The picture from Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke showing a group of white learners sitting together while their four black classmates sit at a small table near the door. Picture: Twitter

Johannesburg - Almost a week since a photo showing a segregated classroom at Laerskool Schwizer-Reneke went viral on social media, it is still unclear who had separated the children according to race.

While the teacher who had taken the picture was suspended last week after an outcry, the North West Department of Education said it was not getting co-operation from the school with information that could shed light as to what had happened.

The suspended teacher sent the picture to a WhatsApp group to show parents that things were still going well on the first day of schooling.

Spokesperson Freddy Sepeng said on Monday that the department had suspended the teacher for taking the picture as the classroom was a place to teach and not take pictures.

"There is evidence that she had taken the picture and she did admit that she took it. Even the school principal and the school governing body admitted that she was the one who took the picture.

"However, what we are trying to understand is who separated the children. We don't know if it was her or the class teacher but we are not getting the truth. There is something dodgy here. Even the principal as someone who is from the department and is supposed to assist is not doing that.

"Maybe she (the teacher) was the same person who separated the children and took the picture or it was someone else but we don't know because we are not getting the relevant information," Sepeng said.

MEC for Education in North West Sello Lehari, as well as other officials, were to descend on the school on Monday to get to the bottom of the issue.
Sepeng was confident that they would know who the culprit was before the end of the day.

Meanwhile, the wishes of the protesters who had gathered at the school the day after the picture went vital and asked that the suspended teacher be replaced with a black one may not get their wishes.

Sepeng said the department was not making decisions on the basis of people's emotions.

"We are still looking for a teacher and there are procedures to be followed, we can't work with people's emotions."

He said one of the teachers at the school was temporarily assisting by teaching that class while they are still looking for someone else.

The Star