MEC condemns separation in class

A picture of one of the grade R classes at Laerskool SchweizerReneke seemingly depicting white pupils seated separately from the black children
A picture of one of the grade R classes at Laerskool SchweizerReneke seemingly depicting white pupils seated separately from the black children
Image: Supplied / Timeslive

The North West education MEC and other politicians will on Thursday visit a school in the province which sparked outrage after allegedly separating grade R learners by race on their first day.

“On behalf of the department, I wish to condemn in the strongest terms any allegation of racism in our schools which contradict the constitution of our country,” North West education and sport development MEC Sello Lehari said.

The mother of a grade R pupil from Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke was fuming after a picture showed her child and three other black children sitting separately from the white children in their class.

The class teacher shared the photo on the school’s WhatsApp group.

The parent said: “This was meant to be an exciting day for me but it’s not.”

The mother, who is not being named to protect the identity of her child, said earlier that her child’s first day started off smoothly.

She and other parents dropped their children off.

At 9am, they received an update from the teacher on how their day was going via the WhatsApp group.

The picture showed 18 white pupils all occupying large desks placed together in the middle of the classroom, while four black children occupied one desk in a corner at the far end of the classroom.

“All I saw was messages from the white parents saying ‘dankie, dankie’ [‘thank you, thank you’] on the WhatsApp group, but no-one was saying anything about the separation of the learners,” she said.

She discussed it with another parent outside the group, who contacted the principal to ask about the seating.

DA federal youth leader Luyolo Mphithi condemned the alleged separation.

“It is outrageous that a classroom in 2019 can be racially segregated,” he said.

Mphithi will visit the school on Thursday to “make a commitment to change outdated attitudes towards integration”. –

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