Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke. Photo: Molaole Montsho
TENSIONS were high outside Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North West yesterday when Education MEC Sello Lehari visited the school to receive a report on allegations of racism.

Schooling has been disrupted since last week after a picture went viral showing white and black pupils sitting at different tables in one classroom.

Lehari said the task team investigating allegations of racial segregation in a Grade R classroom had concluded its task pertaining to the school principal who was also accused of being racist.

Education spokesperson Freddy Sepeng yesterday said Lehari would brief media in Mmabatho today.

“Schooling has not taken place. The MEC has pleaded with parents to bring their children to school tomorrow (today). Teaching has to continue,” Sepeng said. Teacher Elana Barkhuizen who took the picture and sent it to a WhatsApp group remained on suspension, he added

On Tuesday, Lehari said that a task team would investigate all schools in the province so that racism can be dealt with in all institutions.

Meanwhile, the school governing body and parents in Eldorado Park south of Joburg are not backing down on their decision not to allow seven black teachers back to their school.

“We cannot and will not allow them back. They accused us of racism when they absconded and left our children without anyone to teach them,” a parent said.

Centre for Unity in Diversity director Zohra Dawood said “the integration of schools into a single, national department in 1994 was a high risk and its effects continue to be felt”.

“These strains manifest in debates around private versus public education (rich versus poor), the role of school governing bodies, role of home language on education outcomes, school leadership, and teacher qualifications.

“These concerns must be dealt with in a responsible way. Resorting to conclusions that might inflame tensions do not serve any purpose. The interests of children mustn't be held ransom by political interests."