Picture: Paballo Thekiso/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Durban - A primary school principal and her deputy were fired by the provincial education department for alleged fraud and corruption.

Teachers at Mbonisweni Primary School in oThongathi claim Ziphiwo Mahlobo, the school principal, and Zandile Majozi, her deputy, had been running the school like their “spaza shop”.

All the teachers asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.

The teachers revealed that the two were found guilty on “various” charges of misconduct.

The investigation into the two’s conduct started last year and in August they were fired, but appealed.

“They lost the appeal and were fired. They were given the letters to that effect last week. They have been nothing but a pain to have at school because we were spending time talking cases instead of focusing on the children’s education,” said the teachers.

The Daily News reported last year that trouble at the school started in early 2000 when teachers allegedly paid bribes to get appointed (at the school).

In 2008, the teachers reported this to Sadtu (SA Democratic Teachers Union) and the matter was raised with the department.

The matter was investigated but the outcomes were “dubious”, the teachers claim.

The teachers further alleged that more allegations surfaced in 2014 that Mahlobo was colluding with service providers to fix prices.

This has lead to the department sending in a forensic investigation team lead by MJ Shabalala in May last year.

At the time Shabalala, who had since been out of work due to ill health, referred the Daily News to the department for comment.

Six teachers had given statements to Shabalala during his investigation.

According to Shabalala’s report which he had tabled at the department, the teachers revealed that the principal wanted bribes at the time of their appointment at the school, and they had paid between R1 600 to R20 000 for jobs.

Shabalala had recommended that Mahlobo be charged with misconduct for processing payments without relevant supporting documents, and with fraud and bribery.

Kwazi Mthethwa, education spokesperson could not be reached for comment. He did not return phone calls or emailed questions for comment.

Mahlobo said she would be appealing the sanction while Majozi declined to comment.

Gugu Ncube, chairperson of the school governing body (SGB) confirmed that the two were fired, but said she was “fairly new” in that position to be able to give a detailed comment on the matter.

Daily News