Enough is enough, say irate teachers

2014-08-15 00:00

TEACHERS at Napierville’s former Afrikaans school stood united yesterday in a protest aimed at restoring law and order in their school.

This as long-standing tensions between teachers and members of the Piet Retief Primary School governing body reached boiling point.

Since the beginning of this year teachers have been unhappy with the alleged verbal abuse and bullying from SGB members.

Teachers who stopped work protested outside the school gates with some parents taking their children back home.

Teachers want the HOD for Education Dr Nkosinathi Sishi to terminate the contract of the current SGB.

They accuse the SGB of not having a constitution to run the school, which is against the South African Schools Act.

“We are concerned about the dropping of standards in terms of safety and security for teachers and pupils,” said a teacher, who asked not to be named.

She said pupils consumed drugs and alcohol and brought dangerous weapons like Tazers and knives to school. Some teachers have allegedly been slapped and punched by pupils.

“When we try to discipline them, the SGB sabotages our efforts by swearing at us and insulting us,” she said.

Another teacher said they had exhausted all avenues trying to get the department to intervene.

All the members of the school’s internal safety committee resigned in February and senior general manager in the Education Department, Judy Dlamini, was forwarded a letter to this effect, but nothing was done about it.

Their reasons for resigning was that SGB members were “humiliating us in front of parents and pupils”.

The letter sent to the department states that an SGB representative “intentionally gives more privileges to the accused learner and less opportunities to teachers”.

The SGB is also accused of not supporting the staff when it implements disciplinary measures at school.

The SGB has also not allowed the appointment of a debt collector, which is required in a quintile five school. “This impedes the proper running of the school,” she said. She said some members of the SGB are defaulters of school fees and some were accused of owing up to R40 000 in unpaid fees. “This leads to millions of rand of outstanding fees,” she said.

“We can’t improve the school’s condition because we are always told there is no money,” she said.

She said until officials from the circuit office address them, no teaching and learning will take place.

One of the teachers said they did not trust that the SGB would be fair in the appointment of the new principal, who is being interviewed today.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

KwaZulu-Natal education spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said they had sent a delegation from the circuit office to Piet Retief to investigate the matter.

“We are disturbed that because of this squabble between teachers and the SGB, pupils are now deprived of their right to education,” he said.

SGB secretary Alfred Ntlabathi said he was out of town, but would respond once they have consolidated their media response with other SGB members.

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