Lesufi tries to douse racism flames at Cornwall Hill College in Pretoria

Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi is visiting Cornwall Hill College in Pretoria to address racism concerns.
Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi is visiting Cornwall Hill College in Pretoria to address racism concerns.
Image: File / Alon Skuy

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is visiting Cornwall Hill College in Irene, Pretoria, on Monday following allegations of racism which last week resulted in a stand-off between parents and school officials.

“Some parents and pupils, past and present, have made allegations of racism against the school while others have embarked on a peaceful protest to voice their displeasure about the alleged racism,” Lesufi’s office said.

Last week, Sunday Times Daily reported that a group of about 15 parents held a silent protest at the Pretoria Country Club about the lack of transformation at the upmarket private school. The school had been holding its annual fundraising golf day where other parents were in attendance.

Ahead of Lesufi’s visit on Monday, a “protest programme” for the day was drawn up with plans for a demonstration set out. 

Lesufi was due to hear from a pupil and a parent and receive a memorandum of demands.

It is not the first time racism allegations have mushroomed at the school.

Last year, past and current pupils wrote testimonials about their experiences of racism and discrimination at the school and claimed their complaints had fallen on deaf ears.

In a letter to parents in July last year, executive principal Leon Kunneke acknowledged that “there are people in our school community who have experienced racism and/or discrimination at Cornwall Hill College and as a result have been hurt”.

“The board and management of the school wish to make our position very clear. Racism and prejudice are morally wrong, are contrary to our school’s values, and have no place in our school.”

He said the school “unreservedly apologises to all pupils, parents and staff members, past or present, who have experienced racism or any other form of discrimination at Cornwall Hill College”.

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