Free State education department to appeal 'racist' principal's reinstatement

2016-07-13 11:58


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Bloemfontein – The Free State education department will appeal a ruling that a principal declared unfit to work with children be reinstated. 

"While we respect the ruling by the Education Labour Relations Council, we are unhappy about it. This man is not fit to work with our learners," department spokesperson Howard Ndaba said on Tuesday.  

Wilgehof Primary School principal Fanie Roeloffze and teacher Leonard MacKay were fired in 2013 after they were found guilty of racism and hate speech.

MacKay used the word "kaffir" and displayed a picture of Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema alongside that of a monkey in his classroom. 

In 2013, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) conducted an on-site inspection of the school following a complaint from a parent. In October that year, the SAHRC found MacKay guilty of racism and hate speech.

"The ruling is very disappointing, we don't tolerate racism and we believe we have presented a good case against the principal," Ndaba said.

'White people should stand up against racism'

They would appeal the matter in the Labour Court.  

One of the parents who first reported the incident, Craig Thiem, said he was disappointed that the council ruled in Roeloffze's favour.

"It is outrageous that the principal was reinstated after what happened. White people should stand up against racism and I want to be counted as a white man standing up against racism," he said. 

On July 1, 2015, MacKay got a job at Dr CF Visser Primary School. He left after the education department objected and asked the school's governing body not to employ him.

In April this year, Trompsburg Primary School employed him. The SAHRC called for the provincial education department to intervene and MacKay was forced to leave.

The school's governing body chairperson Willem Grobbelaar said they acted in accordance with the School's Act in appointing him. However, political parties in the province threatened to remove MacKay forcefully if the school did not do so. 

"We have to put the safety of the learners, teachers and parents first," Grobbelaar said at the time. 

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  education

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