Assegai Primary School parents continued to protest outside the school.
Durban - The Department of Education is lodging an urgent application in the Durban High Court on Thursday against two members of the Assegai Primary School governing body (SGB), calling for them to be jailed for being in contempt of court.

Andre de Bruin and Clint Leverton, the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the SGB, allegedly stopped the new principal, Thenjiwe Ndlovu, from entering the school last week.

When the matter came before the court, it was adjourned until next Thursday.

According to the affidavit of the uMlazi district director, Bhekizenso Ntuli, the department also wants the pair to issue a statement to Assegai Primary School staff, at an assembly this week

The department issued a statement in which it pledged to give its full support to Ndlovu.

“We wish to welcome the new principal, Thenjiwe Ndlovu, to the school, on Monday, October 16, and shall take all steps with the school, the school governing body and the community to ensure that Ms Ndlovu assumes duty at the school unhindered, peacefully and undisturbed without any violence or disruptions whatsoever.

“Ms Ndlovu can rest assured that she has the full support of the school governing body and us, and that we will treat her with the dignity and respect that she deserves,” the statement read.

Ntuli claimed the men had failed to comply with a high court order granted on September 20 by stopping a department official and Ndlovu from entering the school.

A scuffle apparently took place outside the school resulting in Ndlovu and the official leaving.

Last month, De Bruin and Leverton appeared in court where acting Judge Fazal Abraham granted an interdict, effectively barring the SGB and parents from preventing lessons from taking place at the school.

The SGB maintained Ndlovu’s appointment was not done on merit because Odette Abrahams Field, the school’s current acting principal was a better suited candidate.

Abrahams Field has been at the school for more than 25years.

In addition to the apology, Ntuli is also asking the court to jail De Bruin and Leverton for six months or another sanction that the court deems appropriate.

He said this sanction could be suspended on condition that, pending the finalisation of this application and the main application for an interdict, the pair complied with the court order.

Furthermore, De Bruin and Leverton are to pay for the legal costs of the contempt order.

Advocate Vishalan Naidu is bringing the urgent application, on behalf of the department, today.

The matter came to light earlier this year after the SGB and parents refused to acknowledge Ndlovu’s appointment.

According to the founding affidavit, De Bruin and Leverton had no intention to oppose the application.

Ntuli said Ndlovu did not take up duty after the court order was granted towards the end of the term.

It was decided that she would assume duty in the new term in light of the disruptions at the school.

“On October 4, Sathianathan Naicker, circuit manager, took Ndlovu to the school to attend to administrative duties ahead of the new term. Another official accompanied Ndlovu and Naicker to Assegai and when they arrived, they were met by a group of angry parents,” he said.

Ntuli added that they were sworn at and threatened by a mob, which included De Bruin and Leverton. Ndlovu, Naicker and the official left.

“The school cannot be controlled by a mob of unruly thugs who have flagrant disregard for the court order and the applicant. Their conduct has prejudiced and will continue to prejudice the school and especially the learners whose constitutional rights are being infringed by the conduct of the contemnors,” Ntuli said.

Daily News