SGB de­fies calls to re­sign

No merit for en­tire body to step down

Cape Times - - METRO - LISA ISAACS lisa.isaacs@inl.co.za

RUSTEN­BURG Girls’ Pri­mary School Gov­ern­ing Body (SGB) has re­fused to step down de­spite mount­ing calls from par­ents to do so, to pri­ori­tise trans­for­ma­tion at the for­mer Model C school.

This week a group call­ing them­selves Par­ents for Change lifted the lid on two years of strug­gle to im­ple­ment trans­for­ma­tion poli­cies and the al­leged in­ac­tion of the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment and school of­fi­cials.

The group called for the depart­ment to dis­solve the cur­rent SGB, which had posed sig­nif­i­cant re­sis­tance.

They were also fac­ing op­po­si­tion from other par­ents, with one par­ent at a meet­ing even say­ing: “When you take in black kids, your stan­dards drop.”

The par­ents spoke out fol­low­ing a Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion (CCMA) process last week, where the SGB apol­o­gised to teacher Nozipho Mthembu, who said she had been unfairly dis­crim­i­nated against and asked to re­sign or face a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing for rea­sons she had yet to be in­formed about.

Mthembu was the school’s first black African teacher and a for­mer pupil. She said she had been told some par­ents had ques­tioned her com­pe­tency and had been un­happy that she was teach­ing their chil­dren.

The CCMA ac­knowl­edged that un­fair labour prac­tices were used by the school.

The SGB said it, along with the school’s man­age­ment team and staff, recog­nised that although there had been a num­ber of changes over the last few years, there was still work to be done in trans­form­ing the school in terms of the de­mo­graphic pro­file of pupils and staff and other ar­eas.

“Mem­bers of the SGB con­sid­ered the call by Par­ents for Change to re­sign. The unan­i­mous de­ci­sion was that there is no merit in the en­tire SGB step­ping down at this time… mem­bers also unan­i­mously ex­pressed a vote of con­fi­dence in the cur­rent chair­per­son.”

The SGB said it had pre­vi­ously en­gaged with Par­ents for Change and re­mained open to fur­ther en­gage­ment.

Par­ent and as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity Nu­raan Davids said she was not sur­prised by the SGB’s de­ci­sion.

“For them to re­sign would mean recog­nis­ing that we are at this point be­cause of their ac­tions. They would have to recog­nise change is nec­es­sary.

“It is not just the SGB we are ask­ing for an end to, we are ask­ing for an end to an era. We are re­al­is­ing the bat­tle is much big­ger than we thought,” Davids said.

Pro­vin­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment spokesper­son Bron­agh Ham­mond said: “We will, again, of­fer to meet shortly, and rec­om­mend ex­ter­nal spe­cial­ist me­di­a­tion.”

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