During an investigative session at Pretoria Girls High School with Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, attended by Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, the EFF Student Command made a request that all “former Afrikaans schools” be investigated for racism.
As school headmistress Karen du Toit and some teachers sat quietly and listened, various groups and individuals took turns to state their case.
The EFF demanded that radical transformation was required at the school and all schools like it, because black children could no longer be victimised.
The EFF asked that the teachers accused of racism be investigated and fired.
The DA’s youth league was also present and said that black girls needed to be proud of their black hair and they applauded the pupils for standing up in defiance.
The ANC Youth League was also present and asked that girls not be victimised. The country was based on the principle that all could speak their mind. They charged that not all former Model C schools were fully transformed, including this one.
The ANC Women’s League said that “black languages and black hair should not be reduced to funny sounds and nothing”.
The Congress of SA Students (Cosas) also weighed in and said it would “go to the streets and disrupt exams” if its grievances were not addressed within 14 days. They wanted answers as to what had happened to language policy.
Former pupils from the school said that these girls were now doing what they had failed to do. One said: “The school fees here are black, as there are more black students than white students.”
Msimanga said it would be important to ensure that this be prevented from ever happening again. “We need to take collective responsibility.” He added that one did not need to be black to fight racism. “We must all sit around a table.”
He said it would be important to determine the distinction between defining discipline and not stepping on children’s rights.
“We must also focus on schools in the township; we cannot have different sets of rules for schools.”
The MEC said he was scheduled to meet with the school’s governing body at 6pm and would then give feedback to the pupils.