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'Your concerns are valid, but so are others': Madonsela responds to Malema calling her a ‘doomsayer’

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela has defended her views on the EFF's protests at Brackenfell High School in Cape Town this week, hitting back at Julius Malema's claims she is a “doomsayer”.

On Tuesday, Madonsela said Malema's concerns about justice are as valid as those about the rights of pupils to learn without being exposed to “exacerbated stress on top of Covid-19 and exams”.

During the height of the protests on Monday, Madonsela said children must be allowed to “learn in peace”. 

Malema had earlier lashed out at Madonsela and Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib after Habib questioned the criticism of parents who confronted EFF protesters during clashes which turned violent, saying they were protecting their children and the school.

“The EFF unsurprisingly decided to pop up at the school and protest. Parents felt the need to protect their kids and arrived in force to defend the school. Is this unreasonable? I don’t think so, given the EFF’s track record in engaging in violent protests. A violent altercation ensued,” he said.

He added that police failed to act against the red berets.

“But where were the police? I have said before that when the police don’t do their job, citizens take the law into their own hands. The EFF demands constitutional rights but ignores its obligations. It has been allowed to get away with this by both the police and politicians.” 

Malema agreed with Habib, saying that seeking his opinion and that of Madonsela on matters concerning the party is “sickening”. He said people must follow their own convictions without seeking the assurance of “doomsayers” Madonsela and Habib.

The EFF protested outside the school on Friday last week and on Monday against allegations of racism. Last week, the Sunday Times Daily reported that a group of parents planned and hosted a private, unofficial matric ball after their official annual ball was cancelled by the school because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Racial tensions reportedly broke out at the school after it emerged that the ball was only attended by white pupils and two teachers from the school. The EFF demanded the sacking of the two teachers.

The story has drawn major reaction from the public, politicians and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which condemned the violence and called for an investigation into the allegations of racism.

“The commission is deeply disappointed by the violence as well as the allegations that preceded it. The SAHRC is shocked to learn that in this day and age, a racially segregated private event was held for matric learners from the school. More disappointingly, is that this event was attended by their parents and two teachers from the school,” it said.

“The alleged holding of a 'whites-only' event, if true, is also strongly condemned. No one should be allowed to bring back racial segregation to this country. The deep racial divisions of SA’s apartheid and colonial past cannot be healed while children are socialised separately on the basis of race and thus, as a nation, we will never be able to forge a SA where all are equal, free and are treated with dignity.”



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