‘Complex’ Roodepoort school remains closed as task team works on solution

2015-08-24 15:24
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Simone Kley

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Simone Kley

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Two days have not been enough for the Roodepoort Primary School mediation team to find a solution to the “complex” problem. 

The community forum members are sticking to their guns: they want the principal and her two deputies to be removed from their positions. Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has accused them of racism. 

The doors to the school were still closed today, as the team appointed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to mediate there was yet to come up with solutions. 

The team, which Makhura had given two days to engage with all stakeholders and recommend a way forward, was unveiled last Wednesday by Lesufi. The group included Unicef ambassador and songstress Yvonne Chaka Chaka, reverends Gift Moerane and Paul Verryn, Bishop Mosa Sono, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, and representatives from the office of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. 

Lesufi had hoped that the team would work around the clock and come up with recommendations, which would have been communicated to the community in a public meeting yesterday. But Makhura’s spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, said the team was still busy. 

“They are still working. When they are ready they will present a report to the premier. They do understand the urgency with which they have to treat the matter,” Masebe said. 

The recommendations, he said, had to be presented to the premier this week. 

“They do provide us with updates, but eventually they will provide a report on which the premier will be able to make a decision on the way forward.” 

Theo van Rensburg, vice-chairperson of the Davidsonville Community Forum, said the mediating team found that the issues at the school were too complex and they couldn’t resolve them in two days. 

“We had an hour and a half with the team. But unfortunately, I can tell you that the MEC and the premier are compromising the education of 1200 children just to protect three people: the principal Nomathemba Molefe and her two deputies. We told the team that they should work out a compromise and put them in another school. We don’t want them here.” 

The community, he said, was not prepared to back down. 

“This community raised funds to build this school in 1979. Lots of fundraising happened here and you come and tell the community they don’t have a say on how it should be done. It is not going to happen on our watch,” he said. 

The Davidson Community Forum argues that the appointments of Molefe and her two deputies were irregular. 

Lesufi had appointed independent people to look into the allegations. They found nothing irregular, but Van Rensburg said the community would not rest until Molefe and the two deputies were out of the school. 

Lesufi accused the forum of racism, saying they had issues with a black principal.

Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  roodepoort primary school

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