FF Plus lays complaint with SAHRC about Fish Hoek 'diversity' session
Anton Alberts |
25 November 2022
Anton Alberts says this was made against WCED and the WCape Minister for Education, David Maynier
FF Plus lodges complaint with HRC about traumatic diversity session at Fish Hoek High School
25 November 2022
After thorough research and gathering evidence, the FF Plus lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) about the traumatic diversity session at Fish Hoek High School.
The complaint was lodged on behalf of concerned parents who reached out to the FF Plus after the training session.
The complaint was made against the Western Cape Education Department, the MEC for Education, Mr David Maynier, and the group of individuals who presented the session.
The party argued that there is sufficient evidence to show that the incident dramatically infringed upon learners' constitutional rights.
Firstly, learners' right to freedom and security was violated seeing as they were held in the school hall against their will and without the lawful supervision of teachers, who were told to wait outside.
No learner was allowed to leave the hall and no teacher was allowed to enter it in defiance of the authority that teachers have to care for learners in the absence of their parents or guardians. Learners were also prohibited from recording the session.
This unlawful isolation of learners set the scene for their rights to be further undermined. A secretive and psychologically predatory environment was created where learners were without protection.
Under these circumstances, the presenters stated that white people are the only ones who can be racists, while black people cannot seeing as they have no power.
This statement forms the basis of critical race theory and is inherently unconstitutional, it jars with the equality principle stipulated in Section 9 of South Africa's Constitution.
One of the white learners responded to the statement by asking how black-on-white farm murders should be understood if that is the case; he was told to keep quiet in a derogatory way, which is a violation of Section 16 of the Constitution that protects freedom of expression.
Suppressing healthy debating is just one more red flag indicating that learners were purposefully set up to be vulnerable subjects of propaganda in the form of critical race theory.
Lastly, one presenter made statements about Christianity that may, at best, be seen as unwarranted, and at worst, as blasphemous. Without explaining its context, the presenter quoted a poem which could be construed as, among other things, equating Christianity with white patriarchal dominance.
The Trinity is painted, at best, as a strange kind of love triangle, and the possibility that the Holy Spirit might be "queer" is hinted at.
This uncalled-for attack on Christianity in front of minor learners is unjustifiable, and a material violation of the right to freedom of religion, in terms of Section 15 of the Constitution, of people who practice Christianity as prescribed by the Bible.
The presenter's statements caused pandemonium and elicited responses of shock from the learners. In the sound recordings, it is evident that the presenter did not care about the learners' vehement emotional reaction – in fact, it almost seems like being provocative was the objective.
No teacher was present to intercede for learners seeing as the plan of isolating them had been so effectively implemented.
In conclusion, this psychological attack on learners constitutes a material violation of their right to integrity in terms of Section 10 of the Constitution in addition to a violation of children's rights in terms of Section 28 of the Constitution.
Section 28 guarantees the right to protection against maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation, and prescribes that it is of paramount importance to always act in the best interest of a child. That certainly was not the case with this session.
Moreover, there are aggravating circumstances counting against the Western Cape Education Department.
A non-profit organisation, Free Speech Union of South Africa (FSUSA), warned the MEC twice in writing about the detrimental content contained in the Western Cape's diversity sessions.
FSUSA particularly emphasised the damage caused by these diversity sessions to social cohesion and the violation of the right to freedom of speech.
FSUSA's first letter elicited no response, so a second letter was sent to the MEC. Someone in his office indicated that he will respond, but apparently, that never happened.
The FF Plus is requesting the HRC to investigate the matter as well as the material that is presented, and to rule on its constitutionality.
It is imperative that the HRC condemns, in general, the warped ideas postulated by the ideology of critical race theory, and specifically determine a course of action to repair the psychological damage Fish Hoek High School learners suffered.
Text of document:
SUBMISSION TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (“SAHRC”)
ON BEHALF OF: VRYHEIDSFRONT PLUS
SUBJECT: BREACH OF HUMAN RIGHTS OF LEARNERS AND PARENTS AT FISH HOEK HIGH SCHOOL DURING A DIVERSITY COURSE
1.1. This submission is made on behalf of the Vryheidsfront Plus (“VF Plus”). The latter is a political party registered with the Electoral Commission with the registration number as set out in the main complaint form.
1.2. The complaint centres on the events of Monday 31 October 2022 at Fish Hoek High School where a group of about 6 persons mandated by the Western Cape Education Department (“WCED”) provided a diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) course to about 800 learners that took place in suspicious and predatory circumstances, infringing fundamental rights of the learners and their parents (essentially the family unit) as set out in the Bill of Rights.
1.3. The VF Plus were contacted by distraught parents regarding the matter who, after investigation, decided to submit this matter to the SAHRC.
THE ORIGIN OF THE COMPLAINT:
1.4. On Monday 31 October 2022 about 800 learners (of various racial and cultural backgrounds) of Fish Hoek High School were subjected to a DEI-course as mandated by the WCED in the school hall.
