Pietermaritzburg – An internal disciplinary hearing of three Maritzburg College boys, who showed allegiance to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), will be put on hold.
The hearing was postponed while the Department of Education launches a full-scale investigation into multiple allegations of racism at the school, a spokesperson has said.
Speaking to News24 on Monday, department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said officials were locked in a meeting with the school governing body and management.
According to Mahlambi, deeper issues of racism had emerged at the school, resulting in the boys’ disciplinary hearing being halted.
“Our position is that we will put all other processes on hold for these boys, and anything else at the school. We are launching a full-scale investigation into the school, following other reports of alleged racism.”
Mahlambi said a departmental team would investigate the racism allegations and any other disciplinary matters that the school management was meant to undertake.
There were reports of increased security at the school on Monday as the meeting took place.
The three pupils were meant to be subjected to disciplinary proceedings after they posted a photograph online in which one pupil is holding a T-shirt that read: “EFF our last hope of getting our land back”.
The picture‚ which went viral on Friday‚ raised a hotly debated online discussion on racism and freedom of expression at the school.
EFF expresses support.
Over the weekend, the EFF rallied behind the boys, saying the school must drop the charges against them with immediate effect.
“We demand that they drop their reactionary and unconstitutional charges with immediate effect, or face the full might of our mass power,” EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said on Saturday.
“The black child has a freedom to express their thoughts anywhere in this country, without any fear or favour,” said Ndlozi.
Kevin Pietersen backlash
Meanwhile, former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen – a former pupil of the school – has come under fire for his comments on the matter.
Last week, he tagged the picture of the boys in a tweet and said: “Total disrespect for a once GREAT school! Are you joking?!?!”
On Monday morning, some tweeted that Pietersen “had egg on his face” after the department took over all disciplinary matters at the school. DM
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