Western Cape police say they have arrested a 39-year-old man and are investigating a case of public violence following violent clashes between parents and EFF members outside Brackenfell High School over a private matric celebration organised by some parents.

Video footage of the incident posted online shows a heavy police presence outside the school with officers breaking up fights between parents and EFF members.

The provincial education department has condemned the incident. It says the event was a private party and not organised or funded by the school.

“I strongly condemn both the actions of the EFF members and those parents outside the school who used violence to address their concerns. Violent attacks are simply not acceptable and are in no way benefitting our learners. Violence is also no solution to solving disagreements. I urge all parties to engage with one another in a responsible and adult manner and for SAPS to ensure that our learners are protected from this kind of violence and disruption,” says Western Cape Education Minister, Debbie Schafer.

Schäfer says the violent behaviour at the school caused unnecessary distress to learners writing their final exams at the end of a very challenging year.

“Whatever one’s views may be, the fact is that the event in question was privately organised, at a private venue, by private individuals. The school had nothing to do with the organisation or management of that event. It was not supported, funded or endorsed by the school in any way.”

Debbie Schafer on violent clashes outside Brackenfell High School:

‘Sowing division’

Schafer has accused the EFF of attempting to sow divisions in the province. She says the matric event was a private party and not organised or funded by the school. She says will await further reports on the situation before deciding on the way forward.

Schafer warned that if the EFF continues its protest action, she will approach the courts to interdict them from disrupting the Grade 12 examinations.

“Last week, it came out that there had been an event arranged by some people at Brackenfell High School. It was then turned into a statement of fact that apparently, it was a matric farewell by the school and that it was only for white learners. That is not true. There was an event arranged privately by some parents and learners who attend the school. There were 42 learners out of 254. The EFF has now turned it into a complete racial incident. We will have to see from here where we go forward. I will have to get some reports from the school to see if we need to take any further action. Maybe going to court to stop the EFF from instigating violence at our schools.”
In a statement, the school governing body and staff distanced themselves from allegations of racism.

The EFF condemned attacks on its members that were protesting at the school.

Police are maintaining a strong presence at the school.

The EFF on violent clashes outside Brackenfell High School: