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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: SAHRC Condemns the Violence that Erupted Outside Brackenfell High School, in the Western Cape

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Monday, 09 November 2020

The South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC or the Commission) condemns the scenes of violence that erupted outside of Brackenfell High School, in the Western Cape on Monday, the 9th November 2020.
We have seen on news media the eruption of a violent confrontation between people said to be parents of learners at the school and members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) outside the school premises. 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.

The Commission condemns the violence, especially as it occurred in full view of young people who should be preparing and dedicating themselves for end-of-year examinations that are expected to be difficult due to the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

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.

The Commission calls for swift action in investigating the conduct of the two teachers who allegedly attended the racially segregated matric event and the Commission will play an appropriate role within its mandate to promote, protect and monitor human rights, coming out of this event.


Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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