Ousted SGB closes school

A war of words erupted between parents and government officials at Nalikamva Primary School, in Mfuleni, last week, when members of the outgoing school governing body locked the gates and prevented pupils and teachers from going into the school.

Parents at Nalikamva Primary School, in Mfuleni, have vowed to ensure that anarchy is avoided at the school following the recent school closure allegedly by members of the outgoing school governing body (SGB).

Teaching and learning were disrupted at the school last week when members of the outgoing SGB locked all the school gates in protest against their removal.

Some pupils had to go home while others remained at the school until the gates were forcefully opened.

Angry parents said they had had to cut the locks so that pupils and teachers could gain access to the school premises.

Parent and chairperson of the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO), Zingisile Ndamane, said the parents were surprised by the closure as they had not been consulted.

He condemned the disruption of the lessons by people fighting “personal battles” and said those guilty of this should be dealt with “harshly”.

“I got a call to say the school gates were locked by people we know. We had to call the police to intervene. Eventually we cut the locks. The problem with this is that children can be in danger. Some went home. Who knows what could happen to those because some of their parents are working. Whoever did this should face the law,” he said.

Local councillor Thembisile Bathembu said he was shocked to hear about the closure.

“Whatever we do, let us think about the future of our children. Let us not put their future at risk. We cannot allow instability at the school because of our differences. If the SGB does not perform its mandate, it must go. That should not be a problem because people are not paid but they are volunteering. At the end of the year we expect good results from these children forgetting that we once disrupted their schooling,” he said.

Some parents are calling on the education department to implement stringent measures and punish parents who disrupt schooling.

Metro North Education District circuit manager, Madoda Mahlutshana, visited the school on the same day and lambasted the parents whom he described as “irresponsible”.

Mr Mahlutshana said people needed to respect the rule of law and the rights of others as stipulated in the constitution, and called on parents to protect schools. “We need parents who are responsible. Let us build our schools and develop our children. We cannot wait for the government to do everything for us.

“You are the government. The governing body must discipline parents who are not disciplined. All I hope for is that the school will remain operational,” he said.

Mr Mahlutshana promised to visit the school again and check on its progress.