Slaps at school as parents battle new principal

2017-08-01 14:40
Unhappy parents have taken over the school staff room. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

Unhappy parents have taken over the school staff room. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Pupils of Vredendal North Primary School have missed a second day at school after being forbidden by their parents to go.

The parents are unhappy about the appointment of the new principal, Maryna de Lange, Netwerk24 reported.

According to one of the parents, Elsabie Cloete, the previous principal retired in 2016. "The deputy principal, Lincoln Wildschut, deputised until the end of the second term."

When the new principal started at the beginning of the new term, all hell broke loose.

"The circuit manager and the governing body hadn't informed us that a new principal had been appointed. The woman who was appointed ahead of Wildschut is from Saldanha Bay.

"To add insult to injury, we now hear that he [Wildschut] wasn't even on the shortlist.

"We want to know who made the appointment and who decided on De Lange. Why appoint a white woman in a coloured area?"

Nepotism accusations

The ward councillor for the area and mediator between the parents, the school governing board and the Western Cape education department, Hennie Nel, said the parents weren't allowing pupils in, but teachers had access to the school grounds.

"The parents have questions. They also are of the opinion that the WCED wasn't transparent with the appointment. We want to see the minutes [of the process]."

The parents also accused the WCED of nepotism and claim that relatives of De Lange's had served on the panel who had to approve the appointment.

On Monday morning, things got so heated that parents and staff started slapping each other.

The parents also had talks with the new principal. Another parent meeting was planned for Monday evening.

De Lange declined to comment and referred all queries to the education department.

According to Western Cape education department spokesperson Jessica Shelver, some protesting parents were allegedly intimidating and threatening others who wanted to send their kids to school.

"This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed."

Shelver said De Lange had been appointed in terms of the department's policy.

"The parents can't remove her from her position."

The school governing body and disgruntled parents are set to meet on Tuesday.

"There they can air their views," said Shelver.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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