Education MEC to meet EFF on eve of fresh protest at Brackenfell High School

Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer and premier Alan Winde at Brackenfell High School in Cape Town on November 10 2020.
Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer and premier Alan Winde at Brackenfell High School in Cape Town on November 10 2020.
Image: Facebook/Premier Alan WInde

Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer says she will meet EFF officials on the eve of the party's planned anti-racism protest at Brackenfell High School on Friday.

The City of Cape Town has given permission for 100 EFF members to demonstrate at the school, where a party protest eight days ago ended in violent confrontations with Brackenfell residents and parents of pupils at the school.

The protest was sparked by a matric farewell event attended only by white pupils at the dual-medium school. The R500-a-head party was organised by parents after the school matric farewell was cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions.

In a statement on Tuesday, Schäfer said arrangements had been made for matrics writing their first physics paper on Friday morning to 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,” she said. “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.”

Schäfer said Friday's march was clearly an attempt to intimidate the school, and “is infringing on the rights of the learners who are writing exams, especially our matrics”.

She added: “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.”

The MEC and premier Alan Winde visited Brackenfell High after last week's protest. Winde called on the EFF not to escalate tensions by returning to the school.

On Tuesday, Schäfer said the school had committed itself to addressing the legitimate concerns of black pupils and parents.

“This will be a process and the EFF cannot conduct ongoing protests because their demands are not being met,” she said.

“I have scheduled a meeting with the EFF provincial representatives on Thursday to discuss their concerns regarding the school, in an attempt to reach a suitable understanding on the way forward.”

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