Plea for dialogue as Ramaphosa denounces violence at Brackenfell school
President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the confrontation outside Brackenfell High School in Cape Town as deeply regrettable, calling for people to act with greater decorum.
On Monday, a group of parents from the school attacked EFF members, who were protesting against alleged racism at the school.
The incident was sparked by a matric ball that was hosted privately, after the school had cancelled the annual event because of Covid-19.
An event was organised, at a venue that could accommodate 100 patrons out of the 250 matric pupils, Sowetan sister publication, TimesLIVE reported previously. Visuals of the event appeared to show it was attended by exclusively white pupils. In total, 72 tickets were sold for R500 each.
“At this most important and difficult time for matriculants, not only at Brackenfell High School but around the country, the spectacle of parents and protesters coming to blows at the school gate is deeply unfortunate,” said Ramaphosa.
“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.”
Western Cape premier Alan Winde and education MEC Debbie Schäfer visited Brackenfell high school on November 10 2020 after protests outside the school premises led to violent confrontations a day earlier. A group of about fifty community members stood nearby the blocked road to the school. On November 9 2020, EFF members were protesting against alleged racism at the school when a violent confrontation ensued between them and a group of community members.
Ramaphosa highlighted the spectre of racial divisions.
“What happened [on Monday] brings back hurtful memories of a past we should never seek to return to,” he said.
The president said that allegations of racism levelled against the school needed to be urgently investigated.
“We should be ever mindful of the extent to which our actions, both publicly and in private, undermine the cherished principle of nonracialism upon which our democracy was founded,” Ramaphosa said.
The EFF has said it intends returning to Brackenfell on Tuesday, to enforce a shutdown in the area. “They have pushed us, and they must be prepared to be pushed back harder,” the party said in a statement.
Ramaphosa called on all parties concerned to exercise restraint and to resolve their differences peacefully and through dialogue.
“We should not allow what has transpired at Brackenfell High School to be used by any groupings who want to cause racial polarisation.”
LISTEN | Plea for dialogue as Ramaphosa denounces violence at Brackenfell school
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