Parents want principal out

2019-05-22 06:00
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaPupils were unable to attend school during the protest over the pit toilets.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaPupils were unable to attend school during the protest over the pit toilets.

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“WE are tired. We want him gone.”

These were the words of angry parents of Bhekamatshe Primary School pupils who were protesting outside the school on Tuesday, demanding that the school principal, Mlandeli Duma, is fired.

Teachers and pupils were left stranded as they were denied access to the school by the parents who locked the school ground’s gate and closed the school entrance with burning tyres.

Parents have accused the principal of turning the school into his own house. The parents say that the principal does not have the good interest of the pupils at heart and he does not care about their safety.

One of the problems that the parents are complaining about is the pit toilets that the pupils are using that are not in good condition.

Five of the boys’ pit toilets have no doors, have open roofs and are close to the road.

One of the parents said they have been trying to engage with the principal and the school governing body regarding the pit toilets but they are not listening to them.

“Our children are exposed to danger everyday. Do they want our children to drown in these pit toilets before they attend to this issue?

“It has been years that these toilets have been like this and the principal does not care. We are tired now. He must go,” said one parent.

Another parent, Nonhlanhla Mbatha, said she lives in fear everyday thinking that she will receive a call from the school informing her that her child has drowned in the toilet.

“ My child is in Grade 1 and you cannot expect him to use these toilets. A child can drown anytime in these toilets. When we inquired about them last October, we were told that the people who are going to build the toilets have taken soil samples to check if toilets can be build in this sand but we have not received an answer,” she said.

A parent said that due to this problem, the Grade R pupils no longer use the pit toilets and are using buckets.

Parents said they have tried several times to solve the problems through meetings with Duma but he is unruly and he does not respect the parents.

The parents have vowed that they will fight until Duma is gone. They also complained that the school is not fenced properly and the principal takes the children out of class to chase away the cows, goats and donkeys who wander onto the school grounds.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they are aware of the incident at the school.

He said: “We will intervene in all the matters that have been reported to us. We hear parents are not happy about the principal. The department will look into the matter and respond to the parents,” he said.

However, he urged the parents not to disturb teaching.

“We understand that parents are frustrated but it is important that a child is not prevented from learning.”

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