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Durban - Nana Gcabashe, the principal of Lihlithemba Technical High School in Ndwedwe, north of Durban, has been suspended after allegedly demanding that children pay fees in a designated no-fees school.
KwaZulu-Natal education head Nkosinathi Sishi said the department had been alerted to the problem in February after discovering that reports had been withheld from pupils, preventing matrics from applying for bursaries and admission to tertiary institutions.
“This school is a no-fees school, but parents who had not paid school fees were told that their children would not get their reports. This is not allowed,” he said.
There were also allegations that Gcabashe had not followed the correct procedure in the hiring of teaching staff.
School governing body chairman Bongani Sokhela said children had not been attending classes since Gcabashe was suspended.
“When we came here, we found that some children were drunk and we had to have a meeting with them,” Sokhela said.
He said the principal had allegedly requested that children pay R130 towards school fees.
Sishi said some of the pupils had raised concerns about the principal’s suspension, but he saw no other fitting course of action.
“The principal will face charges. The date for the tribunal is set for August 29,” he said.
Gcabashe has disputed the allegations made by the department.
“I have not been fired. They called it ‘precautionary suspension’. And I was not suspended for stealing funds from the school - but for claims that I intimidated parents and insulted personnel,” she said.
Gcabashe also denied that she asked parents to pay fees.
“The parents agreed to make contributions towards the school. As for the reports, those could not be printed because we had no ink, due to the amount we were given by department not being enough.”
Gcabashe said she was saddened to hear that children were not at school.