Action against College trio on hold pending probe

2017-10-17 13:45

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Disciplinary action against the three Maritzburg College pupils over their public support for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been put on hold.

This was confirmed by KZN Education Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi on Monday following a meeting with the school governing body and management. Mahlambi said the disciplinary action was postponed while the Department of Education launched a full-scale investigation into multiple allegations of racism at the school.

The boys appeared on a twitter post holding T-shirts supporting the EFF.

“Our position is that we will put all other processes on hold ... we are launching a full-scale investigation into the school, following other reports of alleged racism,” said Mahlambi. He said a departmental team would investigate the allegations.

The school had threatened the three pupils with disciplinary action after the picture went viral on social media at the weekend.

Maritzburg College charged the three matriculants with acting in violation of the Schools Act. They were expected to attend a disciplinary hearing on October 21 on five counts of serious misconduct, including taking pictures of images considered to be racially charged.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said it was within the rights of the three pupils to express their political views.

“It is within their constitutional right to express their political views. The [relevant] section should be interpreted narrowly. You can’t interpret it in a way that will be a breach of the Constitution,” said De Vos.

“All it is saying is a political party should not be allowed to go onto the school premises to try and indoctrinate children. You cannot interpret it so broadly that it encompasses any kind of expression of political support by pupils.”

He said if it does indeed prohibit individual people from expressing their views, the court would declare it unconstitutional because it is too broad.

Speaking to The Witness, a parent of one of three pupils said she was shocked when the school said they would be charging her son. “It was a shockwave to my system,” the parent said.

“For the past five years I have never been summoned to the office because of his behaviour. He is a well-mannered boy and one of the top pupils at the school.”

She said she was glad that the school had been ordered to stop action against the pupils. “It has been a very hectic weekend for my son. I had to assure him that this will pass because he has not killed anyone or stolen anything. This is a crucial time and I am very concerned. He has been subjected to the media because this story has gone viral.”

Security guards were present at Maritzburg College on Monday morning, apparently in anticipation of possible protests.

Read more on:    eff  |  pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg college

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