Axed school head defiant

2012-08-31 00:00

AN Umbumbulu principal, whose pupils this week protested against her suspension, would welcome an investigation into her alleged misdemeanours.

Premilla Deonath told The Witness she believed she had been “deviously” suspended from Khulabebuka High School. She said her suspension had been carried out in a peculiar way when in July an official handed the notice to a child near her home to give to her while she was at school.

She had never been convinced about the authenticity of the letter. It bore a “sheriff” stamp, she said, and the way it was delivered was out of line with correct procedure, which should have involved her union.

The department sent her home, accusing her of inciting parents and the community, maladministration and mismanagement of staff, spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa confirmed.

He would not comment further, saying an independent tribunal would hear the allegations on September 11 and that a special meeting had been held at the school on Wednesday.

The department had heard about frustrations and persuaded parents, teachers, pupils and the school governing body to agree that classes should resume.

Yesterday, when The Witness visited the institution, pupils were busy fixing up the neglected grounds at the school, which boasts good results.

Police said they were investigating a case of malicious damage to property relating to the protests.

“It is alleged that police attended a complaint at Khulabebuka High School, where the Department of Education officials were allegedly locked inside the school premises,” said spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane.

“It is further alleged that the police used a firearm to open the padlock with an intention to rescue the officials who were locked inside. No arrest has been made at this stage.”

The principal has meanwhile stood her ground. “None of the allegations are true,” said Deonath, who appears to enjoy support from some members of the school community.

“I would welcome an investigation.”

She pointed a finger of blame at four former teachers who had fallen foul of the school last year and spoke of racist undercurrents to do with her being Indian.

Deonath said the teachers in question had continued to sing the banned song AmaNdiya by Mbongeni Ngema , in spite of being told to stop doing so.

“A department official even asked me to take a post in an Indian area.”

She said there were people in the Education Department who were out to get her.

“They’ll find a way to find fault. It’s easy. No one is flawless.”

She said she had raised sponsorships and bursaries for the school, where she has been principal for 14 years.

A teacher at the school confirmed that two Khulabebuka High students were studying mechanical engineering in Serbia, while others were studying at University of Zululand and Durban University of Technology.

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