Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

Johannesburg - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was snubbed by protesting teachers in Eldorado Park on Friday but his department maintains that he will continue to try to resolve the impasse over their stayaway.

On Thursday, 324 members of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) withdrew from 30 schools in Eldorado Park as part of a show of solidarity with black teachers, which it says have faced racial discrimination.

The withdrawal appears to be partially in response to issues at Klipspruit West Secondary School, where racial tensions have mounted for months as parents and teachers have fought against the appointment of a black principal.

It is understood that the largely coloured community in the area wanted a coloured principal instead.

But as teachers withdrew and schools were forced to close this week, it appears the boycott of classes was sparked after four black teachers were barred from teaching on Thursday by angry community members who claimed they had assaulted pupils.

Shortly after this, 11 teachers staged a walkout after being accused of misconduct.

The Department of Basic Education has recognised the possibility that the withdrawal could jeopardise thousands of pupils, particularly matrics who are writing preliminary exams.

On Friday morning department spokesperson Steve Mabona said Lesufi had planned to meet with the disgruntled teachers in Eldorado Park, as well as Sadtu representatives, in a bid to work out a way forward.

However in the afternoon he told The Saturday Star: “The meeting was postponed to Tuesday because other educators did not attend.

"We will meet with educators at school in the morning and Sadtu in the afternoon.”

Sadtu has claimed the department has failed to adequately resolve the plight of black teachers at Klipspruit West, and the withdrawal is a show of solidarity with those teachers.

Saturday Star