Eldorado Park community rejects SAHRC report on race

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The community of Klipspruit West in Eldorado Park in Johannesburg has rejected a report by the South African Human Rights Commission, which found that disruptive protests at Klipspruit West Secondary School were racially motivated.

The school has been in the spotlight following protests that began in May 2017. The protests were sparked by the appointment of a black principal in a predominantly coloured community.

Spokesperson for the Greater Eldorado Park Business Forum, Charis Pretorius, says they will formally submit their objections. They feel that the commission failed to understand their issues. This is after the community highlighted that the newly-appointed principal lived right next door to a Sadtu representative on the interview panel.

“What the Human Rights Commission did not get is that the Department of Education failed the people of Klipspriut West when it came to the appointment and training of SGB; it failed them when it came to unions and the role the union has to play in the placement of Ms Makate.”

The Commission says oral submissions during its visit to the community actually demonstrated racial tensions. Commissioner Andrew Gaum says that tension and disruptions were fueled by racial tensions.

“Tensions and disruptions were fueled by racial tensions. Commission notes that during oral submissions, some submissions closely mirrored the principles along which the machinery of apartheid operated for example separate communities and no integration.”

The commission has made a number of recommendations including that community-based organisations in conjunction with the City of Johannesburg should conduct an indaba in an effort to quell racial tensions. It has also recommended a broader indaba by the provincial government.

The Department of Education has also been directed to conduct workshops on race issues.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has welcomed the report, saying that it provides him with a basis to go back to the school and try again.”

“I can tell majority of our schools when we appoint a principal we spend almost four months before the principal can occupy the post because of complaints, disruptions, people feel it’s not the right principal so if we remove people who want to influence the process unfairly.”

The lady who was appointed to the position has refused to go back to the school citing safety concerns. The department will now undergo a process to make a new appointment.