Johannesburg - Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Wednesday dissolved the school governing body of the racially-conflicted Klipspruit-West Secondary School in Eldorado Park.
“The way you are, you can’t carry a very important responsibility to unite the school, to ensure that all teachers teach, regardless of colour,” Lesufi told journalists and SGB members in a classroom at the neighbouring St Ives Primary School.
One SGB member had told him that they wanted a coloured principal, and that black teachers were refusing to teach coloured children.
“You’ll agree with me that after the input that you have given me, I have no choice but to recommend to the head of the department to dissolve this SGB and re-establish a new SGB,” Lesufi said.
On Monday, pupils missed the first day of the third term when parents disrupted classes and locked school gates in protest against the appointment of a black principal. The school reopened on Wednesday.
Lesufi said the current SGB would have to furnish him with a letter explaining why it should not be dissolved. An acting SGB would be elected in the interim.
SGB member Shirley Matthews claimed black teachers were refusing to teach coloured children.
“Our children are suffering with African teachers, so if an African principal comes, what’s going to happen now?”
Matthews, 67, explained she was not a racist. She was of African descent and married to a black man. She said she was speaking on behalf of all residents in the area in demanding a coloured principal.
Lesufi told her it was the SGB’s job to make sure teachers were doing their jobs.
“If you are a member of the SGB and come and claim that there is a certain teacher that is not teaching, by extension that means you are not doing your work.”
Lawrence Nemakonde, a teachers’ representative, said the rejection of the principal was mostly about fear of the unknown.
Pastor Aubrey van Lodewyk accused former acting principal Fareed Davids of promising SGB chairperson Rita Davis and SGB member Henry Charles R30 000 to keep him in his position.
Davids and Charles denied this.
Van Lodewyk said the school had had a white principal before and there were no problems.
After his briefing, Lesufi met parents and other interested parties to discuss their concerns.