Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi on Friday apologised to black pupils at Pretoria High School for Girls after racism and victimisation was confirmed in a probe he instituted.
“The department extends its apology to particularly the affected black pupils for going through such a traumatic and humiliating experience of racial abuse and victimisation,” Lesufi said as he addressed a media briefing at the controversial Pretoria school.
“Despite how they may feel, the department [impressed] upon the SGB [school governing body] and the executive management to extend an apology to all the pupils, especially the affected pupils.”
It was revealed on Friday night that a probe carried out by a law firm has confirmed that incidents of racial abuse and victimisation were a reality at the school.
“The incidents of black pupils being told to stand up in groups to demonstrate ethnic/settlement origins during apartheid while white pupils were never asked to do the same,” Lesufi read out the findings of the investigation during a media briefing in the school premises.
“This was insensitive, immature, demeaning and denigrating to the black pupils to say the least.”
Lesufi said the school was found to be unresponsive to black pupils’ complaints of racial abuse by educators and white learners.
“A number of incidents were noted wherein either pupils or parents notified the school about alleged racial abuse incidents on black pupils, but no actions were taken or updates were not provided to the complainants. Furthermore, the school did not take firm action against the implicated educators,” said Lesufi.
In August, tempers flared as black pupils at the PHSG were up in arms over what they called racist incidents relating to the institution’s policies regarding hair.
At the time, some of the girls told Lesufi that they were made to straighten their hair and avoid African styles like the Afro. Others alleged they had been called “monkeys”.
– African News Agency