‘Parent punched principal’

2011-03-07 00:00

A PARENT spent the night in jail for allegedly assaulting the principal of a school near Mooi River.

Mandla Ngobese (42), chairperson of the school governing body at Doornkloof Combined School in Middelrus, was charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm last Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said it is alleged that Ngobese walked into the office of the principal, whose name is known to The Witness, and confronted him about calls his wife had been allegedly receiving from the school.

“He allegedly wanted to know who was calling his wife from the office. An altercation apparently then ensued, which resulted in the suspect punching the principal,” said Zwane.

Ngobese allegedly used a stapler to assault the principal.

“The suspect was arrested the same day of the incident and appeared in the magistrate’s court the next day,” Zwane told The Witness.

Willy Naidoo, secretary of the Harry Gwala region of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) condemned the assault as “reprehensible, vexatious and callous”.

“This irresponsible and barbaric behaviour should not be tolerated in any form and more particularly will not be tolerated against any Sadtu member,” said Naidoo.

He added that the highly sensitive matter of the safety of teachers on school premises has been raised over the years, to no avail.

“Should the authorities continue to ignore the matter and a lack of security at schools prevails, we will continue to bury teachers, particularly in instances where there is no protection and teachers are exposed to violent and criminal elements of our society,” he added. However,

The Witness has learnt from a source in the area that the fight goes beyond the phone calls received.

According to the source, parents are dissatisfied with the way in which the school is managed. There is allegedly poor discipline and a high failure rate at the school.

“Out of 25 matriculants who wrote matric last year only five passed,” the source said.

A spokesperson for the KZN Education Department, Sihle Mlotshwa, said the deputy chair of the school governing body will set up a committee to investigate the matter before a decision on action is taken.

Ngobese’s case was adjourned to this week. It is understood he was granted bail, but police could not confirm the amount.

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