Uncertainty over reopening of Roodepoort Primary School

2015-09-01 08:10
Roodepoort primary school badge. (Jermaine DeKock, Twitter)

Roodepoort primary school badge. (Jermaine DeKock, Twitter)

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Johannesburg - It was not clear whether the troubled Roodepoort Primary School would be reopened this week, following the completion of a report by an independent mediation task team.

"The mediation team has finalised and submitted its report with recommendations. These should be effected by Friday," education department spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane said on Monday.

The school, which has been mired in allegations of corruption and racism, was temporarily closed just over two weeks ago.

It was also the site of several violent clashes between residents and the police.

In the interim, some pupils were moved to Lufhereng Primary School in Soweto.

The mediation team was appointed to find solutions to problems at the school and heard submissions from various relevant organisations and residents.

Parents unhappy with appointments

Parents and residents of Davidsonville, where the school is situated, claimed the appointment of the principal and her two deputies was irregular. They also claimed that two reports, one clearing their appointment and another clearing them of financial mismanagement, were incorrect.

On Monday, Davidsonville Community Forum members threatened to forcibly reopen the school. They gave some of the pupils gathered outside in their purple uniforms a bolt cutter to cut the chain on the gate, before taking away the tool.

The forum's spokesperson, Ronald Dyers, later said pupils who had not gone to the school in Soweto would be taken on Monday to nearby "church buildings" for "intermediary education".

"We hope we can get a possible solution to the problem. If [Roodepoort Primary] is not open tomorrow [Tuesday], we will decide on the next step," he said.

"This school was built by the community and it is basically unfair of [the] government, the premier and the MEC to close this school unilaterally without consulting the community."

Committed to find solution

He said the community was still committed to working with a mediation task team appointed by the Gauteng department of education to find solutions.

"We will be meeting a delegation from the local [ANC] as well as a delegation from the neighbouring community [on Monday]," he said.

"We hope in these endeavours we can find a solution to present to the mediation team."

Residents and parents have repeatedly denied claims they were racist for wanting the principal, who is black, to vacate her position.

The mediation team included Reverend Gift Moerane from the South African Council of Churches, Bishop Paul Verryn, United Nation Children's Rights and Emergency Relief Organisation (Unicef) goodwill ambassador and singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, former director general of the Presidency Reverend Frank Chikane, representatives from the office of the public protector and representatives from the Ahmed Kathrada foundation, among others.

Read more on:    gauteng education department  |  johannesburg  |  education  |  schools

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