Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Coloured teachers in go-slow over black principal in 28 schools

By Tankiso Maketha and Masabata Mkwananzi | IOL |

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

Pupils from Klipspruit West Secondary School were prevented from returning to school after the holidays because parents say they want a coloured principal not a black one. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures

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.