NEWS

'It's Not About Race, But About Merit Of Principal' -- Parents Of Klipspruit West Secondary

"It has nothing to do with race, it is a card everyone is playing."

26/09/2017 09:33 SAST | Updated 26/09/2017 09:33 SAST
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Klipspruit West Secondary School in Eldorado Park south of Johannesburg is set to resume schooling on Tuesday following an uproar that saw parents disrupting classes and locking school gates in protest against the appointment of a black principal.

"It has nothing to do with race, it is a card everyone is playing, and it causes divisionsCharis Pretorius, spokesperson Greater Eldorado Park Business Forum

Parents claimed that their protest was not about the principal's race, but about merit.

"It is a complex situation, it has nothing to do with race, [it's about] the processes and protocols being followed," said the spokesperson for the Greater Eldorado Park Business Forum, Charis Pretorius.

Pretorius, who was speaking on Talk Radio 702 on Tuesday morning, said: "The process had not been followed in the appointment of a new principal, the appointment should be based on merit and experience."

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Last week, four teachers were not allowed on to the school premises for allegedly refusing to teach. Pretorius pointed out, however, that these teachers were not all black, but included a coloured teacher, emphasising that the furore had nothing to do with race.

"Our children are suffering with African teachers, so if an African principal comes, what's going to happen now?" School Governing Body Member

"There were four teachers who were not allowed [to enter the school], [and] one of them was coloured. Those teachers were not allowed in based on reports on their behaviour -- it is not just [about] black teachers."

After the four teachers were denied access to the school, the other teachers left in solidarity with those who were kicked out.

Pretorius claimed that the governing body had a problem with the appointment of the current principal, as another candidate had obtained a higher score in pre-appointment assessments.

Racial tension at the school started last week amid claims that black teachers were refusing to teach coloured children.

Governing body member Shirley Matthews told News24: "Our children are suffering with African teachers (sic), so if an African principal comes, what's going to happen now?"

Last week, Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi criticised the school's governing body.

"You can't carry the important responsibility to unite the school, to ensure that all teachers teach, regardless of colour," Lesufi told journalists and governing body members in a classroom at the school on Wednesday.

"I have no choice but to recommend to the head of the department to dissolve this [governing body] and establish a new one," Lesufi said.

The alleged racism at the school has prompted the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) to withdraw its teachers from Eldorado Park, which could jeopardise the current preliminary exams scheduled to finish at the end of September.

The stalemate between SADTU and the Gauteng Department of Education is threatening to ground schooling at 28 schools in the south of Johannesburg to a halt.