Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has promised that no learners will be expelled because of their hair, after a Kempton Park high school tried to have pupils wearing braids removed. Windsor House Academy was also reportedly given three months to formulate new policies dealing with pupil's hair, IOL reported on Wednesday.
On Monday, eight black learners were reportedly chased away from the school's premises, allegedly because their hair was "unruly".
"There is no learner who will be expelled because of issues dealing with hair. No one will be victimised... Nominate four girls who will sit with management and I will come back here in three months' time to ensure that you have new policies that everyone will respect," Lesufi told learners on Tuesday.
A parent, Nonceba Ngwenya, told Daily Maverick that she had decided to leave her daughter's hair unbraided on Monday, as it was the start of the new school term.
But the school deemed her hair "inappropriate", and the Grade 12 pupil was told not to come back with "that hair".
Nonceba's sister, Siyabonga, told reporters: "The headmistress, Mariette van Heerden has been policing the black girls' hair at every chance and I guess today she's had enough and kicked the girls out with the warning 'no girl will come back with that hair'."
The school has not commented, but reportedly said the issue had been blown out of proportion.
"I'm not going to deal with the media about this. There's a code of conduct and both the learners and the parents signed it‚" Van Heerden told TimesLive.
Pupils at Pretoria Girls High were reportedly forced to have their hair chemically straightened, while a pupil at Melkbosstrand High in Cape Town was reportedly not allowed to write his final exams as his hair was dreadlocked.