Furore over Cape Town teacher's resignation continues

2018-11-05 20:32


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The controversial departure of a Cape Town school teacher from Rustenburg Girls' Junior School has highlighted bigger issues around transformation at schools in South Africa, a group called Parents for Change said on Monday.

"We are appalled at the circumstances around the resignation of Ms Nozipho Mthembu," said the group in a statement after the Mail & Guardian revealed that the school's first black full-time teacher left after feeling undermined and unsupported.

"The injustice experienced by Ms Mthembu is just one manifestation of a much bigger travesty," said a statement ahead of a press conference to discuss wider transformation concerns scheduled for Tuesday.

READ: Top Cape Town girls' school caught in transformation row

"We are well aware that behind the facades of transformation and diversity, certain people genuinely continue to believe that it is skin colour that defines a person. For too many years, the issue of transformation has been swept under the carpet," the statement said.

In the meantime, the Western Cape education department stated that the teacher, Nozipho Mthembu, resigned "after ongoing legitimate concerns that were raised with her".  

"Out of respect for her privacy, these have not been disclosed," said education MEC Debbie Schäfer.

Call for SGB's Natalie Maimane to resign

Mthembu was not immediately available for comment but she told the Cape Talk that she was not told what she was doing wrong, and eventually felt pressured into resigning or losing her credibility.

Schäfer said the school's only admission of wrongdoing in the matter was because of issues of procedure regarding the process followed.

She said that the department was also not aware of allegations of racism involving the teacher and because she was hired by the school governing body (SGB), the department was not aware of processes regarding her appointment and resignation.

"I have also taken note of the allegations of the behaviour of some parents at the school, which, if true, is unacceptable. The SGB has informed me that they are working on a parent code of conduct which it has committed to make available to parents for comment before the end of the year.

"I will also ensure that parents are addressed on the unacceptability of such conduct."

In the meantime, the ANC in the Western Cape has demanded that the SGB's Natalie Maimane, whose husband is the leader of the opposition DA, resign. Maimane is listed as being on the SGB with a focus on human resources. The ANC Youth League wants the entire SGB removed.

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