Wilgehof Primary School teacher, Lenard Mac Kay, who the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) found guilty of bringing the department into disrepute and promoting racism by displaying Julius Malema’s picture in 2013, has gone back to class despite being prohibited from teaching.
The Free State teacher was axed after he displayed Julius Malema’s picture alongside a monkey in his class. In October 2015, he was found guilty of racism and hate speech.
Mac Kay’s racist actions were investigated after a parent in Wilgehof primary school complained that his two children had complained about the teacher’s racist attitude towards black pupils at the school.
He was also accused of displaying an old South African flag in his classroom, and a poster depicting black people as monkeys. Speaking further in its finding, SAHRC added that “The complainant also alleged that the teacher often refers to black children using the ‘K’-word in front of others in class.”
“In addition, the teacher walked around the class room with a mirror which he will put in front of a black child’s face and asked ‘what do you see?’ When the black child said ‘I do not know, sir,’ the teacher would respond by saying “a baboon…, you see a baboon”
His dismissal reportedly follows that of the school principal Fanie Roeloffze, who was fired for doing nothing about Mac Kay’s display of Julius Malema’s picture.
However, on July 1, 2015, Mac Kay was employed at the Dr CF Visser Primary School but his employment was severed after the education department objected and asked the institution’s governing body to sack him.
Meanwhile, Mac Kay has just recently been employed at Trompsburg Primary School. But, the management of Trompsburg revealed that he was employed on a temporary basis.
Responding to his employment, SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena reminded the department of education that “Part of the recommendations to the department after the investigation was to have him declared by the court unsuitable to work with children”, but unfortunately, “the department has failed to ensure that he doesn’t work with kids.”
However, responding on behalf of the department of education, spokesperson Howard Ndaba denied knowing about MacKay’s recent employment.
“As far as we are concerned, this man was found guilty and he is not fit to work with children. We will definitely persuade the school governing body not to hire him,” said Ndaba.
Racism and hate speech have continued to thrive in most schools in South Africa. Last month, the Department of Basic Education called on all and sundry to raise awareness against racism and discrimination.
According to the department, racism, intolerance and discrimination are not a product of a cohesive society. It asserted that social cohesion is one of the key priorities of its current administration. It added that its role in promoting unity in diversity in and through education is vital to the future of South Africa.