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EE & EELC Condemn Dudula for Targeting School Kids

"We are categorically and unapologetically saying that there should be no foreigners in our schools" - Lulamile Bavuma, Dudula

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Equal Education (EE) and the Education Law Centre (EELC) have condemned Operation Dudula’s campaign targeting migrant children at schools in South Africa.

This comes after reports of an Operation Dudula campaign spearheaded by its Diepsloot branch sharing xenophobic messages online, calling for the removal of migrant children from schools in the area to free up space for South African children. The EE and EELC report reads:

“Adults marching through the streets, entering school premises and classrooms, and asking for innocent children to be removed from school based on their nationality is an all-time low for our country.

“Actions of this nature not only pit nationals against migrant children and foster othering, but they also amount to bullying and intimidation. We strongly condemn this thinking and behaviour and stand firmly in solidarity with all migrant children.”

EE and the EELC called on the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to publicly condemn Operation Dudula, and reiterate the rights of migrant children, regardless of their status in the country. They also called for safety measures to be instituted at at-risk schools, for pupils who had been removed to be placed back at schools, and for the DBE to work with police and the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate the campaign, and prosecute where fit.

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Last week, Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia (KAAX) said Operation Dudula members were invited to a mass meeting on January 26. After the meeting members marched to schools and burnt tyres on the N14 highway.

At the time, about 5,000 pupils were yet to be placed, but KAAX said migrant children should not be targeted or blamed for departmental failures.

A similar campaign is under way in the Western Cape, albeit less vociferous. In response to this, Education MEC David Maynier previously said just 31 of 33,652 teachers, or 0.09%, were foreign nationals, with an average of 1,995 foreign pupils joining the 1.1 million pupils in Western Cape Education Department schools annually.

Operation Dudula deputy chairperson in the Western Cape, Lulamile Bavuma said:

“We are categorically and unapologetically saying that there should be no foreigners in our schools, while South Africans are sitting at home and not finding a place to learn.”

The organisation disputes that the foreign national were fleeing wars, and wants them to go back and find jobs in their own home countries.


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