Brackenfell protests: SAHRC to take 'One Settler, One Bullet' chant to Equality Court

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  • The SAHRC is investigating more than 20 complaints related to a contentious matric ball party and subsequent brawl in Brackenfell.
  • Twelve of these relate to EFF supporters singing "Shoot the Boer" outside the school on 6 November during a protest.
  • The PAC will be taken to the Equality Court after "One Settler, One Bullet" was chanted at a demonstration last week.

The South African Human Rights Commission says it will take the PAC to the Equality Court after "One Settler, One Bullet" was chanted at a Brackenfell protest last week.

It also received 12 complaints against the EFF and was investigating those also.

READ | Brackenfell High: City of Cape Town wants the EFF to pay up for damages caused during protest

More than 20 complaints related to the contentious matric ball party and subsequent brawl in Brackenfell were under investigation, the SA Human Rights Commission confirmed on Tuesday.

Commissioner Andre Gaum said that, in addition to its own investigation related to discrimination and the alleged exclusion of pupils at a function attended by only white Grade 12 pupils of Brackenfell High School following the cancellation of their formal dance, a number of complaints specifically related to hate speech had been laid.

Twelve related to EFF supporters singing "Shoot the Boer" outside the school on 6 November during a protest, a slogan already determined to be hate speech by the SAHRC as well as the Equality Court; two against EFF MP Nazier Paulsen for allegedly referring to coloured people as "brown pets"; as well as eight after the PAC chanted and used a poster reading "one settler, one bullet" during a demonstration on 18 November.

"The commission is gathering evidence and will, on the basis thereof, decide how to pursue the allegations. However, with regard to the 'One Settler, One Bullet' allegations against the PAC, we believe that there is a prima facie case to be made and will take this matter to the Equality Court," he said.

READ | Brackenfell arrests: 8 EFF protesters released, due back in court in February

'Great restraint'

A small group of PAC members protested at Brackenfell station and later in the streets of Brackenfell last Wednesday.

Friday's protest where hundreds of EFF members protested against racism in the northern suburb as well as the police's conduct would also be probed.

Commissioner Chris Nissen said the authorities acted with "great restraint" on Friday.

"When people protest it must be peaceful. What I and many of my colleagues saw were people with axes, golf clubs, sticks and stones, which, on a number of occasions, were rained onto police," he said.

Nissen, however, said that in situations like these, police should be "looking at the spirit of the law, rather than just the letter of the law".

"Allowing those people in a very peaceful manner would have probably not had the kind of consequences that we saw on the day."

He urged protesters to stay away from schools as pupils had the right to write their exams without being traumatised by some of the scenes which played out on Friday.

Gaum said the SAHRC, which had conducted an unannounced site inspection at the school two weeks ago, had written to the provincial education department as well as the school to respond to the basis of the complaint and had also requested a meeting with them, together with representatives from the pupil and parent bodies.

Meanwhile, the commission would convene an inquiry into social cohesion and non-racialism in schools as well as a summit on rising racial tensions and racial polarisation in South Africa to "respond to systemic issues that seem to underpin some of the occurrences that have taken place recently around the country".

SAHRC CEO Tseliso Thipanyane said South Africa could not afford an increase in racial polarisation, as this was "not the SA Mandela fought for".

Nissen said political parties and its leadership also had the responsibility of building a non-racial society, urging them to "act responsibly" and not "play the race card".

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