Teachers, pupils don't pitch up at troubled Roodepoort school

2015-08-11 13:46
Roodepoort primary school badge. (Jermaine DeKock, Twitter)

Roodepoort primary school badge. (Jermaine DeKock, Twitter)

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Johannesburg - Very few pupils and teachers were in class at the Roodepoort Primary School on Tuesday, following a threat by Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to shut the school down permanently.

"There were no incidents per se, but there is a low turnout by learners and some educators haven't turned up at school citing concerns for their safety. [The teachers] are consulting their unions," Gauteng education spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane told News24

"So we will continue to engage with the unions, and encourage parents to send their children to school."

Lesufi said on Monday the school would be closed down if learning was disrupted.

"I am giving them their last chance. If something happens... I have no choice but to permanently close that school. We will spread the learners to all the surrounding schools, as well as the teachers."

Lesufi's warning followed two incidents at the school last week, one in which a petrol bomb was thrown at the deputy principal's car and another in which a person claiming to be a parent arrived on the school premises with a gun.

Lesufi said that because of these incidents, black teachers had stopped coming to the school because they "feared for their lives" and the attendance of pupils had also dropped.

Last month, Lesufi said residents tried to disrupt teaching at the school as it reopened for the new term, after which he employed an armed security company.

Lesufi said in June that he was closing down the school, but would reopen it in the new term and would "have a plan in place".

That was the second time he had taken drastic action against the school.

In April, he also closed it down, but reopened it several days later.

The school was the site of several protests and in one case police had to fire rubber bullets.

Protesting parents had demanded a coloured principal. They claimed the process of appointing black principal Nomathemba Molefe was flawed.

Later they made allegations of maladministration against the principal and the governing body chairperson.

A report by KPMG had reportedly cleared the principal and her deputies of wrongdoing.

Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  johannesburg  |  education

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