South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned Monday’s clashes between parents and members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party outside a school in Cape Town during an anti-racism protest.
He described the confrontation outside Brackenfell High School in Cape Town as deeply regrettable, and has called on all parties involved to act responsibly.
The school was accused of being racist after a video of an all-white matriculation party emerged online.
President Ramaphosa, in a statement, said the incident “brought back hurtful memories of a past we should never seek to return to”.
He said allegations of racism against the school needed to be urgently investigated.
The school administration previously said it was not involved in planning the party and teachers were only invited by a group of parents.
“We should not allow what has transpired at Brackenfell High School to be used by any groupings who want to cause racial polarisation,” President Ramaphosa said.
On Monday, 09 November 2020, a violent confrontation broke out between a group of parents from the school and members of the EFF, who were protesting against alleged racism at the school.
“At this most important and difficult time for matriculants not only at Brackenfell High School but around the country, the spectacle of parents and protestors coming to blows at the school gate is deeply unfortunate,” President Ramaphosa said.
“It is the right of every South African to engage in peaceful protest, and any actions to suppress the right to freedom of expression, particularly through violence and intimidation, must be roundly condemned,” the President said.
“What happened today brings back hurtful memories of a past we should never seek to return to,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President added that allegations of racism levelled against the school needed to be urgently investigated.
“We should be ever mindful of the extent to which our actions, both publicly and in private, undermine the cherished principle of non-racialism upon which our democracy was founded,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President has called on all parties concerned to exercise restraint and to resolve their differences peacefully and through dialogue.
“We should not allow what has transpired at Brackenfell High School to be used by any groupings who want to cause racial polarisation,” the President said.
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