SACP urges release of jailed pupil as victim of racism

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- There is need for an extensive campaign to eradicate racism in South Africa's education system, a senior official of the South African Communist Party (SACP) said Wednesday.
Supporting a call by the ANC youth league for the pardoning of a pupil jailed for stabbing a fellow white pupil, SACP spokesperson Mazibuko Jara said racism continues to victimise black people in South Africa.
Andrew Babeile has started a five-year jail sentence following his conviction for stabbing a white pupil at the Vryburg High School in 1999.
The ANC youth league has been calling for a pardon saying Babeile was a victim of a racist system.
Babeile had been involved in an altercation with some white pupils at his school, where allegations of racism were rife.
A fight ensued and Babeile stabbed one of the white boys with a pair of scissors in the neck.
The matter went to court and Babeile was convicted.
Last month he lost an appeal to have his conviction and sentence overturned.
"It is not in Babeile's interests to serve a jail term.
He must be pardoned, rehabilitated and integrated back into the community so that he can finish his education as a basis for a new future for him," said SACP spokesperson Mazibuko Jara.
The Education Department has barred the jailed school boy from ever attending a public school.
"As the SACP we are deeply concerned by reports that Babeile has been banned for life from public schools.
Apart from this banning being illegal and unconstitutional, in the context of the Vryburg High School Babeile was actually a victim of racism," Jara said.
He said his party was requesting the national and provincial education authorities to ensure that the ban is reversed.
"This is not to condone violence in our education system.
However, Babeile cannot be a lone victim of widespread racism which continues to condemn and victimise black people in our country.
" The SACP comended people from Huhudi township, where Babeile comes from, for supporting him in the fight "against racism in Vryburg".
"Babeile's case points to the need for an extensive campaign led by government and communities to eradicate racism in our education system," Jara said.

06 june 2001 19:16:00

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