'At Hoërskool Overvaal we don't see race'

2018-01-19 16:51
Pierre Ronquest praying for community members. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Pierre Ronquest praying for community members. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg – "We don't see race at Hoërskool Overvaal, we see them as learners and they see each other as friends," said Pierre Ronquest of New Found Generation, a non-profit organisation that has been offering life coaching and skills to pupils at the school following protests around admissions. 

"It's a thing that we wanted from the start, that there would be unity. They should look each other in the eye and not see race or colour, but see friends," Ronquest said. 

Ronquest was speaking at the main gates of the high school. 

OPINION: The Constitution on trial: Hoërskool Overvaal

He said the safety of pupils was of utmost importance. 

"We help the kids to go through the trauma, because it is a traumatic event for them to come here and see people burning things and throwing things around. They are not used to it."

Earlier, Ronquest prayed for community members and urged them to remain calm and act out of love. 

27 arrested

A group of at least twenty protesters sang outside the school gates on Friday as police remained on high alert. 

On Thursday, protesters threw a petrol bomb at a police van. The group fled the scene but were soon arrested by police officers.

At least 27 protesters were arrested and are expected to appear in the Vereeniging Magistrate's Court on Friday afternoon. 

OPINION: Panyaza Lesufi: Language used as a 'false shield' for exclusion

They face charges of public violence and contravention of the Explosives Act.

Police arrested ten protesters on Wednesday, eight of whom received bail on the same day.

Two were denied bail.  

"The one who was found in possession of a firearm was denied bail, because he had other convictions. Both were however granted bail on Thursday," Dlamini said. 

Call for court's order to be respected

The protest was sparked by a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that set aside the decision by the Gauteng department of education to admit 55 learners, to be taught in English, into Hoërskool Overvaal, an Afrikaans medium school.

Judge Bill Prinsloo found in favour of Hoërskool Overvaal in that the school does not have the capacity to admit the additional learners. 

READ: South Africans react to #Overvaal fallout: 'It's time to knuckle down'

On Friday afternoon, school governing body chairperson Hardus Visagie told journalists they had gone to great lengths to make all relevant information available in their founding and answering affidavits on this matter. 

"There were extensive arguments and counter arguments between state advocate and council. All of these are on record and available to the public. There is nothing more to add than what was submitted in court," Visagie said. 

He urged all parties to respect the court order. 

"There is an appeal process to follow if you are not happy with the court order."

Read more on:    hoërskool overvaal  |  racism

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