Pretoria – Heritage Hill property saw red when EFF members picketed outside their premises on Friday.
Singing, chanting and waving placards, members demanded the fall of racism in South Africa, saying they were fed-up with white supremacy in the country. This came after a picture considered to have racial implications captured at the Koeitjie en Kalfies Kleuterskool, a crèche at Centurion, went viral on social media on Thursday.
The picture showed a black child allegedly being segregated from her white classmates.
“We have no more tolerance for racists, we have no more space for racists in our country,” said EFF Gauteng acting chairwoman Mandisa Mashego.
She said that anyone who wanted to be racist and felt that it was their right must go and exercise that right in Europe as the EFF would not tolerate that in South Africa.
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) June 24, 2016
While the picketing continued, the crèche owner Anéll Engelbrecht went to talk to the EFF members, but agreed to speak only to the leaders.
She said the picture was taken out of context and that she and the crèche were not racist.
“I do not have racism in my heart; the child was not sitting at the table alone. She was seated with another little girl at the table but when it was time to take the picture, the other little girl started crying and the teacher asked the assistant to pick her up and it was in that second that the picture was taken,” she said.
Engelbrecht said the picture did not mean any harm and she was sorry it appeared to be racist.
Mashego told Engelbrecht that they did not want her apology and it was irrelevant.
“For us to forgive you, you need to take 10 black children and fund their fees from Grade 1 until they at least get their diploma or some form of qualification,” Mashego said.
However, while she made the demands, Engelbrecht walked away.
She told the Pretoria News she tried calling the child’s mother to apologise but the mother did not answer her calls.
The girl’s mother said that when she saw the picture she was deeply hurt.
“When I saw that picture I asked myself why my child was being isolated. I left work immediately and went to pick up my daughter from the crèche just to give her love,” she said.
“When I got to the crèche, Anne Muller, my daughter’s teacher and the owner’s daughter, told me that her mother was shouting at her for posting the picture.”
The mother said she expected an apology from the crèche as soon as she got there to pick up her daughter but nothing like that came her way. “Out of frustration I posted the picture on Facebook. The incident actually happened on Wednesday but the picture went viral on Thursday and to that day I had not yet received an apology from the school.”
The mother alleged that this was not the first incident that had happened at the crèche. “A few weeks back my baby started having a nappy rash and I complained about it… My nanny then told me that she suspected that child minders were not putting bum cream on my daughter.”
When she asked if they put cream on her, she was told that one of the assistants said bum cream did not work on black children. The mother said her child would not go back to the crèche.