EFF demands charges be dropped against Maritzburg College pupils

2017-10-14 20:30
EFF leader Julius Malema with the party’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. (File, Gallo Images)

EFF leader Julius Malema with the party’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. (File, Gallo Images)

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Johannesburg – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have rallied behind Maritzburg College pupils, saying the school must drop the charges against them with immediate effect.

"We demand that they drop their reactionary and unconstitutional charges with immediate effect or face the full might of our mass power," EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said on Saturday.

"The black child has a freedom to express their thoughts anywhere in this county without any fear or favour," said Ndlozi.

The party was responding to a photograph of the pupils at the prestigious school, which had made rounds on social media, showing pupils displaying shirts with slogans in support of the EFF.

The pupils landed in hot water and are purportedly facing a disciplinary hearing for their conduct.

The department of education meanwhile has confirmed it has received requests to investigate the school for allegations of racism.

Charges 

The learners are facing six charges, which were circulated on social media on Saturday. It included allegedly contravening the South African Schools Act of 1996, as well as engaging in acts that are deemed serious misconduct for learners in public schools, and breaching the school’s code of conduct and social media policies.

According to the charge sheet, shared by Tumi Sole, the hearing will take place on the October 21, at 08:00.

The first three charges are related to the learners having "engaged in party-political activities during school hours by supporting or displaying insignia, alternatively party regalia of a known political party, namely the EFF".

The fourth and fifth charges relate to the learners having taken "pictures of a political nature that contain speech that is considered to be a threat or act of violence towards learners, educators, members of staff and any other person on school property," as well as "pictures of a political nature that contain speech that is considered to be racial, alternatively racially charged".

'Apartheid thinking' 

Ndlozi said, "We reject this as pure apartheid, Nazi and colonial thinking on the part of the school. In our democracy, there is no bylaw, rule or school code of conduct that must be inconsistent with our supreme law of the land; the Constitution.

"Maritzburg High, by charging our young fighters, is in direct violation of the Constitution. It is offending their rights to freedom of expression."

Ndlozi said, "The young men have not killed anyone, stolen anything or caused any physical harm. They have simply expressed an idea and by suppressing them, the school is not only anti-intellectual but also scared of the truth.

"By charging them, the school is seeking to guarantee protection to the reactionary and anti-black racists who refuse to see blacks as equals and as rightful owners of the land. The school is dancing to white supremacist tunes, thus reproducing itself as hostile to our democratic order."

Ndlozi said the pupils should be allowed to focus on their exams without any disciplinary hearing hanging over their heads.

The front desk of the school could not be reached by News24 after multiple attempts on Saturday.

Read more on:    maritzburg college  |  eff

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