'Our kids are discriminated because of Afrikaans' - EFF members
17 January 2018
Johannesburg - The EFF and a parent were involved in a brawl on the first day of school during a protest outside Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging on Wednesday morning.
Members of the EFF said black children in Vereeniging are being discriminated against at Hoërskool Overvaal because of Afrikaans.
"You will know that the majority of people residing in this area are blacks, but those who are enrolled here are lily white," EFF member Azwi Tshitangano said.
"After 23 years of democracy, this is not going to happen on our watch", Tshitangano said.
On Wednesday morning, disgruntled EFF and ANC supporters gathered outside the school.
"They were singing and dancing. Some held placards that read: "Overvaal SGB go to hell, down with apartheid."
Others read: "Afrikaans we fought in 1976. We shall fight now and anytime it show face".
Earlier, EFF supporters and a parent were involved in an altercation outside the school.
"That white fellow came and insulted us, he cannot call black people mase p**. If they want violence, we will meet them with violence. If they want peace, we will meet them with peace," Tshitangano said.
'Enough space in surrounding school'
AfriForum’s head of safety Ian Cameron said despite the protest, the school was "completely active and classes have started".
Cameron said there were two other schools in the area that have more than enough space for English learners.
"Why destroy an Afrikaans school when there is enough space in surrounding schools?"
He said they were assisting at the school.
"We really want to make sure that [this] does not turn into a racial issue. I think it is irresponsible of people to come here and provoke protesters and the other way around, protesters mustn't provoke people going in and out of the school." News24 earlier reported that the Department of Education had attempted to have 55 pupils, to be taught in English, placed at the school. The school went to court challenging the decision.
Judge Bill Prinsloo on Monday set aside the department’s decision to admit 55 learners to Hoërskool Overvaal, saying that the school has no capacity to receive the pupils, let alone to do so on such short notice and to effectively convert to a dual-medium school.
Following the judgment, parents of the affected pupils vowed to burn down the school.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi calmed them and asked them not to take the law into their own hands. He told them he would be appealing the judgment and would go as far as the Constitutional Court if he had too. "They might have their day to rejoice today, but it won’t last long. We might be down today, but we are definitely not out," said Lesufi at the time.
"Our hearts might be sore, we may be in pain, we might not agree but one thing [is] for sure, there is no racist that can hide behind a broomstick. There is no racist that will use language to deny our children access to education.
"So we, on behalf of the department, are definitely, without any shadow of hesitation, going to appeal this judgment," he said.