Racial row at school calming, MEC to visit
ORDER appears to have been restored at Klipspruit West Secondary School after pupils were forced to miss the first day of the third term when angry parents barred them from class in a protest against the appointment of a black principal.
Khume Ramulifho, DA’s Gauteng shadow MEC for education, said the problem of communities opposing appointments could be rooted in the widespread cash-for-jobs saga which undermined appointments made on the basis of equity or merits.
“The department has set a precedent which is making it difficult for them because these sort of problems become rife. We shouldn’t be looking at this from a race perspective, but from an equity stance. If the appointment was meant to be made on the basis of equity where a coloured principal was due to occupy the position then it becomes a problem,” Ramulifho said.
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the coloured area, locking the school gates and vowing to disrupt learning unless the Gauteng Department of Education rescinded its decision.
Community leader Charis Pretorius said yesterday the matter had been escalated to MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi, who is scheduled to visit the community.
“At the moment, the two acting principals who have been acting in those positions for a number of years will continue. A third acting principal might be appointed,” Pretorius said.
Lesufi is expected to visit the school today.
Yesterday, Lesufi said he was studying the case.
“We need to get to the root of the problem but I have made it clear to the community that I will not engage with them if they disrupt classes,” Lesufi said.
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.
Ronald Dyers from the Patriotic Association of South Africa, one of the organisations responsible for the dispute at Roodepoort Primary School, told The Star yesterday that protests led to a new appointment of an Indian principal at the school.
Dyers, who was part of the community that closed down Klipspruit West Secondary School on Monday, said despite the dispute being overloaded by racial issues, transparency was necessary in the appointment of key positions.
“The whole process was bypassed and the SGB was not consulted and this was because the department and Sadtu (union) did not consider racial representativeness when the appointment was made,” he said.
‘A third acting principal might be appointed’