Cape Town – A 39-year-old suspect has been arrested for public violence after shots were fired during a clash between EFF protesters and residents outside Brackenfell High School on Monday.
Public order police and other law enforcement agencies had to restore order, Western Cape police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said. The suspect was initially charged with attempted murder, but it’s believed he had only an imitation firearm.
Rwexana said no injuries were reported and no other arrests have been made. The police are monitoring the situation and Frans Conradie Drive and Paradys Road have been closed.
'’It is alleged that a member of the public fired shots. A case of public violence was opened for investigation,“ Rwexana said.
’’A 39-year-old suspect that is yet to be processed was arrested. Police took action to disperse the crowd, no injuries were reported and no other arrests were effected at this stage.
“Police will remain in the area until law and order is restored.’’
EFF members were accused of throwing stones and sticks at residents who were blocking their entry.
In an African News Agency (ANA) video, residents could be seen running towards the protesters, pelting them with objects, asking them “what are you doing here” and telling them that they needed to leave immediately. A fight then breaks out and mayhem ensues.
When police arrive at the scene of the fighting, a stun grenade is fired and incensed residents shout for the EFF protesters to be arrested as order is restored. The EFF continued with their protest further away as insults are hurled at them.
The EFF, who also protested on Friday, demanded two Brackenfell High teachers and the principal be fired after the teachers had attended a private matric function that was only attended by white pupils and their parents.
Black pupils said they were neither informed nor invited to the function. While the school has distanced itself from the event, the EFF says it must accept some responsibility because of the teachers’ attendance.
The Western Cape Education Department has said that it could not take action against anyone because it was a private party.
The department is, however, investigating allegations that the school may be guilty of racism in its staffing practices. Currently, the school has two coloured teachers on its staff of 40 educators. No black teachers have reportedly been employed at the school since 1994.
A Brackenfell resident, when asked before the EFF arrived if he thought things are going to turn violent, said: ’’This is absolutely disrespectful. To protect the school, that is why we are here.
“The EFF will not come in Brackenfell and disturb our country. Die EFF gaan nie kom moeilikheid maak in Brackenfell nie (The EFF won’t come and cause trouble in Brackenfell).”
Neil de Beer, leader of the United Independent Movement (UIM), who was asked by parents to get involved, said outside the school before Monday’s protest: ‘’I want this to be understood. The people of Brackenfell, as I know them, are not racist. This is not a racial issue, this is an issue of the rights of children to be in peace.’’
De Beer said he had entered a plea on behalf of the UIM on Friday to the Speaker of Parliament, Thandi Modise, to form a judicial inquiry against EFF members, who took an oath of office to protect this constitution but are “in breach’’. He said they should be reprimanded and removed from Parliament.
Brackenfell resident Richard Collins, who was there in support of all the children, said: “I am a father myself, my daughter matriculated last year. I can just imagine what this is doing to the children, especially having to write exams.
“They must be intimidated, some must be in fear of their lives, especially the Grade 8s, it’s uncalled for, it is unnecessary about somebody who just wants to be plain stupid if I can call it that.’’