President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken out following a clash between members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party and residents of Brackenfell. In a statement, he called the incident “deeply regrettable”, and has requested that all parties involved act responsibly.
On Monday, November 9 a violent confrontation broke out between a group of parents from Brackenfell High School and members of the EFF. The EFF members were protesting against alleged racism at the school.
The school came under scrutiny following an incident where a group of Afrikaans-speaking parents allegedly organised an unofficial matric ball for white students only after the school cancelled the official dance due to COVID-19 regulations.
The school is also being probed by the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) after it emerged that no black teachers had been employed by the school since 1994.
In a statement, President Ramaphosa called for urgent investigation into allegations of racism levelled against the school. He also said that while citizens have the right to protest, people must do so respectfully.
“At this most important and difficult time for matriculants not only at Brackenfell High School but around the country, the spectacle of parents and protestors coming to blows at the school gate is deeply unfortunate,” President Ramaphosa said.
“It is the right of every South African to engage in peaceful protest, and any actions to suppress the right to freedom of expression, particularly through violence and intimidation, must be roundly condemned. What happened today brings back hurtful memories of a past we should never seek to return to.
He continued: “We should be ever mindful of the extent to which our actions, both publicly and in private, undermine the cherished principle of non-racialism upon which our democracy was founded. We should not allow what has transpired at Brackenfell High School to be used by any groupings who want to cause racial polarisation.”