Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has suspended Pretoria Girls’ High hair policy, following an online petition in solidarity with some black learners, whose allegation about systematic racism sparked off serious intervention.
The decision to fling away the controversial hair rules was taken during a late-night meeting with Pretoria High School for Girls’ school governing body on Monday night.
While the closed meeting lasted, the MEC also instructed the school management to apologize to the black school girls over what was perceived to be systematic racism at the school.
MEC Panyaza Lesufi’s Demands
Not only that Lesufi demanded that the school’s code of conduct should not discriminate against Black and Muslim girl, he also demanded that teachers and other staff members who sponsor or implement any racist policy and/or racist actions must be sanctioned, and that learners who protested must be well-protected against victimization.
“The element of the code of conduct that deals specifically with hairstyles will be suspended immediately. No pupil would be victimized purely because of their hairstyle until the school governing body has finalized a new code of conduct that deals specifically with these issues.
The mini-war that was on this campus is immediately suspended. Learners will go back to class. Teachers will teach. There will not be any form of protest.”
Black learners in Pretoria High School made headlines over the weekend after they marched in protest against racism row in the institution.
According to the students, they were forced to straighten their hair because afro hairstyles are deemed inappropriate and untidy, were barred from speaking their mother tongue, were accused of conspiracy when standing in groups, dubbed monkeys by a teacher when they were chanting struggle songs in class and were physically manhandled, among other things.
Meanwhile, authorities of the Pretoria Girls High – who apparently seemed to have bitten more than they could chew, are yet to confirm if they will actually apologize to the girls as instructed.
However, an independent body which would investigate the allegations has been set up by the MEC Panyaza Lesufi and the committee will have 21 days to report its findings.