Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC has scheduled a meeting with the EFF on Thursday to address the party’s concerns regarding Brackenfell High School.

Schäfer made a plea on Tuesday for calm and that the party considers the best interest of learners ahead of their march they have planned for Friday.

The EFF has been granted permission by the City of Cape Town for 100 members to protest again outside Brackenfell High School from midday on Friday.

Schäfer further said the protest “is clearly an attempt to intimidate the school, and is infringing on the rights of the learners who are writing exams”.

She said “Our learners have been subjected to unprecedented events this year and anxiety and stress levels are high. This behaviour is going to add to that pressure”. She said while the EFF was entitled to protest if they had a valid permit, they were obliged to do so responsibly.

Schäfer also said should the EFF fail to protest peacefully, remain off school grounds – as protesting on school property was prohibited by the SA Schools Act – and ensure Covid-19 physical distancing rules were observed, the SAPS would immediately make arrests.

She said “We are in contact with the school, SAPS and the City’s law enforcement services to ensure that order is maintained and our learners and staff are safe. There is also private security to ensure that no harm comes to the school or its learners.

“Arrangements have been made to ensure that the matrics writing Physical Sciences (Physics) Paper 1 on Friday morning can do so without disruption. All Grade 8 to 11 exams will be rescheduled, but the school will remain open and classes for learners will continue”.

Meanwhile, the MEC called on Brackenfell residents not to gather at the school with a plan to start altercations.

“Any action that would escalate tensions further will make it harder for law enforcement authorities to do their jobs. Please do not take the law into your own hands.

“They have already put in place processes earlier this year to ensure that the school is more inclusive, as set out in their statement last week. This will be a process and the EFF cannot conduct ongoing protests because their demands are not being met.

“I have scheduled a meeting with the EFF provincial representatives on Thursday to discuss their concerns regarding the school, in an attempt to try and reach a suitable understanding on the way forward.”

She again asked everyone to think of the children who had a constitutional right to a basic education.

“Their welfare should be foremost in our minds.”