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Private school racism inquiry open to all

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says alleged racial segregation will be discussed at an upcoming summit.

FILE: Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - All parents with children at private schools will be able to make submissions to an inquiry on racism, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Monday.

He made the comments in the wake of alleged racial segregation at Curro Foundation School in Roodeplaat.

Lesufi on Monday announced plans to convene a summit of all private schools where a transformation charter would be presented to principals and school governing bodies.

He made the remarks following a visit to Curro Foundation School.

The Pretoria school said it would immediately reintegrate classes after parents complained that white and black pupils were being kept apart.

Lesufi said alleged racial segregation at Curro and other private schools would be addressed at the two-week summit later in February.

The MEC says one of the key points of the transformation charter is that the teacher population should resemble that of the school.

"It sends the wrong message when the entire teacher population represents one race. It can't be that some of the children only see black people as gardeners and tea ladies."

He says the South African Human Rights Commission still needs to conclude its investigation into what happened at Curro.

Lesufi said he had decided to launch the inquiry following many complaints of racism at private schools in Gauteng.

He says schools need to be regulated to protect the human rights of all pupils, regardless of race.

"What happened is unfortunate but let's move forward. I will not ignore the cries of African parents who have been calling me to say they are in the same predicament in some of the top schools in South Africa."

The school in question will meet with affected parents on Tuesday evening.