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'Curro school guilty of racial segregation'

Panyaza Lesufi says he is reviewing the operating licence for Curro Foundation School in Roodeplaat.

FILE: Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the Curro Foundation School in Pretoria after reports of racial segregation. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says he is reviewing the operating license of the Curro Foundation School in Roodeplaat after an investigation found it guilty of racially segregating children.

Lesufi says an apology and the re-allocation of children previously segregated will not be enough for the Curro School to keep its license.

Earlier this year, Eyewitness News investigated claims of young children being assigned to classes based on their race.

The department launched an investigation after the school justified the segregation on the basis of keeping children of the same language and culture together.

Lesufi said he would not apologise for fighting racism despite those who criticised him. He said the findings of the investigation into the Curro School were damning.

"There was indeed segregation of learners at that school and this was confirmed by Curro management. They admitted that this was as a result of pressure from certain white parents."

He said the school has accepted the report and admitted to being pressured by some white parents to segregate black and white children.

"This is completely unacceptable; it's discriminatory and contrary to the provisions of section nine of our constitution."

Lesufi said he wants to see documented proof that the school has a complete non-racial system and while the school has recognised that racial segregation is wrong, he will meet with Curro Management before taking a final decision.

"I will meet with Curro management in the near future so that we can close this chapter. If I cannot be provided with information that will convince me that non-racialism will be promoted in this school, I reserve all my rights concerning their operating license"

He has also recommended that school management and its teachers undergo unspecified training.

Lesufi has also sent a strong warning to schools across the province.

He said he would be setting up an independent committee of inquiry to deal with racism at schools due to begin their investigations by the end of June.

"I want to send a strong message to anyone who believes they can cover up racism, wherever you are, we will uncover you."

Earlier this year Lesufi had promised to address racism in private schools but has now extended this to all schools.