Angry parents shut down Langa school

Langa parents camped inside the school premises to prevent anyone coming to their school until their issues with the deputy principal were resolved.

Angry parents of pupils at Siyabulela Primary School in Langa shut down the school last week.

On Tuesday May 31, parents locked the school gates and have been camping outside, blocking anyone trying to get into the school.

When Vukani visited the school on Thursday, scores of parents inside the school premises told us they said they were monitoring the situation.

Parents told Vukani they wanted the deputy principal and two other teachers to leave.

One of the parents who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her child said of the deputy principal: “Our children are getting code 1 in all his subjects. There are children who could not get into a good school because of these codes that he gave our children. He must go. We had enough of him. For this and other reasons we decided to close the school,” she said.

They said they have complained to the WCED numerous times since 2017.

Another parent told Vukani there were two other female teachers who were disruptive at the school because “they love him”, him being the deputy principal.

“We do not want to see them here. We do not care if they are taken somewhere to another school. We are fighting for our children’s future here,” the parent said.

School governing body chairperson Nonqaba Xhamla said she supported the parents and confirmed that the problems with the deputy principal, whom she described as a “dictator who undermined parents” dated back to 2017.

“You cannot advise him on anything. That is not how you deal with people. He is also part of the SGB but takes decisions for us,” she told Vukani.

Bronagh Hammond director of communications for the Western Cape Education Department said the department was aware of the disruption to teaching and learning at the school, but said they had subsequently resumed.

“The SGB and other parents want two of the teachers to step down as governing body members. These teachers were legally appointed through electoral processes. There are also demands to remove the deputy principal. The WCED has investigated some of the allegations, which have been unfounded, and are addressing others. This process must take its course. We cannot simply dismiss or remove an employee for no reason,” she said.

She said the WCED had engaged with the school management and the SGB, and were working to resolve the matter.

Ms Hammond said regardless of the concerns raised, the conflict between the teachers and the SGB members should not affect teaching and learning. “There are ways and means to engage but denying the children their right to education and inciting violence is simply unacceptable and is not in the best interests of the school, the learners or the community at large” she said.

SGB chairperson Nonqaba Xhamla accused the deputy principal of being a “dictator”.
The gates at the Siyabulela primary in Langa are closed to anyone coming to the school.