Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education accused the community of Inanda of “treason” after they allegedly tried to burn down Mvaba High School on Wednesday.
The office of the school principal and the staff room were set alight, but no extensive damage was done.
The community fired back, saying they loved their school and would never burn it down. They blamed a stand-off between the principal and the teachers.
Since last year, about 19 teachers have been pushing to have the prinicipal removed, after allegations that he had assaulted one of the teachers.
The allegations led to the principal’s suspension. He was reinstated earlier this year after the allegations were proved untrue by a court. When he was reinstated, with the support of the parents, the teachers allegedly abandoned work, and for the past month there has been no learning.
Department spokesman Sihle Mlotshwa said the fire was tantamount to treason and those responsible would face the might of the law.
“It is reported that community members attempted to burn the school. The department condemns this barbaric act and warns that all the perpetrators will face the full might of the law. Schools, like all government buildings and institutions, are there to serve the public; it does not make sense for the self-same public to destroy structures that are meant to benefit them.
“ Education is both an apex priority of the current administration and is a societal responsibility,” he said.
He said the department was aware of all the issues pertaining to the school and was doing everything possible to ensure the problem was resolved without disruption of teaching and learning.
A community member, Mthokozisi Magwaza, representing parents, said: “We would never burn down the school. We are not against development in our area; we are fighting against those teachers who do not want to work.
“The department is mistaken in their belief (that it was the community that tried to burn down the school). We suspect it was teachers,” he said.