North West education and sport development MEC Sello Lehari met with school officials at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke on Thursday morning to discuss a photo that went viral on social media.
The outcome was that the teacher allegedly responsible for separating the children has been suspended with immediate effect, reports eNCA.
He said the suspension was to allow investigations to continue.
According to Lehari, the children were separated based on who of them could understand Afrikaans and English. “We did not accept the explanation,” he told community members, adding that a decision on the fate of the principal had not been taken.
ALSO READ: School rearranges kids after racially divided class pic goes viral
Some white parents have removed their children from the school following the outcry, depicting alleged racism at the school, eNCA has reported.
The removal appears to be as a result of fears surrounding safety, amid protests gathering momentum outside the school which appear to be led by EFF members.
Currently, the situation at the school is reportedly tense.
— Newsnote Agency (@NewsnoteNetwork) January 10, 2019
The picture showed four black children sitting at the back of the class, at a table separate to their white counterparts.
Lehari expressed shock and disappointment at the picture, ahead of his visit to the school on Thursday.
“On behalf of the department, I wish to condemn in its strongest terms any allegation of racism in our schools which contradict the constitution of our country. According to our South African constitution in Chapter Two, Bill of Rights, under education, it says do not discriminate on the basis of race,” Lehari said.
Departmental spokesman Freddy Sepeng said as soon as the matter reached the attention of the department, officials from the district were assigned to visit the school to ascertain the facts.
Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) said racism would not be tolerated in the province.
Provincial task team co-ordinator Keneetswe Mosenogi said the ANC was appalled by the seemingly racist seating arrangement at the school in a picture that is circulating in social media.
“We are appalled because this is definitely not the type of society that we envisage. We are not going to be held back by anything in our fight against racism,” Mosenogi said.
She called on the provincial government to urgently investigate the incident and where any wrongdoing was found, harsh measures be taken against the perpetrators.
“Racism cannot be tolerated in this province, where it rears its ugly head it will be cut off without any flinching,” she said.
– African News Agency (ANA)
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.