Pupils of Masiphumelele High School had yesterday, staged a protest march demanding for the removal of their school principal and for proper teaching activities to begin in the school.
The protest was said to have started at 8.50 in the morning but ended in the later hours of the afternoon as public order police, metro and traffic police monitored the situation.
Speaking to reporters on the scenario, the police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk who was among the policemen there to ensure a peaceful protest, confirmed that pupils not less than 200 were outside the school gates, in Guinea Fowl Road, blocking the entrance.
“According to information gathered at the scene, the pupils were protesting because no formal teaching has taken place at the school since the beginning of the school term. They also demanded that the principal be removed from his post,” he said.
However, the report by the chair of the school’s governing body showed the board are unaware of the cause of the riot. According to the chairman Silulami Mtirara, the governing body was handed a letter with a list of grievances by the pupils two weeks ago but they are still unclear on the cause for the protest.
“We are uncertain of the reasoning behind this protest. We just don’t know what the pupils want now.” he said.
Speaking further, Mtirara said that included in the list issued to them by the pupils was the alleged removal of the school principal for unfairly suspending 20 pupils and the R10 monthly levy enforced on the them. To this, he said the body was able to provide answer to about 70 percent of their request but could not see reasons to remove the school principal as the pupils were unable to provide valid reasons.
“We resolved at least 70 percent of the grievances they had. The 20 pupils were called back to school and the levy issue was resolved. Some of the issues were long-term and needed the education department’s intervention – and they understood that.”
“The principal is hired by the Department of Education, he cannot just be fired,” he said.
Meanwhile, the spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, Jessica Shelver, said they were aware of “unrest and unruly behaviours”of the pupils on Tuesday and that a district official met with pupil representatives, the governing body and community representatives last week to discuss the grievances.
“We note with serious concern that a group of learners from Masiphumelele High School are intent on disrupting schooling for the entire school.
“This behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
“The deputy principal has confirmed that the majority of the learners’ grievances have been resolved while some are currently being investigated,” she said.