Durban - Despite a judgment upholding a court order reinstating teachers at a troubled Chesterville school, parents have vowed not to let them enter the school gates.
A group of about 100 parents and pupils from Umkhumbane Secondary School gathered outside the Durban High Court on Tuesday. They waved placards and sang, protesting against the reinstatement of 11 teachers and a school clerk and calling for the reinstatement of principal Ntokozo Ngobese.
“We don’t want teachers who see girlfriends in our learners,” read one placard.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education suspended Ngobese last week and disbanded the school governing body (SGB) for its alleged role in disrupting schooling.
Judge Fikile Mokgohloa on Tuesday upheld an interim court order granted late last month and adjourned the matter indefinitely.
The department had sought an order to reinstate the teachers because pupils had been losing out on teaching since September, when the teachers and a clerk were chased from the school after there were allegations of sexual misconduct.
A departmental investigation had found no evidence to implicate the teachers.
In the opposing application, filed on Tuesday, Ngobese, who is the second respondent, said the applicants were not entitled to reinstate the teachers because of the serious allegations against them and because the complainants were minors.
He said the affidavit filed in support of the application for an interim order was not “signed, initialled or commissioned, either by the so-called deponent or the commissioner of oaths”, and, therefore, the department was not represented in the proceedings.
Talking to the Daily News outside the court, one parent, Manu Majozi, said the community demanded that the 11 teachers and the clerk be replaced and the principal immediately reinstated.
“We don’t want these teachers there. We won’t allow them back into our school… If the court was in our shoes, they would not let them back.
“The SGB was disbanded, but we serve the SGB. We also want the principal back. He made a difference to the school.”
One teacher, talking to the Daily News after the judge’s decision, said the situation was getting out of hand.
“The learners are not getting taught and time is being wasted. The department needs to intervene.”
Bhekisisa Mncube, spokesman for Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, said a task team had been established on Thursday to deal with the issues at the school and compile a report, which would be submitted by Friday.
“The idea of the task team is to engage rather than litigate. In the meantime, the principal remains suspended and the task team must advise on all matters.”
Mncube condemned reports that, during campaigning in Chesterville at the weekend, ANC officials were allegedly told by parents that they would burn the school down.
He said that although the report was due on Friday, the task team hoped to find a solution sooner so that teaching could resume.