A total of 100 members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are expected to gather and protest outside Brackenfell High School on midday Friday, November 20.
Permission was granted by the City of Cape Town, and the Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schäfer has asked for there to be calm and consideration for the best interest of the learners.
The EFF has protested at the school on several occasions in past weeks following allegations of racism at the school, and while the party is allowed to protest for a valid reason, Schäfer requests that they do so “responsibly”.
“This is clearly an attempt to intimidate the school, and is infringing on the rights of the learners who are writing exams, especially our matrics. Our learners have been subjected to unprecedented events this year and anxiety and stress levels are high. This behaviour is going to add to that pressure,” said Schäfer in a statement.
The EFF is expected to protest off school grounds, and the residents of Brackenfell have also been requested not to gather at the school or to engage with members of the party.
“I call on Brackenfell residents not to gather at the school with a view to engaging in altercations. Any action that would escalate tensions further will make it harder for law enforcement authorities to do their jobs. Please do not take the law into your own hands,” she said.
“We are in contact with the school, SAPS and the city’s law enforcement services to ensure that order is maintained and our learners and staff are safe. There is also private security to ensure that no harm comes to the school or its learners. Arrangements have been made to ensure that the matrics writing Physical Sciences Paper 1 on Friday morning can do so without disruption. All Grade 8 to 11 exams will be rescheduled, but the school will remain open and classes for learners will continue,” Schäfer said.
Schäfer will also be meeting with the EFF provincial representatives on Thursday, November 19 to discuss their concerns regarding the school, in an attempt to try and reach a suitable understanding on the way forward.
“It is important that legitimate concerns of people at the school, particularly people of colour, are addressed. The school has committed to doing so, long before this recent incident. They have already put in place processes earlier this year to ensure that the school is more inclusive, as set out in their statement last week. This will be a process and the EFF cannot conduct ongoing protests because their demands are not being met,” she concluded.