1.5. The DEI-course was provided by several persons mandated by the WCED, consisting of a DEI- consultant who led the process, namely Mrs Asanda Ngoasheng (“Mrs Ngoasheng”), and a couple of WCED- officials psychologists (together the “Instructors”).
1.6. Apparently, the DEI-course was deemed necessary due to a previous incident where a teacher at the school used a derogatory reference for black people during a lesson as an illustration of racist names or terms used in the past. The teacher was as a result forced into a disciplinary process by the WCED, but was apparently found not guilty. Our information is that despite this, the teacher apparently was still forced to resign.
1.7. Parents that reached out to us informed us that despite the above incident, the relations between learners were broadly harmonious and that race was not really a factor. However, the course was forced upon the school by the WCED. It thus seems that the WCED’s reaction to the above incident and intervention by forcing a DEI-course onto the learners was disproportionate and unlawful. As will be discussed below, the DEI-course’s procedure and content created unfathomable emotional damage and trauma among the learners and parents, thus magnifying without reason the disproportionate nature of the WCED’s uncalled for intervention.
1.8. Before and/or at the start of the course the learners were instructed that they may not leave the hall during the course of the proceedings and no teachers, including the school principal, were allowed to enter the hall at the same time. Furthermore, no one was permitted to record the proceedings and were warned that any recordings will be wiped clean, which implies the unlawful confiscation of learner’s property for the sake of unlawful censorship. Some learners, however, did manage to make recordings.
1.9. It is very clear from this action that the Instructors had the intention to isolate the learners from the personnel who by law had oversight over the safety of the learners in the absence of their parents or legal guardians. This created the unsafe and predatory environment for what was to follow and is unlawful and in breach of Section 12 of the Bill of Rights (Freedom and Security of the Person), specifically Section 12(1)(a) that provides for the right “not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause” and Section 12(1)(b) that provides for the right to be “free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources”. We submit that read with Section 12(2) psychological violence was the form that was perpetrated in this case as will be set out below.
1.10. We submit that the isolation of the learners from all legal factors of protection set the stage for the fundamental breach of their rights.
1.11. One female learner did manage to exit the hall by reason of having to go to the bathroom, and once outside alerted a teacher as to what was transpiring within the hall. The teacher entered the hall and tried to stop the DEI-course from continuing, but was ordered to exit immediately. This underscores the unlawful gatekeeping, isolation, imprisonment, and censorship imposed by the Instructors in defiance of the lawful authority of the teachers, parents and guardians to protect the minors under their care. We submit this is a contravention of Section 28(1)(d) of the Bill of Rights that states that every child has the right “to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse and degradation”.
1.12. The DEI-course proceeded during which the following unfortunate, traumatic and unconstitutional events took place:
1.12.1. The learners – who were a multiracial cohort - were informed and taught by Mrs Ngoasheng that only white people, including white minors (learners), can be racist and no one else. In this respect kindly listen to the video/sound clip in Annexure “A1” provided by a learner who recorded it in secret due to the secretive and psychological predatory environment. This presents a clear violation of Section 9 of the Bill of rights that guarantees the right to equality. No provision in the Constitution can be interpreted that only whites can be racist. In the recording made by a student in Annexure “A1” one can clearly hear how distraught the learners reacted to this statement. Many were astonished and traumatised by this statement and this will be discussed below;
1.12.2. A young learner reacted to the above statement by asking what would be the nature then of farm murders perpetrated by black persons against white persons. His question was apparently dismissed with disdain and ignored. Since this proves that no debate was allowed, we submit this is in contravention of Section 16 (Freedom of Expression) of the Bill of Rights. Please listen to the recording in Annexure “A2” where the learner asks the question with the following reaction:
18.104.22.168. There seems to an eruption of cheers of support in support of him from the learners;
22.214.171.124. However, voices of dissent from learners also seems to be present, thus providing evidence of unnecessary polarisation of the learners against each other based on race; and
126.96.36.199. He seems to be shouted down by Mrs Ngoasheng or one of the other Instructors.
1.12.3. Furthermore, Mrs Ngoasheng also made statements disrespectful towards Christianity and which Christians will regard at a minimum as derogatory and at the most as blasphemous. Christianity was criticised and debased by reading a poem called “Water” by Koleka Putuma without providing any context. In this poem, the following excerpt traumatised the Christian learners, both black and white:
“This blue eyed and blond haired Jesus I followed in Sunday school
Has had my kind bowing to a white and patriarchal heaven
Bowing to a Christ, his son, and 12 disciples
For all we know the disciples could have been queer, the holy trinity some weird twisted love triangle
And the Holy Ghost transgender”.
The complete poem is attached hereto as Annexure “A3” and the relevant contentious extract is attached hereto as Annexure “A4”. This action by the Instructors is in clear violation of Section 15 of the Bill of Rights (Freedom of Religion, Belief and Opinion) and presents a disrespectful undermining and mockery of the Christian belief-system.
