School in photocopy row rift

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school rift inlsa Principal Nosithembele Mahlathi after a meeting with school officials. Picture: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - A row over the use of a photocopy machine has resulted in a Crossroads principal being forced to stay away from work.

The school governing body of Qingqa Mntwana Primary School do not want the principal, Nosithembele Mahlathi, to return to work until problems at the school have been resolved.

Some parents want Mahlathi to go while others want her to stay at the school.

On Monday, chaos erupted at the school when Mahlathi returned to work.

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said last year “certain allegations” had been made against the principal by teachers and residents.

The allegations were investigated but officials found no grounds to take action against her.

Casey said one of the grievances had been that she had placed restrictions on the use of the photocopy machine. Mahlathi was not suspended but stayed away from school for safety reasons.

On Tuesday, a meeting between the department, teachers’ representatives, the principal and the school governing body was held at the school.

Casey said two resolutions were adopted by the governing body.

These were that the principal, governing body and teachers would meet to address the grievances of teachers and that the governing body would seek a mandate from parents to determine if they wanted the principal back.

“The school governing body has indicated that in the interim they will not allow the principal to return to school,” Casey said.

“The department has indicated that we will not accept the mandate from the school governing body with regards to the position of the principal.”

She said the department would assess the situation on Wednesday, but believed the principal had every right to return to school.

School governing body member Nontombi Mlunguza said the meeting had gone well.

She said teachers and governing body members had voiced their problems. “The governing (body) told them (the meeting) that parents don’t want the principal,” Mlunguza said.

“They don’t want her to be fired from the school but want her to go to another school.”

She said the governing body then decided that they needed to report back to the parents and would meet them on Wednesday.

“She is not coming to school until the matter has been resolved,” Mlunguza said.

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Cape Argus

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