Unpaid security guards lock gates of Sikhululiwe high school

2011-08-03 00:00

SECURITY guards at Sikhululiwe Secondary School at Elandskop instituted a lock-out at the school yesterday, preventing pupils and teachers from entering after the principal allegedly failed to pay them their wages.

The two guards, identified only as Dlamini and Nxele on the night shift, claim they have not been paid for the past three months. They said yesterday they had decided to wait for the principal to explain why they were not paid, but said the principal fled the area without explaining.

The guards then locked the gates of the school, preventing the pupils and teachers from entering.

The pupils started rioting and the teachers fled in fear for their safety. They later returned at mid-morning when the gates were opened.

When The Witness arrived many of the pupils were still milling around the school yard. Others opted to go home.

In a memorandum submitted to the school governing body the guards, who have worked at the school since 1996, said locking the school gates was not ideal but the school principal had left them with no choice.

“All we want is an explanation of why are we not being paid. For the past three months we have continued to work to protect the school despite not getting paid because we feared if anything happened to the school property we would be blamed. We previously earned R900, but he reduced our wages to R500 which is too little and now we are not even getting that.”

A community leader Nkosi Zaca said they were disappointed by the problems at the school. “One of the government’s mandate is to provide quality education, and what we are witnessing here today is not quality education.

“The children ... have just lost a day in their studies.”

Zaca said while the actions of the security guards cannot be condoned, they were understandable. “Without them the school would be vandalised so it is unacceptable that they go for so many months without being paid.”

Mbali Thusi, spokesperson for the Education Department, said teaching was disrupted in the morning but later resumed. She said the matter was receiving attention to ensure learning is not disrupted and the concerns are addressed.

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