POLITICAL NEWS - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have promised that Friday’s demonstration outside Brackenfell High School in Cape Town will be peaceful.
The party plans to hand over a petition, after two weeks of intermittent protest action by them and Positive Action Campaign (PAC).
The protests come after an alleged private event held by the school’s parents hosted only white students, and allegedly did not invite black students.
The school’s governing body said due to Covid-19, this year’s matric farewell dance was cancelled. A “masked ball” was arranged privately by some matric students’ parents instead. Only 42 of the 254 Brackenfell students were present.
The EFF’s protest resulted in a clash between the party’s members, as well as residents and parents. Assault charges were laid by the EFF.
On Wednesday, the PAC also marched to the school, but tension at this demonstration reached boiling point, after reports that police fired stun grenades to disperse unruly crowds.
Police said in a statement on Thursday they are confident they will be able to contain any threat “arising from the EFF”, but said that should any agreed upon conditions for the march be violated, police will act, “which may include possible criminal sanction.”
A high police presence will descend on the Brackenfell area on Friday, with SAPS, metro police, public order police members, community policing forums and neighbourhood watches all called in to protect the school.
Spokesperson for Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, Kerry Mauchline, said the school’s own private security will also be present inside the school’s property.
She added that “no unauthorised persons will be coming onto school property”, and that Covid-19 protocols have already limited access to schools.
Schäfer urged Brackenfell residents to avoid coming near the school, unless they are parents dropping off or collecting their children.
Mauchline said residents and supporters of the school “should stay away”, as engaging in any confrontation with protesters could aggravate the situation, and prevent law enforcement from controlling the crowds.
But uncertainty surrounding Friday’s protest action is rife, despite the EFF’s assurances.