NEWS
18/01/2018 16:59 SAST | Updated 18/01/2018 18:04 SAST

Hoërskool Overvaal: The Battleground Of A Torn Community

Thursday's protest was filled with racial tension, as black protesters and white parents went head to head.

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Armed police clash with protesters, including disgruntled parents, ANC supporters and EFF supporters, at Hoërskool Overvaal on January 17, 2017.

Frustrated Veereniging residents took to the streets again on Thursday for the second day of protest action outside Hoërskool Overvaal.

Most of the protesters were from the ANC, wearing black, green and yellow regalia and waving the party's flag.

At first the mood was quiet, as if there was no intention of protesting. As time went by, however, more people arrived clad in Young Communist League (YCL) and Congress of South African Students (Cosas) regalia to join the protest.

The police demarcated an area for the protesters, while the white parents had their own area.

The parents, mostly men, stood firm – almost forming a human chain facing protesters. Every now and then, there would be conflict between the two groups, with insults being hurled.

However, the true war was between protesters and the police. On Wednesday police dispersed them with rubber bullets, causing injuries to many. According to protesters, they were not given any warning that police would be firing rubber bullets.

On Thursday the police presence had almost doubled – in addition to private security patrolling inside the school.

The Human Rights Commission's André Gaum was also present at the school. He urged all stakeholders involved to act in the appropriate manner.

As protesters started getting agitated, they threw rubbish on to the roads and started to set it alight. Some even threw slabs of concrete ripped from the pavement on to the road.

When the school day ended and while children were being fetched by their parents, a protester threw a petrol bomb at a police car. Police fired rubber bullets at the protesters, and those standing close to where the incident happened were immediately arrested.

Those who were arrested are believed to mostly be members of Cosas, and one of the mothers whose children were not admitted into the school.

The High Court in Pretoria's decision regarding admissions to the Afrikaans-medium school ruled that the school does not have the capacity to accommodate 55 English-speaking pupils

However, angry community members allege the school is refusing the pupils admission because they are black.