Klipspruit West Crisis: Are We Getting It Wrong Again?


We are back here again and it seems we will be walking around this mountain for a tad longer than we all anticipated.

It was Davidsonville last year, now it’s Klipspruit West, evidently a manifestation of a much bigger problem and not one to be confused in narrowness of education.

Our children are denied schooling and we are told the teachers are on a go-slow. In all of this we hear some community leaders stoking the fires and threatening mass mobilisation to spread wider. As a parent and lifelong activist for equal education, I detest our children losing one hour of schooling in a cramped curriculum and academic year. I detest a politicised organised labour that has less interest in the advancement of our children but their personal made sacrosanct rights to organise.

Yet I am not immune to the plight, frustration, and agony of former Coloured communities. No matter how you look at it, how it’s understood or heard from the mouths of the people, we dare not be dismissive of their claims. It would be sheer ignorance and even blatant arrogance to assume you from outside these communities understand what it means.

On the subject of appointment of principals after all the necessary steps and processes are followed it should not matter who is appointed in a ‘normal society’, however our society is not normal and to pretend it is to be deceiving. We are a society which battles the toxic combination of colonisation and colonisation of the special kind commonly called apartheid. As if that is not enough, we also dealing with the reality of the new anomalies that the democratic state in some instances inadvertently produced in other instances in glaring arrogance.

It would appear; on the one hand all that Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi must do is provide the hardcore evidence to show the people of Klipspruit West, Davidsonville and others that there are Coloured principals in apartheid geographic spaces such Soweto, Laudium, Katlehong etc. This evidence, if it exists, is crucial to assist the misconceptions and claimed contradictions.

You will notice I refer to these racial labels, but not because I endorse them. I consciously identify as Khoisan hence I reject the apartheid labels for a means for classification of identity configuration. I do so because the democratic State has in bad advice continued to uncritically appropriate the discredited race frames for identity formulation. A subject I have raised in my submission to the recent ANC National Planning Conference. All Coloureds may not be Khoisan but all Khoisan were classified as Coloured, hence my natural involvement in these circumstances.

For as long as the GED does not share the statistics if they exist as reality, the argument of apartheid Coloured communities being the only playground for a forced cross-pollination will continue to stand.

If I were MEC I would start there, nothing beats evidence that the non-racial stratification is not just focussed on so-called Coloured areas but also on so-called Black and so called Indian areas.

To advance the argument that South Africa is a non-racial society is on the one side true yet on the other a founding myth. We cannot deny that despite our claims of non-racialism, South Africa’s former townships remain racially stratified in dominance of its apartheid demographics. Meaning you still have the majority of people in Soweto people as black and Eldorado Park as Coloured and Laudium as Indian. We must engage what this means and how we can attempt to make transformation and social cohesion stand in these apartheid communities.

The implications therefore remain, that language will be factored in as a cardinal departure point for these communities no different to others. If people go to a local clinic, police station, and even a school and cannot be heard in their mother tongue it may be argued their human rights are encroached upon if not violated. We know for example the Police Station in Eldorado Park is a classic example of this anomaly.

Therefore, resorting to labelling people racist and disbanding the SGB is perhaps the easy way out but does not solve the problem. You may win the cheap debate and right to stand on your tomato box, as the one who told Coloureds they are racist, but it does not exempt you from your own plausible racist mind in attempt of dealing with a community.

One may choose to disband the SGB because one can, because they floatedon one or other policy regulation and therefore prove dysfunctional, hardly an uncommon challenge in SA. That is short-termism and attempt at immediate crisis-averting tactics. It does not deal with the real problem that we all who claim sensibility know exists.

We had Davidsonville; what have we learnt and not learnt. We clearly haven’t learnt anything because we are back here again.

What is indisputable is exacted punitive inequality (epi), the case we lodged with the SAHRC on May 28, 2017 stands. Exacted punitive inequality suggests while the constitution demands an equality informed by an equality of humanity, politicians, civil servants and officials claim a right to exact punishment on Coloured communities for a multiplicity of reasons from as narrow as sheer disrespect for the identity to a means to show them for voting a specific way.

This issue of a school principal appointment makes up part of that exacted punitive inequality that is understood in colloquial sense of marginalisation.

Again I suggest, provide the Soweto scenarios where Coloured Principals are appointed. Show how there are both Indian and Coloured principals in former black areas. If the Department can show it, the case may fall flat.

However, if the department cannot show it then we must accept former Coloured areas are used as the testing grounds, if not laboratory, of a one-dimensional social cohesion utopia and not other areas. Why then? Hence it can be argued the department has a specific agenda.

The collective frustration of Coloureds is underestimated and completely miscalculated by some in government. I hate being a prophet of doom, but my conscience and reading of the mounting pressure confirms we are sitting on a time bomb and it won’t be long when we will ask in embarrassed if not tragic sense why didn’t we see this coming.

How many times do we have to come back to this part of the mountain?

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