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San Souci Protests – Summary of the day’s events -2 September 2016


Cape Town – 2 September 2016

As the #blackhairmatters campaign developed full steam at the well-known San Souci Girls High School in Newlands today,learners stood their ground in their battle against what they claim is strong arm tactics by the school to subdue them and undermine their valid protests.

Learners,parents and media representatives were closely monitored by uniformed and plain clothes police officers,as well as private security as they gathered outside the Newlands pool facility.Learners sang struggle songs,while ex learners of the school garnered support for their cause from the media as well as mobilising social media support.

Parents kept a watchful eye,with some expressing disgust that their children were still being subjected to the type of discrimination they themselves had experienced under the apartheid education system.At a few minutes to 12,the students started marching to the school,while singing the school song.

The school gates were locked when learners arrived, and the principal refused to meet them,opting instead to stay inside locked doors.Learners then stood their ground  and refused to hand over their memorandum of grievances to representatives of the Western Cape Education Department,who were deployed to the school by Education MEC Debbie Schafer.

When the school dismissed at 2pm,the protesting learners decided to block all entrances to the school,saying that they will not allow anyone to leave,until the principal (Mrs Murray) agreed to receive their memorandum in person.When teachers,learners and parents later met in the school hall,Mrs Murray claimed her personal safety was at risk,and was escorted out by police officers.

In the late afternoon,learners and parents were appeased when Western Cape Education MEC,Debbie Schafer,arrived at the school.The MEC listened to the many complaints and promised to investigate all complaints that were reported,claiming that she was not aware of many old complaints that were lodged with her department.After consulting with her officials,Schafer stated that Mrs Murray would not be at the school when learners return on Monday.She promised a full investigation of all complaints.The MEC also wants the school to draw up a new code of conduct within 30 days.

By Wesley Fester

Picture by Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp


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