Parents protest, pupils play

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Limpopo -

Pupils at a Limpopo primary school outside Polokwane missed their second day of schooling on Thursday following ongoing protest action by their parents, which began on Wednesday.

On Thursday, not a single pupil showed up at the school, according to teachers, who didn’t want to be named.

The trouble began when protesting parents would not allow their children to attend Ntji Ga-Mothapo Primary at Ramogale village in the Mankweng area outside Polokwane.

The parents insist their children will not return until three teachers are dismissed. They accuse the trio – Kaizer Marutha, Paul Pochana and Alex Ramaboea – of disrespecting them and undermining the principal, Ngoako Rapaledi.

On Wednesday, children wearing school uniform were seen loitering outside the school premises while their parents held a meeting in front of the gate.

Attempts by officials from the Kgakotlou circuit to convince parents to allow pupils to attend classes were unsuccessful.

A parent, speaking on condition of anonymity, said pupils would not attend school on Friday either.

“We are going to have a meeting on Sunday to map a way forward,” she said.

The spat involves the principal and parents’ representatives on the school governing body (SGB) on the one side, and the three teachers and their 29 sympathetic colleagues on the other.

The three teachers form part of the teachers’ component in the SGB. But teachers at the school allege that the principal and parents’ representatives in the SGB sideline them when making decisions affecting the school.

A 2011 report by the Capricorn district office, which The Star has seen, has recommended that Rapaledi be charged for misconduct.

The report alleges that Rapaledi had unlawfully fiddled with SGB minutes in 2009, resulting in two parent representatives on the SGB being paid for allegedly taking part in a project to fence off the school. Rapaledi has denied any wrongdoing.

While the right to education of these pupils at a rural village were being trampled on, there seemed to be no concern from the community.

The protest action came amid President Jacob Zuma urging parents, teachers, communities and various stakeholders to turn schools into centres of excellence.

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