Joburg classes sus­pended over black prin­ci­pal

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - TANKISO MAKHETHA AND MASABATA MKWANANZI

THOU­SANDS of Joburg pupils did not have classes in 28 schools yes­ter­day as the racial storm over the ap­point­ment of a black prin­ci­pal boiled over.

Coloured teach­ers in the south of Joburg em­barked on a go-slow in sol­i­dar­ity with par­ents of Klip­spruit West Sec­ondary that shut down the school last week de­mand­ing a coloured or In­dian be ap­pointed head of the school.

The group of par­ents from the mostly coloured area locked the gates and pre­vented learn­ers from en­ter­ing the school in protest against the new ap­point­ment.

They de­manded the de­part­ment re­scind the ap­point­ment in favour of a coloured in­cum­bent.

Charis Pre­to­rius, spokesper­son for the Greater El­do­rado Park Busi­ness Fo­rum, told The Star that the num­ber of schools that will be on go-slow is 28 and not nine, as was an­nounced by the de­part­ment yes­ter­day.

“There are over 28 schools in the El­do­rado re­gion alone and most of those schools are not teach­ing to­day (yes­ter­day),” Pre­to­rius said.

She said the com­mu­nity was hop­ing to meet the Gaut­eng MEC for Ed­u­ca­tion to hand over a list of pro­posed res­o­lu­tions that are cen­tred around the ap­point­ment of a new prin­ci­pal; prefer­ably a coloured, In­dian, or white in­cum­bent.

Gaut­eng MEC for Ed­u­ca­tion Panyaza Le­sufi con­demned the go-slow by schools in so-called coloured com­mu­ni­ties.

“We have re­li­ably been in­formed that some coloured ed­u­ca­tors in about nine schools in coloured com­mu­ni­ties in Jo­han­nes­burg West will em­bark on a go-slow in sol­i­dar­ity with Klip­spruit-West,” said Le­sufi.

“The de­part­ment con­demns the go-slow, as all the con­cerned par­ties are work­ing tire­lessly to re­solve the im­passe. The de­part­ment im­plores ed­u­ca­tors to ad­here to the code of con­duct and de­sist from tak­ing part in any ac­tiv­i­ties that com­pro­mise ef­fec­tive teach­ing and learn­ing.”

Le­sufi said he in­tro­duced in­terim mea­sures to calm the sit­u­a­tion at Klip­spruit West Sec­ondary School.

The Gaut­eng Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment con­ceded that the is­sue would not be re­solved overnight.

Spokesper­son Steve Mabona said Le­sufi would have to follow a lengthy process to es­tab­lish whether ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties ex­isted in ap­point­ing the black prin­ci­pal.

“Its a com­pli­cated process be­cause there a num­ber of el­e­ments that he has to con­sider. The first be­ing the safety of the new prin­ci­pal. Then there is the is­sue of the SGB, be­cause it was dis­banded and, as such, a new ap­point­ment would have to get the bless­ing of that body,” Mabona said.

“But to do that, a new SGB has to be elected; the post will have to be read­ver­tised and in­ter­views will have to be done.”

As such, he said Le­sufi would have to con­sider those fac­tors while an elected in­terim district of­fi­cial from the de­part­ment is placed at the school to en­sure it is func­tional.

De­spite this mea­sure, teach­ers from schools south of Joburg yes­ter­day em­barked on a go-slow, ap­par­ently in sup­port of Klip­spruit-West Sec­ondary School.

A teacher from one of the schools said coloured per­son­nel within the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor felt marginalised and de­prived of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The teacher, who could not be named for fear of reper­cus­sions, added that the Gaut­eng De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion needed to curb the al­leged cor­rup­tion ped­dled by the SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers Union and pave way for equal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Our com­mu­ni­ties are bear­ing the brunt of an un­equal sys­tem that does not con­sider us when posts have been ad­ver­tised.”

Pre­to­rius said the com­mu­nity was hop­ing to meet with Le­sufi and hand over a list of pro­posed res­o­lu­tions, cen­tred around the ap­point­ment of a new prin­ci­pal.

Pre­to­rius added that they felt ag­grieved with the ap­point­ment of a district of­fi­cial at the school.

She said a me­dia brief­ing would be held to­day at the school.

‘Coloureds are bear­ing the brunt of an un­equal sys­tem’

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