NEWS
18/01/2018 13:37 SAST | Updated 18/01/2018 13:45 SAST

SA Human Rights Commission: Discussion About Language And Education Necessary In South Africa

As conflict continues at Hoërskool Overvaal, the SA HRC reminds all stakeholders that rights must be exercised in accordance with the Constitution.

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Protesters, including disgruntled parents, South African ruling Party African National Congress supporters, South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters supporters and members march near burning tyres during clashes with South African riot police officers during unrest over language and admission policies at Ho'rskool (Hoerskool) Overvaal school on January 17, 2017 in Vereeniging, South Africa. / AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The South African Human Rights Commission's Andre Gaum told HuffPost on Thursday that there should be more dialogue about language policy at schools.

"We are not intervening or interfering as far as the court case and the merits of the matter are concerned, although we do feel the broader discussion about language and education and the right of language of choice is necessary in South Africa," he said.

Gaum was speaking outside Hoërskool Overvaal, where there have been protests since Wednesday morning.

Disgruntled community members belonging to the ANC and EFF resorted to protesting after the High Court in Pretoria's decision regarding admissions to the Afrikaans-medium school.

It was ruled that the school does not have the capacity to accommodate 55 English-speaking pupils

However, angry community members believe it is because the pupils are black.

Gaum also pleaded with protesters to refrain from being violent.

"It is also the right similarly of protesters to protest here and not to agree with the court decision, but that right needs to be exercised in the right constitutional manner – which means it needs to be peaceful an unarmed," he said.

He warned that police should also not use force unnecessarily.

"Police also need to act with restraint, restraining themselves from using unnecessary violence."

Yesterday a number of protester were injured after police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at them. At least 10 people were arrested for public violence.

Parents at the school have told HuffPost that they were instructed not to speak to the media. They say Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi asked the school to relay this message to them.