THE FALLOUT OF THE DEI-COURSE:
2.1. The end-result of the unilaterally enforced DEI-course under prison-like circumstances where no learner had any recourse to protect themselves was the severe traumatisation of the learners to the effect that psychologists had to counsel the learners the next day. However, to add insult to injury it is our understanding that the very same psychologists that formed part of the group of Instructors that inflicted the psychological damage, were the ones mandated to counsel the learners. This seems to have aggravated the situation even further. The fact that the DEI-course have had a tremendous negative effect on the learners is underscored by the letter sent to the parents by the school principal attached hereto as Annexure “A5”.
2.2. As stated in Clause 2.4 above, it thus seems that the WCED’s reaction to the so-called racial incident created by a teacher (apparently that was not the case as is evidenced by the outcome of the disciplinary hearing) and intervention by forcing a DEI-course onto the learners was disproportionate and unlawful. It is clear that the DEI-course’s procedure and content created unfathomable emotional damage and trauma among the learners and parents, thus magnifying without reason the disproportionate nature of the WCED’s uncalled for intervention.
2.3. A serious aggravating factor in this regard is the fact that the WCED was forewarned about the potential damages that the DEI-courses can impose on learners and school communities. It is not as if the WCED was submitting the schools in the Western Cape to these courses in ignorant bliss about its potential and real effects.
2.4. This is evidenced by a letter written to the WCED and the Provincial Minister of Education by the Free Speech Union of South Africa (“FSUSA”) on 4 July 2022 wherein the organisation warned against the detrimental effect of the DEI-courses on social cohesion and free speech. An article on this letter wherein the letter is also published can be found in Annexure “A6” and at the following link: /documents/fish-hoek-high-social-justice-saga-we-told-you-so-.
2.5. According to the article, FSUSA addressed another letter regarding this matter to the WCED and the Provincial Minister of Education on 12 July 2022. Apparently, somebody in the office of the Provincial Minister of Education indicated that he will revert back to the FSUSA, but this never transpired.
2.6. Given this attempt to communicate with the Provincial Minister of Education and the lack of response, it is clear to our minds that the Provincial Minister of Education and the WCED breached a duty of care towards the learners of Fish Hoek High School by going ahead with the DEI-course.
2.7. In addition to the various breaches of the fundamental rights in the Bill of Rights set out above, the conduct of the Instructors and WCED can be construed to constitute criminal conduct as follows:
2.7.1. Assault: a severe psychological attack was launched against the learners with proven psychological damages;
2.7.2. Intimidation: the learners were placed in a psychological predatory environment where they were not allowed to voice their concerns and were not allowed to escape the environment; and
2.7.3. Abduction: the forceful keeping of the learners in the hall against their will and without recourse to exit may also constitute abduction for the time that they were kept in the hall.
SERIOUSNESS OF THE CONDUCT:
2.8. The DEI-course incident deserves to be taken very seriously for the following reasons:
2.8.1. Apart from the infringed rights mention above, every act and omission, as the case may be, by the Instructors was an infringement of the rights to dignity as set out in Section 10 of the Bill of Rights;
2.8.2. Apart from the infringed rights mention above, every act and omission, as the case may be, by the Instructors was an infringement of the rights as set out in Section 28(2) of the Bill of Rights that states that “A child's best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child”;
2.8.3. Apart from the infringed rights mention above, every act and omission, as the case may be, by the Instructors was an infringement of Section 32(1) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005;
2.8.4. The Provincial Minister of Education and the WCED is in breach of a duty of care towards the learners of Fish Hoek High School; and
2.8.5. Every act or omission, as the case may be, by the Instructors - and thus the WCED - can be construed to be criminal conduct as se out above.
LIABILITY AND REMEDIES:
2.9.1. Every act or omission, as the case may be, by the Instructors were those of agents on behalf of the WCED and the Provincial Minister of Education. It is thus a provincial government department that actively infringed these rights even though they have been forewarned; and
2.9.2. Every act or omission, as the case may be, by the Instructors are so severe that they cannot personally be absolved from the consequences.
2.10.1. Investigation of the content of the DEI-course and the making a finding on the appropriateness thereof as an acceptable and learner-friendly form of diversity training;
2.10.2. Investigation of the ability of the Instructors, especially the consultants with special reference to Mrs Ngoasheng, to provide the DEI-course;
2.10.3. Investigation of any unprofessional conduct by the Instructors, but especially with reference to Mrs Ngoasheng and the psychologists;
2.10.4. A finding that the WCED, the Provincial Minister of Education and the Instructors have contravened the above stated human rights, statutory rights and common law rights of the learners and their parents; and
2.10.5. Imposing remedial action in this regard within the powers afforded by the SAHRC in terms of the law.
2.11. Given the fact that children’s rights were affected by the conduct described herein, we submit it is of the utmost importance to investigate this matter.
2.12. The gravity of the importance is underscored by the fact that a mixed-race school community that were reasonably happy and peaceful has been severely traumatised and disrupted by government action.
2.13. As the first generation of human rights exist to protect the individual and communities against infringements by an overbearing government and forms the basis and genesis of human rights in general, we submit that this matter deserves special attention.
Signed at Pretoria on this 24th day of November 2022.
Instructed by: VRYHEIDSFRONT PLUS
TO: THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Issued by Anton Alberts, FF Plus national chairperson, 25 November 2022