Pietermaritzburg – The department of education has announced a full scale investigation into allegations of racism at Maritzburg College, after three learners created a stir on social media when photos surfaced of them displaying EFF shirts.
The three learners were seen in photographs on social media on Friday displaying shirts with EFF slogans, and are now purportedly facing a disciplinary hearing.
The learners are facing six charges, which were circulated on social media this morning, and include contravening the South African Schools Act of 1996 as well as engaging in acts that are deemed serious misconduct for learners of public schools, and breaching the school’s code of conduct and social media policies.
According to the charge sheet, shared by Tumi Sole, the hearing will take place on the 21st of October, at 8am.
The first three charges are related to the learners having "engaged in party-political activities during school hours by supporting or displaying insignia, alternatively party regalia of a known political party, namely the EFF."
The fourth and fifth charges relate to the learners having taken "pictures of a political nature that contain speech that is considered to be a threat or act of violence towards learners, educators, members of staff and any other person on school property," as well as "pictures of a political nature that contain speech that is considered to be racial, alternatively racially charged."
The sixth charge against them is for breaching the school’s code of conduct and social media policies.
Racism at Maritzburg College
KZN Department of Education spokesperson, Kwazi Mthethwa, confirmed on Saturday that they would be opening a full-scale investigation into claims of racism at Maritzburg College.
“We have received a number of allegations relating to racism which could be a reason for learners to retaliate in a certain manner.
“We want the investigating team to look at the circumstances that led to the alleged developments and the manner in which the school management team has handled such matters,” he said.
Mthethwa said the department was also aware that there were some who were now using this sensitive matter for political gains.
“As the KZN Education Department we want to put it on record that we will not tolerate any form of abuse and racism in any of our schools.”
“Critically, as we prepare for final matric examination we call upon the people of this province across all racial lines to unite and ensure that we create a conducive environment for our learners to write their papers successfully,” he said.
The front desk of the school could not be reached by News24 on Saturday morning.
Backlash against action taken against students
People took to Twitter to voice their opinions following Pietersen's initial outburst.
"Even the English got fed up with Kevin Petersen's sense of self importance and kicked him out of the national team," tweeted Lerato Kojoana.
"Eventually when #MaritzCollege apologises, realize they were wrong and reviews its code of conduct, then other schools should follow suit!!!" tweeted @SibahleMo.
"The South African Schools Act of 1996 is about to be touched on its studio! #MaritzCollege," tweeted Nwabisa Makunga.