Parents at Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School held a press conference to express their concerns about the resistance to transformation at Rustenburg Girls’ and other former Model C schools. Chairing the meeting was, from left, Stephen Langtry, Nuraan Davids and Tania Katzschner. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Parents fed up with the lack of transformation at former Model C schools have taken provincial MEC Debbie Schäfer to task for her comments following racism allegations at the Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School.

“I’m sorry MEC, but can you please do your job,” angry parents said at a media briefing following her comments that the dismissal of a black teacher at the school had nothing to do with racism.

“We have raised our concerns on numerous occasions with the school principal but they have proven to be fruitless and the MEC’s response to these engagements has not been right, basically telling us it's a school governing issue. No, I’m sorry, I pay enough taxes, MEC. Do your job,” said parent Professor Nuraan Davids.

The press briefing comes a few days after racism allegations had surfaced at the school following the coerced resignation of Grade 5 teacher Nozipho Mthembu. She launched a complaint of unfair labour practices and discrimination with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

“If I look at a class photo of a Grade R class right now, at best I will see two black faces. Now that is not a reflection of the society we live in. You can't tell us you are prioritising inclusivity, you are prioritising transformation and you are prioritising diversity when it's not being reflected in what's visible to me,” Davids said.

The group of parents have also rubbished claims from the provincial Education Department that Mthembu was treated fairly.

“We have engaged with the department on our school and our concerns. They are fully aware of our concerns,” Davids said. She said that after the engagements the group was labelled as being adversarial.

Another parent, Tania Katschner, said: “We have been trying hard for the past two years to tell the school of our concerns. We really did not want to run to the media, but this was the school breaking trust and we know that this is an uncomfortable dialogue to have but we must talk about it.”

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said: “It is unfortunate that this group is misrepresenting some of the facts around this case. The concerned parents group had first approached the WCED in November last year.

“When the department became aware that some parents were raising concerns with, according to them, the slow progress of transformation at the school, the HOD and a team of top officials personally met with the group.”

She said the last meeting was held in September, an agreement was reached by all parties for co-operation and that the concerned group would form part of the school diversity subcommittee.

“While this matter is receiving public attention, the WCED remains committed to an ongoing process of reconciling the differences between all parties,” Hammond said.

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Cape Argus