The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says there is prima facie evidence for a case to be made against the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) over chants it made during the party’s protest against racism at Brackenfell High School.
The party protested at the school last week in the wake of allegations of racism and discrimination.
SAHRC commissioner, advocate Andre Hurtley Gaum, said the commission would take the PAC to the Equality Court over the chant one settler, one bullet.
Gaum said the commission would probe allegations of racism and discrimination at the school which led to the protests by the PAC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), as well as the ensuing violence and the conduct of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Furthermore, the commission would investigate allegations of hate speech, particularly in relation to EFF members protesting at the school last week while singing shoot the farmer, shoot the boer. The commission and Equality Court had previously determined that the slogan constituted hate speech, Gaum said.
The commission would also look into the alleged offensive social media comments made by EFF MP Nazier Paulsen, Gaum added.
Gaum said the commission had met with the school’s principal and the chair of its school governing body (SGB), who denied the allegations of racism and discrimination at the school and indicated that the school had a diversity committee.
The SGB chair also agreed to consider conducting sensitivity training, assisted by the commission, for school staff and learners, Gaum said.
The commission’s monitors on the ground during protests at the school last Friday noted the police’s use of stun grenades and water cannons to disperse the protestors. However, they did not witness the alleged looting of shops and destruction of property and the commission had not received any complaints regarding the latter allegations, Gaum said.
Gaum urged anyone with information on the looting of shops during the protest at the school to approach the commission.
The commission has written to the Western Cape department of education and the school regarding the allegations of racism and discrimination and a meeting has been scheduled with the two entities as well as the SGB and learner body to explore the matter in-depth, Gaum said.
Gaum said the commission urged that matriculants be afforded the opportunity to write their final exams in peace and for protestors to stay away from the school.
The commission was also concerned by the non-observance of Covid-19 regulations during last week’s protests, Gaum said.
The commission would also convene a summit on the rising racial tensions and racial polarisation in the country because “this is a systemic issue” which was not limited to Brackenfell High School or its surrounding community, Gaum said.
Another SAHRC commissioner, Andrew Christoffel Nissen, said he was of the opinion that it was wrong for some political parties to call on the community to come out in defence of the school in the wake of the PAC and EFF protests.
SAHRC chief executive officer CEO, advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, urged South Africans to remain committed to the project of building unity, promoting a non-racist society and addressing “imbalances”.
SAHRC chair, Professor Bongani Majola said there seemed to be a concerning culture of no longer respecting the law in South Africa, which was dangerous to the country’s democracy.
“So I’m very concerned about this lawlessness that you see in protests and everywhere,” Majola said.
Gaum said the commission would also look into EFF leader Julius Malema’s alleged threats against the SAPS and whether these were “problematic” in terms of hate speech.