Roodepoort school off to shaky start

Roodepoort Primary School has had a shaky start to its academic year after 15 teachers failed to report for teaching duty citing security fears as the reason. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Roodepoort Primary School has had a shaky start to its academic year after 15 teachers failed to report for teaching duty citing security fears as the reason. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Published Jan 13, 2016

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Johannesburg - The academic year at Roodepoort Primary School got off to a shaky start on Monday when 15 black teachers stopped reporting to the school.

The teachers began reporting to the district office instead of going to the school.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the teachers, in refusing to report to the school, cited security concerns and an environment not conducive for education following incidents last year when parents disrupted lessons.

The embattled school was closed for several months last year as the community and the department fought over alleged racism and corruption.

The community wanted the principal to be removed, accusing her of corruption, but she was cleared by a forensic investigation.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura set up a mediation team to try to solve matters at the school.

On Tuesday, Lesufi said the latest developments were a setback but could be resolved.

“I want to convert that school into a model school. It is the only primary school where I am putting in information communication technology and where I am building a sports facility. I am very hopeful. One thing they didn't want was the principal. I took a decision to move the principal. That school is going to be a model school. It will be the home of non-racialism,” Lesufi said.

He said that if teachers were adamant about not reporting to the school, the department would get replacement teachers.

Lesufi said head of department Edward Mosuwe would appoint a new principal after the previous principal was moved.

“We are going to appoint a competent person who shares our vision of changing the school into one that we can all be proud of. No one is going to bully us. We didn't replace because of these allegations. We had to confront a problem and resolve it. We reached a mutual agreement with the principal that she be placed elsewhere,” Lesufi said.

He said the real issue wasn't the principal, but the economic and political climate of the area.

“The premier stepped in to ensure there are economic opportunities in that area. That school is the economic hub of the community, that's where people get piece jobs. They fear that if you have somebody who does not come from that community, they will be excluded from those economic opportunities.”

He cited Curro Roodeplaat in Pretoria as an example of how schools could be non-racial.

The school was last year accused of segregating pupils according to race. Lesufi threatened to close the school if it didn’t change its policies.

“They are starting to become the most non-racial school in the whole province. They have learnt from their lessons and they give me reports every month on their progress,” the MEC said.

That school is the economic hub of the community

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