Home South African Ramaphosa calls for calm after Brackenfell violence

Ramaphosa calls for calm after Brackenfell violence

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Ramaphosa said in a statement on Tuesday allegations of racism levelled against Brackenfell High School needed to be urgently investigated.

A fight broke out between EFF and Brackenfell residents after a standoff between EFF members and parents of Brackenfell High School learners. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

CAPE TOWN – With the EFF vowing to descend on Brackenfell “in its entirety and ensure nothing operates” after Monday’s violent clashes outside a local high school, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for calm and for all parties involved to act responsibly.

Ramaphosa said in a statement on Tuesday allegations of racism levelled against Brackenfell High School needed to be urgently investigated.

Punches were thrown, among others, and a 39-year-old man was arrested for public violence outside Brackenfell High School, with police and law enforcement agencies being forced to intervene.

In a statement yesterday, the EFF said that “in what was a display of pure white arrogance, armed right-wingers” undermined the party’s constitutional right to protest.

“They have pushed us, and they must prepare to be pushed back harder. The EFF will communicate the way forward to all of its structures.”

EFF leader Julius Malema has issued a stern warning on Twitter, saying that when they respond, “all fools will have an opinion”.

Ramaphosa said: “At this most important and difficult time for matriculants, not only at Brackenfell High School but around the country, the spectacle of protesters and parents coming to blows at the school gate is deeply unfortunate.

“What happened today brings back hurtful memories of a past we should never seek to return to.

“The EFF members were protesting against alleged racism at the school. It is the right of every South African to engage in peaceful protest, and any actions to suppress the right to freedom of expression, particularly through violence and intimidation, must be roundly condemned.

“What happened today (Monday) brings back hurtful memories of a past we should never seek to return to.

’’We should be ever mindful of the extent to which our actions, both publicly and in private, undermine the cherished principle of non-racialism upon which our democracy was founded.

“We should not allow what has transpired at Brackenfell High School to be used by any groupings who want to cause racial polarisation.’’

The EFF are demanding that two teachers and the principal be fired after the teachers went to a private matric function that was only attended by white pupils and their parents.

Black pupils said they were neither informed nor invited to the function, which was organised by parents. While the school has distanced itself from the event, the EFF says it must accept some responsibility because of the teachers’ attendance.

The Western Cape Education Department is investigating allegations that the school may be guilty of racism in its staffing practices. Currently, the school has two coloured teachers on its staff of 40 educators. No black teachers have reportedly been employed at the school since 1994.

The SA Human Rights Commission has condemned the violence.