Education official apologises for racist rant, but he’s not off the hook yet

2013-09-28 09:14

Investigations into allegations of hate speech by a senior Limpopo education official will continue, despite his apology, the provincial education department has said.

“We are concluding the investigations and it should be put on record that this apology doesn’t stop the internal processes,” spokesman Phuti Seloba said yesterday.

He said although the matter was in the public domain, Dr Ntavhanyeni Phaswana would not be publicly tried.

Phaswana, who is the circuit manager of the Vhembe education district, apologised on Thursday.

The Democratic Alliance laid a charge of hate speech against him because of an address he made to Grade 12 pupils.

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the... [education MEC] Dikeledi Magadzi, the HOD [head of department], senior management and all my colleagues,” Phaswana said in a statement issued on Thursday.

He also apologised to pupils and their parents, and said as a circuit manager it was expected of him to display the highest professional standards and ethics at all times.

“As an adult professional, I should not have allowed my emotions to go out of hand, irrespective of the cause. I have erred. I am now asking for forgiveness from everyone affected. It will never happen again,” he said.

The DA laid the charge on September 9 at the Musina Equality Court.

DA Limpopo education spokesperson Desiree van der Walt said she had provided the court with the recording of Phaswana’s address.

“I sent the clip to the court last week Wednesday and we are now waiting to hear the way forward,” she said.

DA provincial spokesperson Lunga Bodlani said it had not received any correspondence from Phaswana and would let the case take its course.

“We believe precedence must be set to deter anyone else from doing such in future,” he said.

In the audio recording, Phaswana was apparently heard telling pupils the people who collected their scripts after exams were “k*****s”.

“So all those k*****s that come to collect your [exam] questionnaires, they bring them to me. I can do anything I want to with those questionnaires,” he allegedly said.

He also allegedly said pupils should not call water balloons “bombs”, because they did not know what bombs were, and that he had bombs from Russia.

He invited the pupils to his office to see his 10-year-old son, whom he was teaching to shoot.

As the address continued, Phaswana, who is also a reverend of the Lutheran Church, apparently told the pupils he could de-register them without anyone saying anything.

Van der Walt previously said the recording indicated Phaswana preached hate speech.

“This is clearly not a language that our learners should be subjected to. Dr Phaswana, as a senior department official, must uphold the law,” she said.

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