Klofies: Teacher speaks out

2009-04-17 09:56
Pretoria - The revelations about Waterkloof High School's financial affairs were a "dam wall that had been threatening to burst for many years".

A former teacher at the school, who didn't want to be identified, said on Thursday that the allegations about misappropriations were not new. "These matters did not start recently and go back more than a decade."

"The school is now reaping what it has sown for many years."

According to her, the school had lost many highly-qualified staff members over the years, because they were no longer prepared to work under the conditions at the school.

"Many of us are bitter about years of hard work and thousands of rands that we raised for the school, but that we couldn't even use for our own classes or projects."

Financial affairs

According to this teacher, there were often questions about the school's financial affairs when André Eloff, the deputy principal, was still in charge of them.

Eloff and Dr Christo Becker, the executive principal, said on Wednesday that they would resign, after prima facie evidence of possible wrongdoing in the school's financial affairs was uncovered in a forensic investigation.

Hester van der Merwe and Junel van Staden of the school's financial office were placed on leave "pending further investigations and possible action", according to the governing body.

The Gauteng education department on Thursday received a report of the forensic audit from the governing body. The department is expected to meet with Becker and Eloff on Friday, and could not yet say what steps might be taken.

The teacher said that in the past, every class was expected to raise R3 000 to add to the school fund. "When teachers enquired where the money went, there were no answers.

"The same thing happened with thousands of rands that were raised during glamour evenings. The answer was often that it had to be 'channelled to rugby'."

She also claimed that teachers were expected to sell small advertising signs, which were set up at the school. "The raised money, which was often up to R30 000, was not used for class projects as it was supposed to be.

"There was also no explanation for where the money had gone."

Rugby trips

She said she suspected that much of the money was spent on "rugby", as it was generally known that all expenses were paid for teachers who went on overseas tours.

"Other sporting teams, on the other hand, had to raise money for trips themselves."

The teacher said the school had over the past few years had many poor pupils who could not pay school fees.

These parents were often sued for outstanding school fees and had to pay legal costs as well. "One can only wonder what happened to the money that was usually added to the outstanding school fees."

What also made her unhappy, was the fact that many teachers were expected to teach in temporary classrooms as there was not enough money to upgrade facilities.

Neither Becker nor Eloff responded to cellphone messages on Thursday.

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