‘Rent a crowd’ pickets outside school
TEMPERS flared when a small group of people picketed outside Auckland Park Preparatory School (Apps) yesterday.
The demonstrators said they represented Muslim parents the school allegedly discriminated against.
The independent Christian primary school for girls is accused of not consulting Muslim parents before deciding not to renew a contractual agreement it had with a third party to hold private Madressa classes (lessons on Islam) on the school premises.
Aggrieved parents, who did not want their identities revealed fearing their children would be victimised, apparently approached the Public Members Unit Team for help.
The group’s chairman, Vumelani Mchunu, said: “As the Public Members Unit Team, we got a call (from) parents complaining (about this) and they needed our assistance.”
Mchunu said the organisation helped members of the public with problems they might have. This is the group that offered to pay the money said to be unduly spent on the upgrading of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.
He said he had come from Durban to picket and hand over a letter listing the par- ents’ grievances to the school management.
However, Muslim parents defended the school and were angry at the picketers for “making a mockery” of Islam. A parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I am a very proud Apps mom. These people are not associated to the school. This is mischief-making. The school has gone out of their way to accommodate us (as Mus- lims). Mrs Brenda Howden (school principal) is second to none… par excellence.“
Another parent referred to the picketers as a “bought crowd”.
The school denied not consulting parents.
Howden said: “Given the availability of alternative facilities, the school has engaged with the Apps Muslim community to facilitate the holding of Madressa classes off the school premises. That has been a private process between the school and the parents affected.”