Calm returns to Khayelitsha school
Share this article:
CALM has been restored at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, where pupils were refusing to write exams until their principal, Madoda Mahlutshana, was removed from the premises.
Paddy Attwell, Western Cape Education Department spokesman, confirmed yesterday that the principal had been put on special leave for the next three days while the department investigated.
“We have put him on special leave to try and calm the situation at the school,” Attwell said.
The controversy follows an incident last Thursday in which matric pupil Malibongwe Melani, 18, was allegedly attacked by Bambanani guards at the school gates. The teen sustained serious spinal injuries after the guards allegedly picked him up and threw him on the ground during an argument about a cellphone.
Angry pupils who blamed the principal for the incident refused to enter the school grounds until Mahlutshana was removed, missing exams on Monday and yesterday.
Attwell said schools arranged their own timetables for the September examinations and they would use their discretion to organise another time for the pupils to write the missed exams.
Meanwhile, parents met Education Department representatives at a meeting at the school yesterday. They were, however, not impressed when they found the principal would not address them.
Education Department district director Melvin Caroline said the reason for his absence was that emotions were running “too high”. But he promised that Mahlutshana would be put on special leave while the department investigated. They would act “decisively” and “immediately”.
Noni Melani, mother of the injured boy, told the Cape Argus she was still waiting for a specialist to confirm whether her son would walk again.
She said “his spinal cord is broken” and that he had been “lying on his back (at the hospital) since Thursday”.
Speaking at the meeting, Melani urged parents to voice their concerns about the school to the Education Department.
Not saying anything, she claimed, would send the message that they approved of the principal.
“It is my child in the hospital… my child who has no future today,” she said.
Some of the parents and pupils suggested the principal and Bambanani should help pay for Malibongwe’s medical treatment.
Attwell said they had spoken to the principal, who told them he had tried to intervene to stop the alleged beating.