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By Dimakatso Modipa

SANCO members and SGB members at Refentse Primary school blocking the gates refused principal and teachers to enter at the school premises photo by Dimakatso Modipa

Chaos reigned supreme at Refentse Primary School in Mamelodi West as the school’s principal and teachers were chased away from the school on Monday morning by SANCO and the school’s SGB.

“No teachers, including the principal, will be allowed onto the school premises until we sort out governance issues here,” said SANCO Zonal Deputy Secretary in Mamelodi, Thatohatsi Mohale while speaking to Tshwane Talks at the school’s premises on Monday morning.

“We are demanding the attention of the school’s principal and that of Mr Mabotja, who is the overseer of the school and Mr Makondo and all Basic Education officials,” said Mohale.

“We will only allow learners and teachers’ assistants to be on the premises while waiting for the commencement of a forced meeting,” he said.

“The teachers’ assistants will take care of the orderliness of the school in the meantime,” he said.

Mohale said they as SANCO and the School Governing Body (SGB) were taking drastic steps to disrupt learning at the school as they are the primary custodians of the school voted in by the parents of the learners of the school.

“The principal is holding the school to ransom and causing division at the school,” he said.

“She is not allowing teachers to proceed with the SGBs programme and it is alleged that the school lacks various resources like toilet paper, typek printing paper and liquid soap,” said Mohale.

“These are essentials that must be purchased with funds allocated to the school by the Department of Basic Education,” he said.

“The principal is the cause of the problems at this school as she doesn’t co-operate with the SGB, an example being her refusal to allow the SGB to use the school’s printing machine to print letters calling for a parents’ meeting on Sunday,” said Mohale.

“The principal cited lack of resources for her refusal to allow the SGB to use the school’s printing machine,” said Mohale.

“But everybody was surprised when the principal printed ‘counter letters’ informing parents that there is no parents’ meeting whatsoever as announced by the SGB in letters sent to parents earlier in the week,” he said.

Mohale said the principal’s negative attitude started immediately after the re-election of the current SGB a few months ago.

“The principal is just an administrator of the school and must not allow herself to be caught up in the school’s politics and pick sides,” lamented Mohale.

“The principal is fairly new at this school and her relationship with the SGB is already in tatters, yet she was only appointed early this year in February,” revealed Mohale.

“She clashed with the SGB after she expelled a learner from school without first consulting the SGB and the parents,” said Mohale.

“Another issue at this school is that there is a teacher who has no qualifications but is teaching grade 7 learners,” said Mohale.

He said the teacher’s assistant is the one who does much of the work while the said teacher is always absent and can be seen loitering, yet she gets paid for having been appointed as a teacher,” he said.

Mohale told Tshwane Talks that the principal and teachers will be prevented from entering the school premises until a meeting is held to sort out all the burning issues that have plagued the school.

One of the parents at the school, known as Willheminah, told Tshwane Talks that as a parent she had not been notified of the action taken by SANCO and the SGB to chase away the principal and teachers from the school.

“I am opposed to the action taken by SGB and SANCO to disrupt learning and teaching at the school because the duty of the teachers is to teach and the learners must be in class and learn,” she said.

Another parent, Sfiso Sango told Tshwane Talks that he was also not aware of the shutdown and feared for his children’s safety at the school as the teachers had been chased away.

Tshwane Talks has not received response from the department of education by the time of printing.

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