'Nazi salute' pic: SAHRC steps in over matric photo row at Somerset West Private School

2019-08-07 19:52


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it will conduct a preliminary investigation into Somerset West Private School after a photo emerged of three matric pupils allegedly making "Nazi salutes".

Speaking to News24, SAHRC commissioner Andre Gaum, who is responsible for basic education, said it had not received a formal complaint but that it would "assess [the situation] and investigate the facts".

"[We will] then we will come up with the necessary approach to deal with it, which can take various forms - it can be in the form of a directive, it can also be alternative dispute resolution or we could take the matter to the Equality Court," Gaum added.

He said the SAHRC would make an assessment on the matter and how to take the issue forward.

Earlier on Wednesday, the school released a statement after the incident caused outrage on social media. 

The school said the pose was actually a "Roman salute", News24 reported.

The school's principal, CM Coezter, said in the statement: "We do not promote or support any particular political or religious views. Learners are encouraged to develop as individuals, think freely and to express themselves freely, provided that such expression does not impair the dignity of others.

"It has come to our attention that there have been objections to a matric photo where some learners give what appears to be a Roman salute. While we don't believe that the learners intended to offend anyone, we have removed the photograph from the website."

After News24 enquired about the photo, the school took it down.

Outrage over the photo was evident on social media.

Twitter user Luke Waltham tweeted: "This is seriously harmful and concerning since this salute is full of hate and bigotry. South Africa, we need to do more. We must make it known that we do not accept Nazism at all."

Guy McDonald also tweeted, "How is this an acceptable cover photo for your website Somerset West Private School? Or are you indeed Nazi empathisers?"

Note: The faces of the pupils have been obscured because News24 abides by the SA press code,which states that in the spirit of the Bill of Rights, minors (aged 18 and under) cannot be identified without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    sahrc  |  cape town  |  education

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.