Zwaanswyk High School principal under fire over financial mismangement claims

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Sep 14, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - More Western Cape schools are coming under scrutiny for alleged corruption and mismanagement, with the principal at Zwaanswyk High School in Tokai the latest under fire.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has also been slammed for an alleged lack of action against principal Shandré Otto, accused of financial mismanagement and abuse of power.

A source who reported the allegations to the department said to their knowledge, nothing was done.

“There was an alleged investigation in June 2021 but up until now nothing has transpired into a concrete outcome. Furthermore, I have received no documentation that provides proof of any investigation and consequent sanction on this matter. It seems delaying tactics are being used so that the case can be dropped.”

Former pupils and their parents this week also took to social media to express how unhappy they were with Otto’s leadership.

Cape Times questions were referred by Otto’s personal assistant to the Western Cape Department (WCED).

However the department dismissed the claims and said an investigation was conducted and it was in the process of finalising it.

Other schools recently fingered over allegations of financial mismanagement include Rhodes High School,Golden Grove Primary School, Cheré Botha School and Northpine Technical High School.

Regarding Rhodes High School, the WCED said Provincial Forensic Services had been approached to advise on further action that could be taken in the case of alleged financial mismanagement at the Mowbray school.

Allegations of mismanagement and nepotism surfaced against a retired principal after a former parent who served as a governing body (SGB) member, reported that the principal had unduly benefited by R546 025 from a school trust fund.

Education MPL Khalid Sayed said he would be approaching the Public Service Commission (PSC) to probe principal Otto and other allegations of corruption at schools as a matter of urgency.

He said the WCED and MEC Debbie Schäfer were “reluctant to investigate and dismally failed” to provide leadership on corruption in schools.

“There is an emerging pattern in the Western Cape Education Department wherein corruption allegations against certain principals are either swept under the carpet or investigations are delayed or stalled. Such has been the case with Rhodes High School and Golden Grove Primary where the department cushioned principals implicated in corruption until they resigned and in so doing evaded accountability.”

Sayed said corruption and abuse of power at schools had adverse effects on the psyche of pupils in addition to burdening parents with forced fee increases due to loss of funds.

Education spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said there was no reluctance on the part of the WCED to investigate any allegations.

“The WCED takes allegations of corruption seriously and investigates every alleged case that comes to our attention. We can confirm that the department has already conducted an investigation into the allegations related to this school (Zwaanswyk High) and is finalising this process.

“It is quite concerning that schools and individuals are being targeted and publicised based on allegations which have yet to be substantiated. Discrediting schools and individuals when the outcome of such investigations are yet to be communicated is quite disconcerting,” said Hammond.

Cape Times

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