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Human Rights Commission calls for arrests after EFF woman beaten with bat in Brackenfell protests

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The incident was caught on video by journalists on Monday

The standoff between EFF members and parents of Brackenfell High School. Picuture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

JOHANNESBURG – The Human Rights Commission has condemned the violent events outside Brackenfell High School and called on police to arrest a man who was seen in video beating an EFF woman with a baseball bat.

In the video, a man dressed in black, who was part of the parents who were defending the school from EFF protesters, was seen pushing and beating the woman with a baseball bat.

The incident was caught on video by journalists on Monday.

A group of EFF supporters was stormed by a group of parents who wanted to protect the school. The EFF were there to protest, they say, against racism, after a whites only party took place, reportedly involving two teachers and 42 pupils.

The EFF was also calling for the teachers to be fired.

Gushwell Brooks, a spokesperson for the South African Human Rights Commission, said they condemned the violence that erupted outside of Brackenfell High School.

“These unfortunate events follow reports that two teachers from the school attended a private matric function, which only included white learners and their parents.

“The Commission is deeply disappointed by the violence as well as the allegations that preceded it.

“The SAHRC is shocked to learn that in this day and age a racially segregated private event was held for matric learners from the school. More disappointingly, is the fact that this event was attended by their parents and two teachers from the school.

“The alleged holding of a ’whites only’ event, if true, is also strongly condemned. No one should be allowed to bring back racial segregation to this country.

“The deep racial divisions of South Africa’s apartheid and colonial past cannot be healed whilst children are socialised separately on the basis of race and thus, as a nation, we will never be able to forge a South Africa where all are equal, free and are treated with dignity,” said Brooks.

She said it was unfortunate that the violent scenes played out in front of young people.

“The Commission has on numerous occasions called on communities to exercise their right to protest within Constitutional and legal limits, peacefully and unarmed.

“The conduct seen on television of one of the men repeatedly beating with a stick a Black woman in EFF uniform is beyond shocking and we urge the police to trace the man and charge him, among others, with assault.

“The inciting incident, although it should never have occurred in the first place, should have been dealt with by the authorised authorities including the national as well as the provincial departments of Basic Education.

“Learners should not have been exposed to the violence and racial tensions that played out in front of their school,” said Brooks.

The Human Rights Commission said it was calling for swift action in investigating the conduct of the teachers who attended the event and said it would play an “appropriate role” to promote, protect and monitor human rights.