Durban - An Umlazi school principal is in hot water with the provincial Education Department because a teacher and former pupil married just after the young woman wrote matric – apparently with the head teacher’s blessing.
Vukuzakhe Secondary School principal Doris Fulela has been accused of allowing the groom’s family to use her car to go to the wedding and also of making a speech at the reception.
The school has been functioning on a skeleton staff since 36 of the 42 teachers went on a strike and submitted a document of their complaints about the principal to the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu). Sadtu spokesman Bheki Fakazi refused to discuss the allegations but confirmed that they had given the list to the Education Department.
“Let us allow the department to conduct its investigation without interference. As a union we are willing to assist the investigators in every way we can because, at the end of the day, we don’t want anything that could potentially affect teaching and learning in any way,” said Fakazi.
The allegations against Fulela include mismanagement of school funds, buying liquor for senior pupils and encouraging the romantic relationship between the teacher and pupil.
Education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi confirmed that a document with these allegations had been submitted. He said MEC Peggy Nkonyeni had already assigned a 12-member team to conduct an investigation.
“We view these allegations in a very serious light and should they be found to be true, we’ll take drastic action against those involved. We want to ascertain how this thing called a ‘relationship’ between a teacher and learner even came about because no teacher is to have any romantic relations with learners.
“And for them to have got married in December 2013 just after she finished her exams makes one wonder how long the relationship went on for,” said Mahlambi.
A pupil from the school’s Learner Representative Council, Qiniso Ndlovu, confirmed he knew about the couple’s romance.
He said he had not questioned it because no one had seemed to mind.
“It was an open secret that they had a relationship. Those who say they didn’t know about it are lying,” said Ndlovu.
A source told The Mercury that more than 20 of Vukuzakhe’s teachers attended the wedding.
The 36 striking teachers came back to school on Monday and they spent most of the day in a meeting with the school’s management and education officials.
Fulela declined to comment on the accusations on Monday.