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Cosatu Blames Premier for Elsenburg Race Conflict - 2 September 2015

Cosatu Blames Premier for Elsenburg Race Conflict


Cosatu is saddened by the race conflict at the Elsenburg Agricultural College. This conflict was long in coming because Afrikaans was preferenced by the College in the face of students who did not understand the language. The Premier, who is in charge of the Agricultural College had known of this position that disadvantages the non Afrikaans students, but hoped that by making them feel unwelcome, “the refugees” as she calls Africans, would return to the Eastern Cape. Cosatu had personally written to the Premier’s office advising her about this danger that was unfolding, but the fact that she had done nothing, is now reflecting her intention to cause divisions.


The Premier had received reports on the growing tensions around the language issue, but hoped that the conflict would see Afrikaans speaking Coloureds and White students united in conflict against Black Africans. Cosatu calls on all students at the college to not allow them to be used by the Premier and her racially divisive agenda. The National Minister must intervene and ensure that English and Afrikaans are given equal status and classes in the short term, whilst the broader issues are resolved.


Cosatu also calls for the Teaching staff that violated the decision to suspend classes and who assaulted students, to be suspended, as they are clearly central to driving the agenda of racist divisions at Elsenburg.  The Premier should also be cautioned against fanning the flames of racial conflict, lest Cosatu lay charges against her for reckless endangerment.


These race tensions have already seen parents of white students coming to schools to try and intimidate black students standing up for their rights. We caution against these kinds of actions from racists who were always opposed to integration at Elsenburg. Cosatu will not allow a situation where parents get involved in open conflict at the school against a legitimate issue amongst the students and will take the strongest action against them.


This is part of the central problem in South Africa and Western Cape in particular, that sees whites want to hold onto everything they had under apartheid. But they should know that is coming to an end. Like Rugby and language, the land will be shared amongst all its people, so some will be taken from those who stole it under apartheid.