Following an exhaustive 10-month battle, Gauteng teacher Anneke Smit has finally been able to clear her name this week. The educator was suspended and then fired from her role last year, after a student accused her of using ‘racist language’ during a lesson.

Gauteng teacher cleared in racism probe

The whole case has been a nightmare for Ms. Smit, but she was able to depend on legal support given to her by Solidariteit. The trade union represented the school staff member in court – and earlier today, they were left to celebrate a major victory.

  • Anneke Smit was accused of ‘racism’ in the classroom, before being dismissed from her role in September 2021.
  • However, a court today ruled in her favour, clearing her name and allowing the educator to return to work on 1 August 2022.
  • Provincial MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi is said to have ‘personally rejected’ Smit’s application to appeal.
  • The Gauteng teacher’s use of the word ‘polisiemannetjie’ sparked the confusion, with some pupils believing she said ‘police monkey’.
  • However, the term is used in Afrikaans to refer to a ‘police officer of small stature’. Ms. Smit has been awarded financial damages, too.

Anneke Smit ‘free to teach again’

Anlia Archer is an organiser at Solidarity’s Education Sector. She has branded the entire fiasco as ‘outrageous’, and openly questioned how such an ambiguous accusation could ‘disrupt a whole family’ in the manner it has done.

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Archer also fears that SA is stepping on ‘dangerous terrain’, by allowing a false allegation like this to go as far as it did.

“It is outrageous that this Gauteng teacher’s life and work were snatched from her simply because of false charges of racism being brought against her. Quasi-racism cannot be the charge every time someone is unhappy with an interaction that took place in the classroom.”

“In this case, a whole family’s life was disrupted over something that was wrongfully distorted. We are venturing on dangerous terrain if we give children the power to end a teacher’s career spanning many years by making one false accusation.”

Anila Archer


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