Cape Town – A protest by the EFF outside Brackenfell High School against alleged racism turned violent on Monday morning when fighting broke about between demonstrators and residents.
In an African News Agency (ANA) video, residents could be seen running towards the protesters, asking them “what are you doing here” and telling them that they needed to leave immediately in no uncertain terms. A fight then breaks out and mayhem ensues.
Police eventually arrive, a stun grenade is fired and incensed residents shout for the EFF protesters to be arrested as order is restored. The EFF continues with their protest further away as insults are hurled at them.
A man was reportedly arrested for shooting live ammunition during the clash with the EFF.
The area was cordoned off by police early this morning and Brackenfell residents expressed their concern over the effect the situation was having on pupils writing exams.
The EFF, who also protested on Friday, demanded two teachers and the principal be fired after the teachers had attended 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 has said that it could not take action against anyone because it was a private party.
The department is, however, 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.
Brackenfell resident Dante van Wyk, when asked before the EFF arrived if he thought things are going to turn violent, said: ’’This is absolutely disrespectful. To protect the school, that is why we are here.
“The EFF will not come in Brackenfell and disturb our country. Die EFF gaan nie kom moeilikheid maak in Brackenfell nie (The EFF won’t come and cause trouble in Brackenfell).”
Neil de Beer, leader of the United Independent Movement (UIM), who was asked by parents to get involved, said outside the school before Monday’s protest: ‘’I want this to be understood. The people of Brackenfell, as I know them, are not racist. This is not a racial issue, this is an issue of the rights of children to be in peace.’’
De Beer said he had entered a plea on behalf of the UIM on Friday to the Speaker of Parliament, Thandi Modise, to form a judicial inquiry against EFF members, who took an oath of office to protect this constitution but are “in breach’’. He said they should be reprimanded and removed from Parliament.
Condemning the actions of Malema’s party on Friday, he said: “This nation is tired of a person that is trying to divide this country instead of unifying it. God bless you Julius, may you move from dark to light soon.’’
Brackenfell resident Richard Collins, who was there in support of all the children, said: “I am a father myself, my daughter matriculated last year. I can just imagine what this is doing to the children, especially having to write exams.
“They must be intimidated, some must be in fear of their lives, especially the Grade 8s, it’s uncalled for, it is unnecessary about somebody who just wants to plain stupid if I can call it that.
“To post something that is not even true, just to get some publicity, just to become famous is that what it is all about these days. What has South Africa come to these days? South Africa was once a beautiful country and it is not any more.’’
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department was aware of today’s picket and would be monitoring it closely.