For The People

Northern Cape High School in racism debacle

A 14 year old girl was allegedly racially attacked by Charl Etzebeth, a teacher at Northern Cape High School. It is alleged that Etzebeth insulted a group of learners who were on their way to the arts and culture period stating that they are making noise like dogs and should go down the stairs and back up silently.

The learners did as they were told, the victimized girl was the last to get to the classroom due to not feeling well as she is asthmatic. It is reported that Etzebeth went on to embarrass the learner in front of her classmates, all in the presence of the arts and culture teacher, Ms Koopman. He proceeded to tell the 14 year old girl that she is dirty and does not deserve to be in the school as he is aware that she does not pay school fees and should resort to attending a ‘location school’ rather. As he walked out of the class he completed his rant by calling her a ‘Kaffir’.

Ms Koopman did not reprimand Etzebeth during or after his victimization stunt but instead told the learner that she would be wasting her time if she reports Etzebeth because he is an ‘untouchable man’

The learner left the school distraught by the ordeal. Her parents brought the matter to the school management’s attention and they were informed that the matter has been referred to the school governing body’s (SGB) chairperson because the teacher in question is a SGB appointee. Etzebeth has received and signed a notice of suspension pending disciplinary enquiry and a notice of disciplinary hearing. The hearing will be conducted by the executive committee of the SGB.

The spokesperson for the Department of Education, Geoffrey Van Der Merwe explained that the department is aware of the allegations leveled against the educator and that the disciplinary hearing for said educator is scheduled for the 11th of September 2019, “The Department of Education is aware of the allegations leveled against the teacher, his disciplinary hearing is scheduled for the 11th of September 2019”.

“It pains us, that 25 years into democracy, we still receive allegations of racism in our schools. This matter will be treated with the sense of urgency it deserves. The Department’s stance with regards racism in our schools is very clear, as racism is not tolerated in our schools. In the event that the allegations are true, we would expect the correct punishment to be meted out”.

The 14-year-old was taken for counseling by the school’s counselor who told her not to take the ordeal to heart as she had provoked Etzebeth.

The derogatory “K word” word is known for constituting hate speech. For the promotion of equality and prevention of unfair discrimination, act 4 of 2000 (equality act) provides for the victims of hate speech to claim damages for the hurt, humiliation and degradation which they suffered.

A charge has been laid against Etzebeth by the 14year old’s parents at the equality court.

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