While two investigations have been launched into the homophobia that took place at DF Malan High, the ACDP has come out in full support of the school’s discriminatory stance.
On Thursday, both the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) announced that they’d launched investigations into the Cape Town school.
MambaOnline earlier reported that LGBTIQ+ students were banned by the principal and governing body from commemorating LGBTIQ+ Pride month because it would be “disruptive”.
When some students held a low-key gathering on Monday 7 June, they were subjected to queerphobic threats and intimidation from other students and were allegedly told by the principal that they had brought the abuse on themselves.
“Such behaviour has absolutely no place in our schools,” commented Debbie Schäfer, Minister of Education in the Western Cape. “An investigation by the district is currently underway to establish the full facts of the matter, and we await the outcome thereof.”
She continued: “We will work with the school to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. The WCED is committed to ensuring that our schools are inclusive spaces, where values of equality and non-discrimination are upheld. We expect our schools to take active steps to promote such an environment.”
Gushwell Brooks, Communications Co-ordinator at the SAHRC, confirmed that the body was also looking at the disturbing incident after receiving numerous complaints from the public.
“The Commission… will be calling an urgent meeting with the Principal of DF Malan High School and the Western Cape Department of Education to discuss these allegations and determine a way forward that is in the best interests of the learners of the school,” said Brooks.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s most out of touch political party, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) came out swinging in support of the school’s homophobia and unconstitutional actions.
“The ACDP in the Western Cape is concerned and appalled at the calls for learners of DF Malan High School to offer a public apology because they chose not to celebrate the pride month at their school,” said Dr Ferlon Christians, ACDP Provincial Leader.
There has been no such call on the learners; only that homophobic and abusive students be disciplined. There have been demands, however, for the school to apologise for silencing the LGBTIQ+ pupils and to sensitise learners and teachers. An online petition making these demands has been signed by almost 14,000 people.
“Why should learners now be subjected to educational seminars for learners and educators to promote inclusion?” asked Christians.
“The ACDP Western Cape wants to agree with the DF Malan High School governing chairperson, Mr Andre Roux, where the school rejected the request for the pride celebration on the school premises on the basis that, according to Mr Roux, it could lead to tension and division within the school,” Christians continued.
“We do not condone any acts of intimidation or violence by the learners, but ask, why should the pride celebration be introduced at our schools? According to the Word of God, God created male and female.”
Christians also used the opportunity to say “no to polygamy, no to polyandry and no to same-sex toilets!”
In July last year, The WCED published the country’s first Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Guidelines for schools. They aim to provide a more inclusive environment for learners, including allowing for unisex bathroom facilities, safe spaces and social diversity associations at schools.