SADTU Western Cape warned about the polarisation of the school community

On Friday, 6 November 2020, SADTU was quoted in the Cape Times regarding the Brackenfell High School matric ball incident. The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) Provincial Secretary, Jonavon Rustin said; “having diversity at the school was important and the school’s transformation policy should be relooked.”

 With regard to the allegedly exclusionary ball Rustin said: “it does not reflect well on school and parent community. It smacks of alleged racism within the school and polarises the school community, province and country, which will have disastrous effects going forward if not corrected. If we want to build a unified SA, such practices should be frowned upon and criticised. It needs to be corrected.”

Rustin demanded the ball organisers apologise to pupils who were excluded from attending the ball as well as their parents.

SADTU Western Cape had warned the incident would lead to polarisation of the school community, but neither the MEC Debbie Schafer, WCED nor the school heeded this caution. The matter has now escalated in clashes between the EEF and some parents in Brackenfell.

We are appalled that the right to peaceful protest is met with violence by racist factions in the area. SADTU, in the strongest terms, condemns the action of the right wingers who have now polarised our society. This cannot be allowed in our democratic society and has a devastating consequence for upholding the provisions of the Bill of Rights.

We are deeply disturbed by the custodian of Education when she says:

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”

This type of statement shows the narrow view that  the MEC has,  and that it is OK to organise exclusive matric farewells for white pupils and their teachers since it’s their right. Shame on the MEC, she should have corrected the actions of the parents or organisers of Brackenfell High and asked them to apologise to all who were excluded and not to condone their action.

Further, the WCED should have embarked on a thorough investigation into the matter before the MEC made a reckless statement by saying “We are also not in the business of prescribing who people must invite to private events outside of school property”. This was an event linked to the school attended by staff, it should be the MEC’s business to condemn such racially exclusive events linked to a school.

The DA MEC for Education should set the tone/spirit of the transformation agenda and call out the wrongdoing. Having an exclusive ball is wrong, Private or Not.

SADTU Western Cape is calling on the Human Rights commission to investigate the matter and report to the public as soon as possible and that the Brackenfell education community should be subjected to an intense diversity programme.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Western Cape Secretariat


Provincial Secretary, Jonavon Rustin: 083 633 5714

Deputy Provincial Secretary, Sibongile Kwazi: 083 627 8006