‘We want our prin­ci­pal to stay’

Learn­ers turned away as SGB, par­ents lock gates; refuse to ac­cept ap­point­ment of new head

Pretoria News - - METRO - SAKHILE NDLAZI [email protected]

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.

OUPA MOKOENA African News Agency (ANA)

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. |

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