Johannesburg – The protest against the newly-appointed black principal of Klipspruit Secondary School in Soweto is racist, the Gauteng education department said on Monday.
The school was closed on Monday morning when residents stopped staff and pupils from entering, arguing that the process used to appoint the new principal was flawed.
The protest went against the country’s "non-racial principles", the department said in a statement.
"The community in Klipspruit West has rejected the principal because of their skin colour… educators are appointed on the basis of qualification and experience."
Patriotic Association of South Africa (Pasa) spokesperson Charis Pretorius denied the protest was racially motivated.
"The school’s governing body is illegitimate – they had an hour of training. Some of them aren’t even qualified according to the criteria for a governing body."
She said the department had been ignoring their messages since June 25.
During a meeting with department officials on Monday afternoon, Pretorius said residents expressed concerns about how the principal was selected.
"We are a majority coloured community. Then they appoint people to a selection committee who are illegitimate and create a shortlist where only one of the six candidates is coloured – when 11 coloured candidates applied."
"Why wasn’t the current caretaker even considered?" she asked.
According to its website, Pasa is a political party formed for marginalised people such as coloureds, the Khoi San, and Indians.
Department spokesperson Oupa Bodibe told News24 that a team had been sent to investigate.
"If any legitimate grounds are found regarding the appointing process being wrong, action will be taken," he said.