Racism alleged at KZN school

2008-01-23 00:00

ALLEGATIONS of racism were made during a protest that disrupted teaching at the George Cato Primary in Cato Ridge yesterday.

Teachers affiliated to the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) were joined by union leaders and other Sadtu members.

“We want you to tell [MEC] Ina Cronje to take the principal and take her to a place reserved for the boers … there is no place here for them,” said Mbuyiseni Mathonsi of Sadtu.

Teacher Bheki Ntuli said the protest was sparked by the alleged beating last week of a black gardener by his white supervisor, apparently for working too slowly.

According to Ntuli, when the gardener went to report the matter to the Camperdown police, he was turned away and told to sort the matter out with the school.

He said the 24-year-old man was offered R3 000 to drop the matter, or face being fired if he insisted on pressing charges.

These allegations could not be independently confirmed.

However, according to Ntuli, the issue of racism is not a new one for black staff at the school.

“We are called baboons and our children are called monkeys. We are constantly being told that we are incompetent because of Bantu education and yet not once have they tried to address that problem by developing the staff … ”

Nkosi said they complained about the situation last January and the Education Department conducted an inquiry, but they have not heard what the outcome is.

Now they demand a full report of that investigation and want action taken.

Basil Manuel, vice president of the National Association of Professional Teachers of SA (Naptosa), also blamed the department for the deteriorating situation at the school.

“They failed the school, they failed the pupils … Their delay has compromised people’s safety and the children’s education.”

However, Manuel condemned the strike, during which, he said, teachers threw stones.

One of the parents, who wanted to remain anonymous for her child’s safety, said she is concerned about her child’s education.

She said her child spent about eight months last year without a teacher.

“I don’t know anything about the children being called monkeys and the beatings … all I know is my child needs to be taught. That is what I demand from the department of Education.”

Education spokeswoman Christi Naude said Cronje will visit the school today to do her own investigations into the matter.

Naude could not say why the results of last year’s investigation have not been released, but said action will be taken in two days, as the department is busy studying all the reports and recommendations.

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