Tensions are running high at Hoerskool Overvaal in Vereeniging, which found itself at the centre of a storm of controversy over language.

Some members of the local community threatened to burn down the school this week after a Pretoria high court ruled that the education department could not override the school’s language policy.

In December, the department ordered the school to take in 55 english-speaking pupils at the beginning of this year. The high court ruled that the school had neither the capacity to comply, nor the time to make the changes to its language policy in accordance with the department’s demands.

The Economic Freedom Fighters have been staging a protest outside the school since this morning, to show their anger at the department’s slowness in transformation at schools.

Despite a police presence, which has been in place in order to prevent clashes between the protesters and parents dropping off their children on the first day of school, the Times has reported that an EFF protester punched a parent in the face after the latter made an offensive gesture.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is scheduled to meet with community representatives to today to try and diffuse tensions.

The MEC says he doesn’t agree with the high court’s ruling, which is why the department will appeal. He also says parents and community members shouldn’t do anything to jeopardise the ongoing case.

“That’s the reason why I’m meeting with the representatives from that community so that I can be in a position to advise them to let the law to take its own course,” Lesufi said.

[Source: Times]