Protest over ‘parachuted’ principal

File photo

File photo

Published Jan 15, 2016


Durban - Community activists and parents at Austerville Primary School, in Wentworth, are calling for the sacking of the newly appointed principal, claiming he was parachuted into the post, and a more worthy candidate was overlooked.

Protesters first took to the streets on Monday, demonstrating outside the school, and continued on Thursday.

Llewelyn Jullies, of !Kei Korana Kingdom Natal, a group which seeks to represent coloured and Khoisan people, said in a statement this week that Akesh Singh was, prior to his appointment as principal, a level 1 teacher at the school, who “was not even part of the management team”.

Jullies said that despite having served “with distinction”, the deputy principal of 17 years, Ethany Ogle, was overlooked.

The school’s former principal, Reginald Harper, retired late last year after 17 years in the position.

Of the appointment process, Jullies said the interview panel was made up of the school governing body, and that Singh’s appointment was in accordance with recommendations made by the chairman, and despite a grievance being lodged by a representative of the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa).

Protesters are calling for answers from the governing body and for the Department of Education to investigate the appointment process.

They want Singh removed from the school, the governing body’s resignation, and for Ogle to be appointed principal.

Ward councillor, Aubrey Snyman, who was in talks with those involved in the dispute, said community members were “up in arms”.

Education department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said the department was handling the matter.

“The district manager is on top of it,” he said.

Mahlambi, who was at the school on Wednesday, said despite the protest, the school was operating.

He commended the protesters for allowing teaching and learning to take place.

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