Racial row at school calm­ing, MEC to visit

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TANKISO MAKHETHA

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’

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