North West Education and Sport Development member of the executive council (MEC), Sello Lehari expressed shock and disappointment at a picture circulating on social media depicting alleged racism at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke, and is expected to visit the school on Thursday.
“On behalf of the department, I wish to condemn in its strongest terms any allegation of racism in our schools which contradict the constitution of our country. According to our South African Constitution on Chapter Two, Bill of Rights under education says, do not discriminate on the basis of race,” Lehari said.
He was expected to lead a team of senior managers to conduct an intensive investigation on the matter at the school on Thursday.
Departmental spokesman Freddy Sepeng said as soon as the matter reached the attention of the department, officials from the district were assigned to visit the school to ascertain the facts.
Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) said racism would not be tolerated in the province.
Provincial Task Team (PTT) co-ordinator Keneetswe Mosenogi said the ANC was appalled by the seemingly racist seating arrangement at the school in a picture that is circulating in social media.
“We are appalled because this is definitely not the type of society that we envisage. We are not going to be held back by anything in our fight against racism,” Mosenogi said.
She called on the provincial government to urgently investigate the incident and where any wrongdoing was found, harsh measures be taken against the perpetrators.
“Racism cannot be tolerated in this province, where it rears its ugly head it will be cut off without any flinching,” she said.
Outraged South Africans took to Twitter as the picture circulated.
We at that point were we know English is the medium of communication and won’t waste my energy taking my child to Schweizer reneke laerskool
— Vusi Msomi (@tino_hot1987) January 9, 2019
What seems to have happened at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke is an absolute disgrace. If you cannot accept children as children, get out of the classroom
— Jonathan Jansen (@JJ_Stellies) January 10, 2019
The vast majority of South Africans are GOOD. They are not racist and they do not support segregation or discrimination based on race. @ForGoodZA condemns that Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North-West Province is reported to have segregated young grade R students by race.
— Patricia de Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) January 9, 2019
#Segregated at Grade R: Shame on Laerskool Schweizer Reneke of North West Province@ South Africa for depicting white learners seated apart from black children. Are we sowing the seeds of racial division at such an early age?
— Walther Ntobeko Magoda (@Walther05390401) January 9, 2019
Maybe they sat in alphabetical order. That’s Xaba, Zulu & Zuma at the back pic.twitter.com/biz0XaDLue
— un·der·score D (@mthu_d) January 9, 2019
The Image even got International attention from The Shade Room who reposted the image on their Instagram.