Johannesburg - The North West education department has launched an investigation into alleged racism at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke, departmental spokesperson Freddy Sepeng said on Wednesday.
"We are not sure whether is fake or real, if it's real we are condemning it, we say not during this era, we cannot really accept it. Tomorrow [Thursday] the [member of the executive council] MEC [Sello Lehari] will visit the school at nine o' clock," Sepeng said.
A photo showing a small group of black children sitting at a separate table away from white children at the school went viral on social media and raised the ire of political parties.
In a statement on Wednesday, the National Freedom Party (NFP) called for the shutdown of the school saying it strongly condemned the racist segregation of learners.
"These private schools tendencies of segregating learners based on the colour of skin is against the principles of the democratic South Africa we live in today," said Sabelo Sigudu, the spokesperson for the NFP.
NFP blamed the government which it said neglected public and rural schools.
"As a result, blacks including coloured and Indian people have no option but to take their children to such racist private schools for better education," said Sigudu.
The party said the deterioration in public schools was "directly leading the country to the apartheid era".
"The barbaric conduct displayed by private schools of racial segregating children is equally the same as giving innocent children experience of an apartheid system," said the NFP, which urged the [African National Congress] ANC-led government to ensure that it improves the conditions and quality of education at public schools.
The party also urged witnesses to expose all incidents of "racist private schools" so that they can be shut down.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) also condemned the incident.
"The DA strongly condemns the alleged separation of black and white learners in a Grade R classroom at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in North West. It is outrageous that a classroom in 2019 can be racially segregated, which only serves to teach young children from day one to see each other as different and separate. This is unconscionable," said Luyolo Mphithi, Federal DA Youth Leader.
"It is for this reason, I will travel to Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke tomorrow [ Thursday] to demand answers as to how young learners were allegedly exposed to this situation. We hope that the school staff is ready and willing to address this issue immediately and to make a commitment to change outdated attitudes toward integration."
African News Agency (ANA)