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Dear public, media, parents and current-, past- and future learners

The photograph of our matric class of 2018 posted on the SWPS website wherein three of our former learners are seen raising their right arms in a salute akin to that of a Nazi salute has understandably caused widespread public outrage.

We apologise unreservedly to the public at large, and all groups and individuals that were victimsof the Holocaust. We also acknowledge that referring to the gesture as a “Roman salute” wasmisjudged and we apologise for the additional offence it has caused.

We recognise that just like other symbols of oppression, the Nazi salute has absolutely no place in society. The Holocaust was a heinous crime against humanity, and we should never ever forget the pain and suffering it caused to millions of people.

The posting of the photograph was done with no ill-intent and certainly was not aimed at offending anyone. However, we understand that this is little comfort to those that were offended and hurt by the image.

Our school does not tolerate any actions or practices that impair the dignity or rights of others. We are committed to creating a school environment that is tolerant and respectful for all.

As immediate action, we undertake to educate the former learners depicted on the photograph, as well as our current learners and staff about the offensive nature and insensitivity to the use of Nazi imagery and symbolism. Today, more than ever, we have come to realise that prejudice and marginalisation of any group is unacceptable and goes against the grain of our cherished Constitution.

We have today met with the Directors of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies and the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre. We have accepted and committed to their offer for our learners, educators and parents to visit and engage in an educational program at the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre.

Further to this, we have committed our school to join the Cape Board’s “No Place for Hate”campaign and to introduce their material into our school environment. We look forward to further positive engagements with both organisations in the future.

We as a school are committed to ensuring that all our learners leave with the knowledge, understanding and empathy to not only avoid a situation like this in the future, but to be active participants in making South Africa a better and more tolerant country to live in.

CM Coetzer



Somerset West Private School originated from the successful provision of extra mathematical tuition offered by the current principal. The demand of these classes and the success thereof, led to the opening of SWPS in 1998 that provided learners with confidence in succeeding in Mathematics.

SWPS is currently situated in the heart of Somerset West and attracts learners from the Helderberg basin and beyond. We currently offer classes from Grade 7 to Post Matric level. The Post Matric group consists of learners who are wishing to improve their Grade 12 results, most of whom have been referred to SWPS by Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town upon failure to meet the minimum Mathematics and Science requirements on application for certain degrees. The Post Matric course continues for one year.


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