Tensions high in Schweizer-Reneke ahead of North West education MEC's briefing

2019-01-16 13:19

Tensions have heightened in Schweizer-Reneke in the North West after members of the community used a mini-bus taxi to block the entrance to the Schweizer-Reneke Laerskool.

The group said they had decided to block the gate because they had been denied access to the school where North West education MEC Sello Lehari is expected to hold a media briefing later on Wednesday.  

Speaking on behalf of the group, Schweizer-Reneke resident Thami Moremi said they wanted to be addressed by the MEC.

"We want to be part of the press conference. Why is the media only allowed [and not us]? Whites here think they own this school.

"Why must we be denied access into the school? These security guards are provoking us. Some black parents are waiting outside because they are denied access to fetch their kids," said Moremi.

He threatened that if they continue to be denied entry into the school the group would enter the school by force.

Last week a photograph of black and white Grade R pupils seated separately went viral on social media, sparking an outrage on social media.

Teacher Elana Barkhuizen, who took the picture, was suspended after the image emerged. Another teacher who allegedly separated the children remains at the school. 

Black children being 'intimidated'

Barkhuizen has vowed to clear her name following the suspension. She is heading to court with the assistance of trade union Solidarity. 

The MEC is expected to give feedback following the department's investigation into the controversy. 

Young Communist League (YCL) member in the area Pule Ramabodu said the league wants the school to be shut down to allow investigations to go ahead without hindrance from teachers.

"We also want investigators to tackle transformation and rampant racism in this school.

"We always see security guards roaming the street armed with guns. 

"Guns are dangerous weapons and they symbolise violence and they are declaring war. Those guards are intimidating black children in the school."

He said the YCL was not happy with Barkhuizen's suspension. Ramabodu said Lehari should have instead suspended the principal and the teacher who separated children.

"The department of education in the province is failing us. We don't have hope in our basic education here in North West. Things are getting bad by the day under Lehari's watch," he said.

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Read more on:    sello lehari  |  mahikeng  |  racism  |  education
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