‘Rent a crowd’ pick­ets out­side school

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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.”

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