10 arrested for Hoërskool Overvaal protest

2018-01-17 16:05
A member of the public is seen carrying a tire during the Hoërskool Overvaal protest on Wednesday morning. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

A member of the public is seen carrying a tire during the Hoërskool Overvaal protest on Wednesday morning. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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WATCH: Fire and chaos as EFF chant 'anti-boer' songs #HoërskoolOvervaal

2018-01-17 15:07

Stun grenades and violence have marred the first day of school at Hoërskool Overvaal, as people gathered to protest learners denied placement at the Afrikaans-medium institution. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg – Ten people have been arrested for public violence following protest action in front of Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging, Gauteng police confirmed on Wednesday afternoon. 

An estimated 100 protesters gathered in front of the high school after 55 pupils, to be taught in English, were denied access to the predominantly Afrikaans school, despite a Gauteng Department of Education directive. 

The school went to court to challenge the department's order.

READ: Overvaal school judgment shows judge is 'still craving for old apartheid order' - ANCYL

Gauteng police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said those arrested were in custody at the Vereeniging police station.

"Police are maintaining [a] high alert and surrounding the high school following violent protest action on Wednesday morning," Dlamini told News24. 

Dlamini did not wish to disclose the party affiliation of those arrested, but News24 understands that six EFF members and four ANC members were arrested. 

Eight people were injured when police opened fire on protesters on Wednesday afternoon. 

Stun grenades, rubber bullets fired

Dlamini said police had to fire the rubber bullets after protesters refused to disperse and started burning tyres.

"We waited for additional police personnel before we sought to disperse the protesters."  

News24 journalist Iavan Pijoos, who was at the scene, said police fired a stun grenade at the protesters, before firing rubber bullets. 

"One man was shot on the side of his face and immediately tumbled down," Pijoos said, while at the school.

In dramatic footage of the incident, the man’s friends can be seen placing a T-shirt on his head to control bleeding. 

A second video shows a crying woman seated near a car after a rubber bullet hit her in the hand. 

Pijoos said the woman was shot in an open field where police had driven the protesters. 

Both were quickly escorted by paramedics to nearby hospitals. 

Members of the public are seen burning a tire during the Hoërskool Overvaal protest on Wednesday morning. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)


'Very painful meeting'

In a statement, ER24’s Russel Meiring said eight people were injured during the clash with police officers. 

Besides the two who were taken to hospital, the six others had "declined transportation to a hospital", Meiring said.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the 55 pupils rejected by Hoërskool Overvaal had been placed in a nearby school. 

Lesufi, who was visiting the newly reopened Everest Primary School in Westbury, did not name the school the pupils were set to attend.

"I met with the parents [of the 55 pupils] yesterday. It was a long meeting, very painful meeting, but I'm glad that they agreed that we can locate those children from Overvaal and take them to a nearby school," Lesufi told journalists. 

"The sad thing, which is very painful and the parents raised with me, is that they don’t have money to transport children to that areas because Overvaal was closer to them. Now they have to budget and make other things," he added.

Read more on:    hoërskool overvaal  |  johannesburg  |  education  |  protests

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