAINTS by neighbours about the volume of music played when the province’s best drum majorettes practise at Groote Schuur Primary are motivated by racism, the school alleged yesterday.

The team were crowned overall winners of the first Western Province Cheerleading Competition last week.

Yesterday the school’s drum majorette committee chairperson, Naboe Grainger, and school governing body chairperson Roger Ward said they were concerned that one neighbour in particular had been very abrupt and racist towards them and the team.

After 11 residents complained about the noise last year, the school called in an acoustic engineer, who advised them to keep the music below 60 decibels, which they did.

However, one of the neighbours complained again.

“What has been troubling is the way (the neighbour) approached our girls, coaches and parents when she and her husband barge on to the field when our girls practise.

“She has been disrespectful and disconnected our sound speaker to prevent our girls from continuing with their practising,” said Grainger.

“On one occasion we found it very disturbing when (the neighbour) expressed her disgust loudly in front of her daughter that there were only blacks and coloureds in the team and not one white girl.”

Ward agreed, saying he had received complaints via SMS and verbally from the neighbour, while other complaints to the school had no names attached.

A legal consultant for the drum majorettes committee, Mike de Nobrega, said not all the neighbours of the 80-year-old school had an issue with the sound levels when the team practised on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. “It is specifically one person.”

Grainger said the complaints first surfaced last year, after which the City notified the school that it was breaching a noise by-law.

The school then initiated a meeting between itself, its SGB, the majorettes committee, local residents, Mayco member for finance Ian Iverson and other representatives.

“It became evident it is not all the neighbours complaining,” said Grainger.

The school approached an acoustics engineer, who measured the sound levels and advised them to keep the sound level below 60 decibels to not breach the by-law, she added.

“We complied. But two weeks ago we received complaints from the same neighbour and she said she had approached the council, who (allegedly) said they will measure the sound again,” Grainger said.

Ward said the school did not want to be antagonistic towards anyone, but accommodated all its neighbours by allowing them access to its facilities, such as its sports field and braai facility.

The principal, Jeffrey Arendse, said the school and residents had to become partners in finding common ground in the interest of the pupils, who should be allowed to achieve and excel in life.

Established five years ago, they won the provincial Champs of Champs in 2013 and 2014, and some received their national colours from the SA Majorettes Association.

Last weekend the team were crowned overall winners of the first Western Province Cheerleading Competition.

Yesterday, the neighbour acknowledged that she had complained, saying: “But I wasn’t the only one.”

Asked about the alleged racism, she said: “I categorically deny this. The allegations are entirely false.”

She threatened to sue the Cape Times if the story was published.