Ulwazi High School
The DA says it will file an official complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) about the homophobic abuse endured by 38 high school students in the Eastern Cape.
On Wednesday it was reported that Principal Nomampondomise Kosani of Ulwazi High School ‘outed’ the girls, aged 14 to 18, in front of their parents, guardians and teachers after two female pupils were found kissing in the toilets.
The humiliated girls were subjected to insults and were told to ‘stop’ being gay’. Some of the parents reacted with anger and allegedly commented that they were prepared to use violence to ‘make their children straight’.
In a statement, the DA said it was “appalled” at the report. “The SAHRC is mandated to address human rights violations and seek effective redress,” said DA MP Sonja Boshoff and a Member of Basic Education Portfolio Committee.
“This incident indicates a clear violation of these children’s human rights and must be investigated fully. Principal Kosani’s reference to the pupils’ sexual orientation as a ‘problem’ and that the girls were teaching other pupils ‘bad habits’ is deeply concerning,” Boshoff added.
The incident has also been condemned by the Eastern Cape Education Department. “As the department we feel very offended and whoever is behind this will have to face [our] wrath,” spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima told the Daily Dispatch.
“These actions go against the constitution of South Africa and the department will have to follow up on the matter.”
Mtima was further quoted by News24 as saying: “It’s pure hatred. That’s why the education department is investigating. If we are positive that this is what happened, heads will roll.”
It is believed that the Commission for Gender Equality is also investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, the Seshego Equality Court is soon set to hand down judgment in a case instituted by the SAHRC that concerns a transgender Limpopo school pupil who failed matric in 2014 following alleged ongoing homophobic abuse by the principal.
“The Commission is concerned that LBGTI persons continue to face victimisation, discrimination and violations of their rights basic rights to human dignity and equality,” said the SAHRC.
“The constitutional rights of transgendered people in general, and transgendered minors in particular, to enjoy the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms, should be respected and protected in all spheres of society, including places of learning.”