‘We want our principal to stay’
Learners turned away as SGB, parents lock gates; refuse to accept appointment of new head
THE School Governing Body members at Modiri Technical School in Mamelodi yesterday locked the gates as part of a protest against the appointment of a new principal.
Hundreds of learners were turned back as the group, joined by community leaders, manned the gate. Tshwane Metro Police Department officers kept a close watch.
While some children were only too happy to go back home, some watched in disbelief and said they couldn’t comprehend what was going on.
The governing body and parents locked everyone outside the school and demanded that their preferred candidate, Samuel Kekana, be appointed as principal, instead of him being transferred to another school. Kekana has been acting principal since last year.
Parents said he had achieved an incredible turnaround at the school. Still in his 20s, the school managed to increase its matric pass rate from 27% to 73% last year when he was acting principal. “The district must tell us the truth about why they want to impose the new principal on us when the community has made it clear that we don’t want him,” said a member of the governing body.
Chairperson Nokuthula Moloto said the process of appointing a permanent deputy and principal at the school had been an continuing and tedious process since 2018.
“We prefer Kekana because he has been doing a stellar job. But now the district wants to replace him with a deputy principal from Phateng High School – and we are not having that. They can’t just bully us,” she said.
Moloto said the tedious process had even hurt the school financially because no one was authorised to sign off cheques. “Can you believe that we don’t even have toilet paper in the school, let alone desks and chairs for the children,” she said.
Parents accused the district office of imposing a principal on the school. It had been without a principal and deputy principal since 2018.
Tshepiso Sefolo, who has two children at the school, said the community worked well with Kekana and his leadership made the school one of the best in the area. “We’ve had no complaints about how he carries out his duties.
“So we think it’s only fair that he is given the permanent post so he can continue with the great work he’s been doing.”
A district official arrived at the school and had a meeting with the governing body. The official told them it was illegal for anyone, except the head of department, to shut down any school in the province. If the parents wanted to discuss grievances over appointments they should write to the district and not prevent children from learning.
“It is really disappointing that parents would resort to such. What they want us to do is non-procedural because they want us to reverse an appointment that was done legally, where all the processes were followed.”
He said acting in a position, no matter for how long, did not mean the person was entitled to a permanent appointment.
THE Modiri Technical High School governing body yesterday expressed unhappiness with the employment of a new principal by closing the gates and preventing learners from entering. |