A far-right group’s activities at Rustenburg High School in North West are causing concern in the area.
A few weeks after the school was in the news about pupils who did the Nazi salute during a karaoke competition, a group calling itself the Vryburger movement marched on the school last week.
City Press’ sister publication Rapport is in possession of a video showing members of the group standing in front of the school shouting slogans advocating white supremacy. They also repeatedly do the Nazi salute.
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A parent told the publication that they were concerned about the presence of the men, who were holding a poster that read: “Stay white my people.”
The group also had a photo of Hendrik Verwoerd, widely regarded as the architect of apartheid.
The principal, Hennie Pieterse, said he was not aware of the group’s actions in front of the school. But a teacher, Gert Lindeque, said he had been in a meeting when a parent drew his attention to the group’s presence. Lindeque said he and another teacher had rushed outside.
Lindeque said they did not inform the parents of the incident and hoped it was an isolated case.
“We don’t want to wake sleeping dogs,” he said.
Bernhard Visser, chairperson of the school governing body, said the Vryburger movement was in no way connected with the school.
Independent crime analyst Johan Burger said there was enough legislation to prosecute groups that incited hatred in South Africa.
The Boeremag was a good example of a far-right organisation that had followed that path, said Burger.
According to the Vryburger movement’s website, its three goals are to “awaken the people, rebuild the people and free the people”.
Referring to the action at the school, the group said: “The pupils of Rustenburg High School are being intimidated by strangers in our own country, because they are proudly in favour of our closely related German culture. This is also how every white man is targeted throughout the world. It’s time to stand up for the truth.”
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In other entries on the group’s Facebook page, a South African flag is set on fire, with the message: “The rejection of the new South Africa is the first step towards our people’s freedom.”
Messages to the group’s leader, Johannes Agenbach, remained unanswered by the time of going to print.