School racism storm

Par­ents don’t want a black prin­ci­pal

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - TANKISO MAKHETHA tankiso.makhetha@inl.co.za

KLIP­SPRUIT Sec­ondary School pupils were forced to miss the first day of the third term yes­ter­day when an­gry par­ents barred them from class in a protest against the ap­point­ment of a black prin­ci­pal.

The racial row over the new ap­point­ment led to par­ents, mostly from the coloured area, lock­ing the school gates and vow­ing to dis­rupt learn­ing un­less the Gaut­eng Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion re­scinded its de­ci­sion. School Gov­ern­ing Body mem­ber Henry Charles said the racial ten­sion was trig­gered by the com­mu­nity de­mand­ing the ap­point­ment of a coloured prin­ci­pal. The com­mu­nity claims there is a lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion of coloured peo­ple in school lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

Charles, who was part of a panel which in­ter­viewed ap­pli­cants for the po­si­tion, said: “Dur­ing the process we were asked what cri­te­ria are we go­ing to use with race. I stood up and said I would score five for coloureds and I’ll score four for black peo­ple,” Charles said.

“They said coloureds and blacks are the same and I said but this is a coloured area and they said I am be­ing racist. We want a coloured prin­ci­pal be­cause this is a coloured area,” he said.

The depart­ment spokesman Oupa Bodibe said: “The depart­ment has learnt the dis­turb­ing news that the com­mu­nity in Klip­spruit West has re­jected the prin­ci­pal be­cause of skin colour. This ac­tion is strongly con­demned, as it runs against the non-racial prin­ci­ples of our so­ci­ety. Ed­u­ca­tors are ap­pointed on the ba­sis of qual­i­fi­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The school is set to re­open to­day fol­low­ing a heated meet­ing be­tween the gov­ern­ing body, Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment of­fi­cials, SA Teach­ers Demo­cratic Union and par­ents.

It was de­cided that the depart­ment needs to re-look the new ap­point­ment and that a care­taker prin­ci­pal be ap­pointed.

Speak­ing on be­half of four com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions, Sharice Pre­to­ri­ous said the ap­point­ment was ques­tioned based on ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties that oc­curred dur­ing se­lec­tion.

“A meet­ing was sched­uled by the Greater El­do­rado Park Busi­ness Fo­rum based on the ques­tions that had been raised by our in­ves­ti­ga­tion and these is­sues were then dis­cussed,” Pre­to­ri­ous said.

“We then ar­ranged another meet­ing with the newly elected SGB of the school and they too were not happy with the ap­point­ment or the process that was fol­lowed for that mat­ter. A con­sen­sus was reached with the SGB, Busi­ness Fo­rum, the Pa­tri­otic As­so­ci­a­tion of South Africa and the Kul­lid Foun­da­tion and the com­mu­nity that the ap­point­ment would not hap­pen.”

Last year, a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent oc­curred at Rood­e­poort Pri­mary School af­ter it was tem­po­rar­ily closed three times. This was af­ter a dis­pute that started in 2015 when par­ents claimed the prin­ci­pal was un­fairly ap­pointed ahead of a bet­ter qual­i­fied teacher.

We want a coloured prin­ci­pal be­cause this is a coloured area

PIC­TURE: NOKUTHULA MBATHA

LOCKED OUT: Pupils from Klip­spruit West Sec­ondary School were pre­vented from re­turn­ing to school af­ter the hol­i­days be­cause par­ents say they want a coloured prin­ci­pal not a black one.

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