Brackenfell High: Exams rescheduled ahead of EFF protest, MEC calls for calm

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Brackenfell High School will be the scene of protesting on Friday, the EFF says.
Brackenfell High School will be the scene of protesting on Friday, the EFF says.
Jenni Evans, News24
  • Exams for Grades 8 to 11 at Brackenfell High School will be rescheduled ahead of a planned protest by the EFF.
  • Arrangements are under way to ensure the matrics writing Physical Sciences that morning "can do so without disruption", MEC Debbie Schafer said.
  • The EFF on Tuesday warned that, come Friday, it would "descend and ensure that nothing operates".

Examinations for Grades 8 to 11 at Brackenfell High School will be rescheduled ahead of a planned protest by the EFF on Friday.

Arrangements have also been made to ensure that the matrics writing Physical Sciences that morning "can do so without disruption", Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said.

The school will remain open and classes will continue, she confirmed in a statement.

She said the EFF has been granted permission by the City of Cape Town for 100 members to protest outside the school from midday on Friday.

READ | Brackenfell High: EFF vows disruptions on Friday

"This is clearly an attempt to intimidate the school, and is infringing on the rights of the learners who are writing exams, especially our matrics.

"Our learners have been subjected to unprecedented events this year and anxiety and stress levels are high. This behaviour is going to add to that pressure," Schafer said.

Protesting on the school property is prohibited by the South African Schools Act, and protesters are expected to remain off the school grounds.

"We are in contact with the school, SAPS and the City's law enforcement services to ensure that order is maintained and our learners and staff are safe. There is also private security to ensure that no harm comes to the school or its learners."

READ | Matric 2020: Maths paper 2 leaks

The EFF on Tuesday warned that, come Friday, it would "descend and ensure that nothing operates".

"We did say that the terror attacks in Brackenfell will not go unanswered," it tweeted from its official Twitter account.

"They have pushed us, and they must prepare to be pushed harder."

The action comes after violence broke out in the streets surrounding Brackenfell High last Monday between locals and EFF supporters on their way to the school to stage a protest, following a private matric party attended by only white pupils.

The school's official matric dance was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the event had been planned by a group of parents.

The school has maintained that it was not involved in the hosting or planning of the party.

Suspend

The EFF demanded that two teachers who attended the event be suspended from the school.

The school governing body applied for an urgent interdict to stop the EFF from protesting against racism in the roads surrounding the school, but it was denied by Judge Siraj Desai in the Western Cape High Court last Tuesday. The EFF committed to not disrupt school activities ahead of the full case being heard.

On Monday, the matter was postponed to 2 December as the full case was not ready for hearing.

Schafer called on Brackenfell residents "not to gather at the school with a view to engaging in altercations".

"Any action that would escalate tensions further will make it harder for law enforcement authorities to do their jobs. Please do not take the law into your own hands," she said.

"It is important that legitimate concerns of people at the school, particularly people of colour, are addressed. The school has committed to doing so, long before this recent incident."

She said the school had already put in place processes earlier this year to ensure the school is more inclusive and that this would "be a process and the EFF cannot conduct ongoing protests because their demands are not being met".

"I have scheduled a meeting with the EFF provincial representatives on Thursday to discuss their concerns regarding the school, in an attempt to try and reach a suitable understanding on the way forward.

"Let us all think of our children who have a constitutional right to a basic education. Their welfare should be foremost in our minds."

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