Hoërskool DF Malan issues apology after homophobia accusations

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DF Malan High School has apologised over a homophobic altercation.
DF Malan High School has apologised over a homophobic altercation.
Misha Jordaan, Gallo Images
  • Hoërskool DF Malan has issued an apology following allegations of homophobia at the school.
  • A petition calling for an apology from the school has seen a swell of support.
  • The SAHRC has also launched an investigation into the allegations.

The principal of Hoërskool DF Malan, Sias Conradie, and the school governing body (SGB) have issued a public apology for its handling of an allegedly homophobic altercation between pupils at the Cape Town school.

This comes after the school rejected pupils' request for a "Pride Month" commemoration. Some pupils still went ahead and staged a "Pride" sit-in during their break on Monday.

READ | SAHRC to probe allegations of homophobia at Hoërskool DF Malan

A group of matric boys, however, approached them and the situation quickly escalated into intimidation and shouting. Some pupils were reportedly later added to a WhatsApp group that included a homophobic slur in its name.

On Thursday, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) announced it would be launching an investigation into the allegations of homophobia. The SAHRC said it had received numerous complaints from the public about the incident.

In addition, a petition has garnered support from more than 13 000 outraged parents, pupils and members of the public, who called for a public apology from the school.

Welcomed the investigation

The SAHRC investigation will run alongside one being carried out by the Western Cape Department of Education.

In a statement, SGB chairperson André Roux said the principal and governing body "would like to apologise and express our regret regarding how events unfolded over the past week".

The governing body also noted that SAHRC's intention to investigate.

"Although we have not yet received any formal notice from the SAHRC about the proposed investigation, we would like to provide assurance that the school will give its full cooperation to the activities and officials of the commission."

Roux said they welcomed the investigation in the hope that it will be in the best interests of the school and its pupils, and that it will assist them in preventing a repeat of this week's events.

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