To rid SA of racists, pun­ish them harshly

CityPress - - Voices -

Racism con­tin­ues to rear its ugly head, de­spite such acts hav­ing been con­demned and those found guilty be­ing pun­ished. The racist in­ci­dent at Laer­skool Sch­weizer Reneke in North West, which came to light this week, is the lat­est to get the coun­try talk­ing.

The teacher of the Grade R class in ques­tion took a photo of the kids in her care and sent it by group mail to their par­ents. The pic­ture shows the chil­dren had been seg­re­gated by race.

The pic­ture shows that this act of racism was brazen and thought through – an act com­mit­ted by some­one who still ap­pre­ci­ates apartheid 25 years after the evil ide­ol­ogy was of­fi­cially con­signed to the rub­bish bin.

The re­ac­tions of the white par­ents and res­i­dents shows how far the coun­try has come in tack­ling racism. As re­ported in the Sowe­tan on Fri­day, the sen­ti­ments of white par­ents were that, “if you [black par­ents] are not happy here, take your child to an­other school” and “there are more than 10 schools in the town­ship. If they are not happy, let them take their chil­dren there.”

This il­lus­trates that there are some in this coun­try who still feel like they are solely en­ti­tled to the coun­try’s pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions.

The provin­cial ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment and the SA Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (HRC) have started an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter and, with luck, the teacher and the school will be made ex­am­ples of to show that South Africa has no place for racism.

The HRC is right when it says that schools are plat­forms for teach­ing and learn­ing not only of a for­mal cur­ricu­lum, but also of fun­da­men­tal value sys­tems.

But the coun­try must make racism un­cool by giv­ing harsher sanc­tions and jail time to those found guilty of such acts.

We do not need more Penny Spar­rows and Vicki Mombergs in demo­cratic South Africa.

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