Panorama principal dismissed

2010-07-05 00:00

A LOCAL school principal who was demoted to a level one position in 2008 after he was found guilty of inflating enrolment figures has been dismissed.

Jayraj Jugwanth, former principal of Panorama Primary School, was handed a dismissal letter two weeks ago.

The decision comes after he unseccessfully appealed against the demotion passed through a disciplinary process that started in 2004.

It is tfought that since launching the appeal in 2008, Jugwanth has continued to draw his salary as a principal.

A number of charges were brought against Jugwanth, among which were claims of his intimidating teachers and sexually harassing the female staff at the school.

However, he was found guilty of manipulating the numbers of children at the school between 2001 and 2004. This would have resulted in the school getting additional staff and would have increased the money received for the nutrition programme.

He was also found guilty of one count of intimidation.

A witness testifying during the disciplinary hearing said the figures for enrolment in 2001 were inflated to 771 when the actual head count was 603 — apparently under Jugwanth’s instruction. The pattern was repeated again in 2002 when figures submitted for the nutrition programme were falsely increased to 710 with the school purportedly having 40 Grade R pupils, when in fact there were none that year.

In sentencing Jugwanth, the presiding officer, P. Jenkins, imposed a sanction to demote Jugwanth to a level 1 post. He was to have been appointed to an appropriate notch within salary level eight under the status of senior teacher starting in November 2008.

In his report, Jenkins said he made his decision after considering “the nature of the case and the seriousness of the matter, Jugwanth’s almost 32 years of service, as well as the mitigating and aggravating circumstances” that were put before him.

However, Jugwanth thought his sentence too harsh and appealed. An appeals committee appointed to consider the evidence and whether there were grounds for an appeal found that the sentence was too lenient and that the transgression actually warranted a dismissal.

Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the MEC, Senzo Mchunu, has dismissed the appeal, having considered the appeals committee’s findings and recommendations based on the gravity of the misconduct.

“The MEC elected to vary the sanction and ruled that Mr Jugwanth should be dismissed and a formal notice was served on the principal.”

Mlotshwa would not say whether Jugwanth had been receiving his old salary until his dismissal and how this decision is likely to affect his retirement, as he is understood to be nearing retirement age.

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