MEC calls on prominent leaders to help him solve Roodepoort school deadlock

2015-08-18 16:45
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Simone Kley

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Simone Kley

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Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has sent an SOS call to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, and reverends Frank Chikane and Gift Moerane to help him with the impasse at the Roodepoort Primary School in Davidsonville. 

Addressing a media conference in his offices in the Johannesburg city centre, Lesufi said he would stop at nothing to ensure a speedy resolution to the problem. 

“I was on the phone with Advocate Thuli Madonsela. I have also spoken to reverends Frank Chikane and Gift Moerane. It is a pity that Bishop Desmond Tutu has gone back into hospital. But I want South Africans who have credibility. I’m going all out to have this sorted. I have to find mechanisms of closing this chapter as soon as possible.” 

The school has been the epicentre of tension, with some coloured parents demanding the replacement of the black principal. 
Lesufi said he had requested about 18 prominent South Africans – as well as the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, which has nonracialism as its core objective – to help him address the problems at the school. 

On Friday evening Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced in a public meeting that he would close the school temporarily and bus the pupils to different schools. This was after community members disrupted teaching and learning, and demanded the axing of Principal Nomathemba Molefe and her two deputies. 

Yesterday morning, buses started ferrying pupils to the Lufhereng Primary School in Protea Glen. But trouble broke out this morning when community members pelted buses ferrying pupils with stones. “Four buses were pelted with stones and as a means of self defence the police had to use rubber bullets. We had a report from the police that there was an altercation and the community pelted them with stones. This is not the way education should be run in our country.” 

Lesufi said he had to find an alternative plan for the 1200 pupils affected. “We had to find a school to accommodate the kids. We didn’t want to delay their education.” 

The violence, he said, vindicated the provincial government’s decision to shut down the school. 

Lesufi said he would not allow the community to decide on the principal of its choice because it would create a situation where every community demanded its own principal. 

Tomorrow morning, Lesufi will meet with two mediators from Davidsonville. 

“In the evening we will present them to the community. We are committed in finding solutions in the shortest possible time. The education of our children comes first, and I am not going to compromise it.” 

Lesufi said the pupils would be shared among eight schools around the area. He said he would ask Molefe to step aside while he fixes the problems at the school. 

“I am open-minded; I can’t be rigid about this,” he said, adding that he was already talking to Molefe’s union.

Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  roodepoort

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