Picture: AP/Markus Schreiber
Durban - A school principal and some of her teaching staff at a Tongaat school are no ­longer on speaking terms after the teachers testified against the principal, who had been accused of wrongdoing.

Relations between the principal and about five of her staff members are said to be hostile after the staff members testified to allegations of wrong­doing against the principal and her deputy. The two were disciplined by the Department of Education.

The school has 1350 pupils and 39 teachers.

The Mercury has seen two letters addressed to the principal and her deputy, which state that following the disciplinary, the two had been found guilty of the allegations against them and dismissed.

The letters were sent on May 29 this year, and state that should the two object to the sanctions, they could appeal to the MEC of Education, Mthandeni Dlungwane.

It is not clear if any appeals were made, although the two ­remain at the school.

Attempts to speak to them through the school landline last week were unsuccessful as the principal hung up the phone. Afterwards it rang ­unanswered.

Sources at the school said: “The teachers who testified against the principal are facing a difficult situation because despite the dismissal, the principal, who is very close to her deputy, are still at the school. “How do you testify against someone and they lose their job because of your testimony, but you continue to work with them every single day?

“They no longer talk at all, they don’t greet each other in the yard and every official communication between the teachers and the principal is via the heads of department. The situation is toxic,” said the source.

The source added: “Many of the teachers who testified are concerned that the dismissal could be reversed by Dlungwane, and then the principal might come after them.”

Important

Another source at the school said that even where there were important issues to be handled, she (the principal) did not go to the teachers but rather sent the school management team.

The chairperson of the ­Education Portfolio Committee, Linda Hlongwa-Madlala, said the school had problems.

“The allegations against the principal were first investigated in 2015. She was placed on suspension for about a year, and was then cleared. I was surprised when she called to say that the matter had started up again and that she had subsequently been dismissed,” she said.

Hlongwa said there were many underlying issues at the school, and she had even recommended that the school management team be split to control the turmoil.

The Education Department had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing. 

The Mercury