Several parents of children who attend a North West school embroiled in a race controversy, fetched their children from the school on Thursday as protesters demonstrated on the premises, several media outlets reported.
Tensions have been running high since Thursday morning as groups of protesters, some believed to be EFF members, gathered at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke.
The school was thrust into the public spotlight after a photo emerged, which seemingly showed black pupils sitting separately from their white classmates.
The photo has since gone viral and many people, including education department officials, slammed the apparent division.
School officials contacted parents to fetch their children as they were concerned about the pupils’ safety, Netwerk24 reported.
eNCA also reported that several parents fetched their children in light of the protests.A
Meanwhile, the father of one of the black children seen in the photo said he was told that the children were “scared of the white kids”.
The father, who spoke to Open News anonymously, told the channel on Wednesday, after he had seen the photograph on social media, that he called the school to question the seating arrangement.
He said the teachers could not answer his questions. He later received a call from the principal as well as a school governing body member, who apologised for the incident.
He said he questioned what happened and whether the school promoted racial diversity.
“When they answered the question, they said to me kids were afraid of white people. I said: ‘No … it’s not for the first time my kids [are] attending school or pre-school with white people,'” he told the broadcaster.
The father said he argued that his child had attended a multi-racial school in Potchefstroom before and that he was comfortable. The response was therefore strange to him.
North West Education and Sport Development MEC Sello Jonas Lehari and senior managers at the department visited the school on Thursday to investigate the matter.
Vuyisile Ngesi, a spokesperson in the office of Premier Job Mokgoro, said Lehari wanted to get an idea of what happened and what led to the racial separation in class.
“We believe that the action that should be taken will be informed by the discussion between the MEC and the school management and the report that will emanate from that interaction will inform the course of action to be taken,” Ngesi told reporter on Thursday.