In a rare show of unity, scores of ruling African National Congress (ANC) and opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members joined hands outside the Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging on Wednesday, protesting against the exclusion of non-Afrikaans-speaking learners at the school.
Mofokeng Tlhoriso, chairperson of the Overvaal Transformation Committee, told the African News Agency that despite a court ruling this week, which ruled in favour of the school’s controversial decision, the protesters were still hoping to have their children placed at the Afrikaans school.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was scheduled to speak to journalists at the nearby Riverside High School on Wednesday morning.
Lesufi on Monday said his department intended to appeal the judgment made by Judge Bill Prinsloo that 55 English-speaking learners could not be admitted at Hoërskool Overvaal due to capacity constraints.
“Let the Constitutional Court legalise racism, let the Constitutional Court say you are wrong in requesting our children just to study, sing and dance together. We are not asking for anything, we are saying let our children sing, dance and study together. If that is unlawful, let someone come and tell us why,” he said.
Parents of the learners who were denied access at the school had threatened to shut it down when it reopens on Wednesday.
“Away with racism away, no school on Wednesday. Down with racism down. We are tired of the agenda of white people,” they shouted inside the North Gauteng High Court on Monday.
Lesufi told the visibly upset parents that there was no need to be violent and assured them that, one day, their children will attend the school.
“I know we are emotionally hurt all of us, I know that this is a major setback for our transformation agenda, it’s a major setback for our struggle for a non-racial society, but as I said, ours is not for revenge, ours is for equality. I’m pleading with you, let’s not doing things that will embarrass our struggle for a better society,” Lesufi said to a sound of whistles and clap of hands from parents.
Warner Human, one of the legal representatives of the school, insisted that the school is not racist, but insisted that the department had not followed the right procedure.
“As you have seen in what has been shown by the judge, was that the school had on its side made earnest attempts to show that there is no physical capacity. There is material shortcoming on the side of the department,” he said.
He further said the school doesn’t promote racism.
– African News Agency (ANA)