Trade Union, Solidarity, says it has appointed a legal team to represent Elana Barkhuizen, the teacher who was suspended by the North West Education Department over the pictures allegedly showing learners separated by race.

A picture was circulated online of black children separated from white children in a classroom at the Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke. Barkhuizen has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

Speaking during a media briefing in Centurion, Gauteng, Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann says they will be heading to court in attempts to have Barkhuizen’s suspension lifted as a matter of urgency.

Hermann revealed other pictures to the media of children of various races seated together in Barkhuizen’s class.

“These kinds of photos are the kind that nobody will publish on social media. These photos show a teacher that loves her children. All these photos in the background are photos of her class during last year and these photos prove that surely she is doing something right. She is succeeding to integrate children from different backgrounds. On these photos you will see only happy faces.”

Hermann says Solidarity will also request the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the actions of several political officials who contributed to the teacher’s suspension.

“Solidarity will also ask the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the actions of the North West Education MEC Sello Lahari as well as actions taken by several political parties. Solidarity will also request that the leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane to take disciplinary action against his youth leader, Luyolo Mphithi. Solidarity is also considering civil action following investigations which may include the defamation claim among others.”