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Media Release

16 April, 2007

Langenhoven Gymnasium High School report

Statement by Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape

Following media reports and a subsequent complaint from an Oudtshoorn parent regarding an alleged racial attack on his son at the Langenhoven Gymnasium High School, Education MEC Cameron Dugmore has instituted an inquiry and wishes to make the following announcement:

MEC Dugmore: "I have now received two preliminary reports on the incident, in which a cellphone video clip captured an alleged racial, violent assault on a learner at the school.

"From the reports it seem clear to me that we need a more extensive process to probe the underlying issues that led to this incident.

"Subsequent to the incident in question, we have also received a petition from the community. Clearly the issues raised in the petition require a more in-depth inquiry.

"I have therefor asked the Head of the Western Cape Education Department, Mr Ron Swartz, to lead a process of establishing a commission of inquiry, consisting of both head office staff and district officials, to investigate the context within which this specific incident took place, as well as other issues raised by the community in the petition and to make recommendations.

"In this regard, we have approached the Human Rights Commission to consider a request to become part of such a process.

"In terms of Langenhoven Gymnasium itself, the department will be requesting the school governing body to urgently institute a process of formal disciplinary hearings against all the learners allegedly involved. The alleged victim is back at school now and our district office is monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

"Further investigations will also be conducted into the role of both the teacher and the principal in this incident; as well as advise on systemic interventions required to address broader issues of diversity management.

"This process will now be managed by the department, given that as MEC, the appeals authority is vested in me. The report and recommendations must be concluded by the end-of-May.

"We must acknowledge that many of our schools are facing similar challenges, for example about two years ago we had racial tensions at Ned Doman in Athlone, and just recently a task team investigated issues of racism and education provisioning in some schools on the West Coast.

"There can be no place for racism, abuse and intolerance in any of our schools. As a department we are committed to make sure that the Western Cape is a learning home for all its children."

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

The Western Cape - A Home for All
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2007 WCED