Pupils from Klipspruit West Secondary School were prevented from returning to school after the holidays because parents say they want a coloured principal not a black one. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday urged the Gauteng education department to take strong action against 28 "coloured schools" involved in a go-slow in support of Klipspruit West Secondary School, which is resisting the appointment of a black headmaster.

DA MPL, Khume Ramulifho, said: "Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi must take strong action against schools and teachers participating in an ill-thought go-slow which has the potential of jeopardising learners' contact time at schools".

The DA member of the provincial legislature said appointments of school principals must be based on merit and not race. "The DA urges the communities in the Johannesburg West and the Eldorado Park regions, to rethink their actions and to put learners on top of their agenda."

Ramulifho said communities in and around these areas had valid concerns, including allegations made against South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu), which the Education MEC needed to address.

"However, closing schools and calling for a specific race for a school principal is damaging and takes our country backward, not forward," said the DA MPL.

"The Sadtu 'jobs-for-cash scandal' is destroying school leadership and management. The MEC has an obligation to reclaim the department from undue influence of Sadtu in promoting and appointing teachers. 

"We cannot sow divisions in communities through race-based appointments. Communities must be reminded of the horrors of apartheid as this has no place in our democratic society."

The DA urged Lesufi to speedily resolve the case at Klipspruit West Secondary School, where parents and community members last week disrupted schooling because they did not want a black person appointed as the headmaster.

On Monday Lesufi condemned the go-slow by schools in so-called Coloured communities.

African News Agency