Teachers locked out

2020-02-03 15:17
Pupils of Emzamweni High School locking out all the teachers on Friday. Police were present to mediate.

Pupils of Emzamweni High School locking out all the teachers on Friday. Police were present to mediate.

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Pupils locked their teachers out of the premises of Emzamweni High School on Friday. They were protesting that there had been no classes since 35 teachers walked out on Tuesday over a range of unresolved issues dating back to last year.

A teacher at the school who asked not to be named told The Witness that pupils arrived at school early on Friday morning to close the gates and keep the staff out.

“The students were not happy that they had been coming to school all week but were not being taught. They were telling us that they want us to sort out our internal conflicts without involving them and hindering their education,” said the teacher.

She further added that the protest was not violent, and pupils chanted and sang at the gates from about 7 am until 10.30 am.

“Police were present, but they were only there to try and mediate. There was no violence, and no arrests needed to be made. The police brought their megaphone with them so that they could talk to the large group of students that had gathered at the school entrance,” said the source.

The teacher told The Witness on Sunday that teachers were not working because of disputes amongst themselves and with the principal of the school. She said that it all began because the principal would allegedly speak to the teachers in a crass manner during their morning briefings. She said some teachers stopped attending the meetings because they were “fed up” with the ill-treatment. The affected teachers wrote up a list of their grievances, which were “never properly addressed by the headmaster”. She said that resulted in 35 Sadtu-aligned staff members refusing to teach as of Tuesday.

“Twelve staff members from the National Teachers’ Union [Natu] continued to teach, and that then caused further conflict amongst the staff members from different trade unions.”

KZN Department of Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said on Sunday that the pupils should be focusing on their studies and staying out of the adult affairs and school politics.

“By behaving this way, the students could get themselves into trouble. Once the disputes are resolved, they will have to face to consequences of their actions,” said Mahlambi.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  school protests

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