NEWS
17/01/2018 09:39 SAST | Updated 17/01/2018 10:46 SAST

And Now AfriForum Arrives At Overvaal...

The EFF sang "Kill the Boer" and other anti-apartheid songs, as AfriForum stood looking on.

Pontsho Mabena

AfriForum arrived at Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging on Wednesday after a contingent of red berets chanted and protested against the school's language and admissions policy.

It was expected to get heated during the day as the two groups do not see eye to eye.

The EFF sang "Kill the Boer" and other anti-apartheid songs, as AfriForum stood watching on.

Pontsho Mabena

This follows a High Court decision upholding an urgent application by the school's governing body (SGB) to overturn the decision by the Gauteng department of education to force the school to admit 55 English learners.

The EFF was accompanied by disgruntled parents of the rejected pupils. At the centre of the issue is the school's Afrikaans-medium language policy.

A parent of one of the 55 excluded pupils said: "It is inconvenient to take kids to another school because of distance."

Another parent, Renelle Peny, said: "It has nothing to do with racism. The EFF has taken the matter out of proportion."

Pontsho Mabena

On Tuesday, disgruntled parents met with Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to see where the 55 children could be admitted in Vereeniging as schools open nationwide. It was understood that the excluded pupils would now be enrolled at the nearby Riverside High School.

However, some of the parents believe it was unfair that the children were not admitted to Overvaal.

Pontsho Mabena

Police vehicles and private security vehicles were parked outside the school to maintain peace among those dropping off their children as South African schools open their doors for the 2018 academic year.

But in a quick burst of violence, a parent was reportedly assaulted by protesters.

The red berets were adamant that both the department of education as well as the school has failed the 55 pupils.

The party's Azwi Tshitantano told HuffPost that they were not only protesting against the school, but also against the department of education.

"The department of education is the custodian of all public schools. It cannot happen that, after 24 years [of democracy], our people are still being discriminated against on the basis of language," Tshitantano said.

He said that Vereeniging's small population was mostly made up of black people, but that this was not evident at Hoërskool Overvaal.

Pontsho Mabena

"[The] majority of the citizens who reside in this area are black people, but inside the school is just less than 20 who are forced to learn [and] study through the medium of Afrikaans," he said.

"We are saying, as the EFF, we are here to demonstrate, we are here to support the parents of our people so that every kid in this area has access to education," he said.

The school made headlines following court battles between itself and the department of education.

The High Court in Pretoria set aside the Gauteng department of education's decision to admit English-speaking learners at the Afrikaans-medium school.

Judge Bill Prinsloo on Monday found in favour of Hoërskool Overvaal, saying the school did not have the capacity to admit the additional learners.

Pontsho Mabena

This despite the department vowing to provide additional resources including an English-speaking teacher, for the school.

The school argued that there was no capacity for the learners; however, Lesufi believes it is because the learners do not speak Afrikaans.

The department has since decided to appeal Judge Prinsloo's ruling.