"We want a black teacher."
So shouted one of the black residents of Schweizer-Reneke on Thursday as the North West Education and Sport Development MEC, Sello Lehari, announced the suspension of a white teacher at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke.
The teacher was in charge of a class believed to have been racially segregated following a picture she took showing a group of white learners sitting together while their four black classmates sit at a small table near the door.
She had taken the picture on Wednesday and sent it to a WhatsApp group to show parents that things were still going well on the first day of schooling.
The picture, however, found itself on social media and left many shocked and disgusted. People on tweeter said it was unacceptable that even in 2019 black children were still being treated in that way.
Although other pictures were later also released on social media showing all the children integrated, the damage had already been done. Many were not moved, saying the pictures were taken only after the outcry and was the school's way of doing damage control.
The North West government had to intervene when the school started trending. Lehari and other officials rushed to the school to calm the waters and also get to the bottom of what was going on.
Before Lehari arrived at the school in the morning, community members and different political parties such as the DA, the ANC, EFF and SACP had also gone to the school where they staged a protest.
Worried, parents arrived and pulled their children out of school.
Lehari said they had to suspend the teacher with immediate effect to allow investigations to be done smoothly and fairly.
"The circuit manager will arrange another teacher to come to the school [on Friday] to ensure that the children are not disadvantaged," he said.