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Mounting costs to oust Neumann raise eyebrows

Former Heathfield High School principal Wesley Neumann

Former Heathfield High School principal Wesley Neumann

Published Jun 22, 2022

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Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has spent nearly R1 million in the process of removing former Heathfield High School principal Wesley Neumann, with costs of Neumann’s appeal still being tallied.

The department has revealed that the disciplinary hearing alone was R739 368.

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Neumann was dismissed after he refused to reopen the school amid the Covid-19 infection peak in 2020.

In a provincial legislature written question, ANC spokesperson on education Khalid Sayed asked MEC David Maynier the total expenditure on the disciplinary hearing and appeal, saying the expenditure raises eyebrows about the department’s priorities.

In a written response Maynier said: “I did not arrive at the decision. The previous (MEC) of Education did.

“A summary of the decision was provided to the media and public on May 12.

“Legal representation was R653 843, presiding officer R85 525.

“The total was R739 368.

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“Legal costs associated with the appeal are being finalised.”

Teaching and learning at the school has been disrupted a number of times following the firing of Neumann last month.

“He announced his decision to decline the WCED’s demotion offer.

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Protests escalated when two acting principals were deployed at the school and a spike in pupil absenteeism was also reported.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said since the mediation process, absenteeism and pupil tardiness has improved.

“Exams are proceeding and the school environment is stable.

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“Our priority is to ensure that learners’ right to learning continues and that teachers are able to teach all in a safe environment.

“Significant progress has been made with commitments made by the RCL, SGB and the majority of teachers to ensure that teaching and learning can continue unhindered at the school,” she said.

According to Hammond the principal’s post has not been advertised yet as there is an arbitration process.

Cape Times

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