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Transforming Society

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Restoring Dignity

Department slammed for 'racialising' school protest

11 October 2017

The Gauteng Department of Education has been accused of racialising the ongoing protests that have plagued Klipspruit West Secondary School in recent months.
This emerged yesterday on the first day of the South African Human Rights Commission’s investigative hearing into racism allegations at the Soweto school and unrest in Eldorado Park.
The SAHRC convened the four-day hearing following complaints it received on the matter.

Klipspruit West made headlines after a protest erupted over the hiring of a black principal in July. It was believed the largely coloured community wanted a coloured as principal.
The conflict also exposed racial tensions among black and coloured teachers.

The first day focused on submissions from community members and local organisations, including the Patriots for Equality, the Greater Eldorado Park Business Forum and the SAPS.
Among the first to make submissions was Patriots for Equality leader Anthony Williams, who rejected allegations that race had played any part in the protests at the school.

“This is not the heart of the issue there are a lot of factors and part of these are historical factors that have never been dealt with. We need to look into historical issues, which we call structural issues, that address how South Africa was built, and how various communities were built.”
The community leader blasted the provincial Education Department for twisting the issue and turning it into a racial one. “The Gauteng Department of Education has to take full responsibility for the media narrative that coloured people are racist, especially in the case of Klipspruit West, where MEC Panyaza Lesufi endlessly went on a frenzy, labelling us as racist.”
Adding to this was Greater Eldorado Park Business Forum’s Charis Pretorius, who said that at the heart of the protests in Eldorado Park was the marginalisation of the coloured community and the government’s failure to address housing issues since 1994.
Speaking of the protest at Klipspruit West, Pretorius said this was staged in reaction to the dissatisfaction at the selection process used in the appointment of a new principal.
“When it comes to the appointment of the principal, we did not care what colour he/she was, we were merely concerned by the process taken in appointing a new head.
“We are questioning that certain processes were not followed when it came to the training of the school governing body. We also questioned how a person who had never been at the school had been considered for the position.”

The hearings continue.

Source: IOL

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