The school governing body of Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke  has denied that there is racism at the school. This follows an image depicting Grade R learners divided according to race, going viral on social media.

Different political formations picketed outside the school on Thursday, demanding the removal of the teacher, who distributed the image. The teacher, Ellen Barkhuisen has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter.

Police were called in to monitor the situation.

Scores of white males, some carrying guns, stood in groups, as the picketers forcefully entered the school premises.

Upon his arrival, MEC Sello Lehari announced to loud cheers, that he doesn’t accept the school’s explanation that the learners were separated because others don’t understand nor speak English and Afrikaans.

He then announced the suspension.

“As the department, we highly condemn what happened in this school. We can’t tolerate it. So, Ellen, after my consultation with officials, she is suspended with immediate effect.”

ANC Mayor in the Mamusa Municipality, Aaron Motswana says there’s no need to jump the gun. “We are also shocked to learn about this particular barbaric incident. It was unwarranted, and we strongly want to condemn it. On behalf of the ANC and the municipality that we lead, 24 years into democracy, we don’t expect such incidents, to continuously happen.

“There’s a history of this particular area, especially where Schweizer Reneke Hoerskool is affected.”

DA Provincial Leader, Joe Mcgluwa is hopeful the investigation will be fair.

The School Governing Body has welcomed the decision to suspend the teacher. Oloff van Niekerk says, “We respect his decision. Obviously, it’s his prerogative to make that decision. I can also say there’s definitely no racism in this school. We are a very proud school. But we respect the MEC’s decision.”

Parents fetched their children earlier as they were reportedly panicking when the picket gained momentum.