'She took our school's cash'
THE parents of pupils at a Pretoria High School are planning to march to the MEC's offices to demand the removal of the chairwoman of the school governing body (SGB), whom they accuse of intimidating the principal, buying liquor on the school's account and mismanaging funds.
The parents accuse SGB chairwoman Motlalepule Mabena of bullying Mamelodi High School principal Daisy Phahlane, blowing R5,000 on liquor, using the school's petty cash for her personal needs and R7,000 disappearing from the school account.
The parents plan to march to the MEC for education and the national department of education's offices to demand Mabena and SGB secretary Rachael Qambela 's removal.
The angry parents said numerous letters were written to the department of education to complain about Mabena's misuse of school's funds to buy alcohol, to entertain district institutional development and support officers (IDSOs).
The parents decided on the march at a meeting held last Thursday. They will meet tomorrow to decide on the actual date of the march.
The parents say the problem escalated in September at a parents' meeting after Mabena - who has been the chairwoman of the SGB since 2008 - was re-elected in April.
The parents agreed to appoint a task team chaired by Herbert Mabuza to investigate the allegations.
Mabuza said the team found that the chairwoman was "unreliable". They claim that Mabena forced the school principal to co-sign a R5 000 cheque, which was used to buy alcohol at a school year-end party for the staff and IDSOs.
"We also found that she coerced the principal into signing numerous cheques against her will since 2011.
"She spent R500 that was meant for the school petty cash for her personal use," Mabuza said.
"We also found that an amount of R7,000 had disappeared from the school's account under her leadership. She also forced the principal to sign a R10,000 cheque to buy golf shirts for fund-raising, but some of the money was never recovered.
"The department's failure to attend to the issues raised has worsened the situation."
Dan Masangu, a parent at the school, said he supported the march. "unless she (Mabena) is bold enough to come forward and clear her name".
Another parent Msongelwa Mnisi, said: "The department is not acting. It seems marching is the only language our government understands."
Mabena has denied all the allegations against her.
"I am aware of the allegations against me and they are all lies. That group of parents are being lied to by the principal because she knows how much I have on her, including theft of school money. She is using them to protect herself. Thousands of rands went missing from the school account and she knows I know.
"She went behind my back on several occasions to sign cheques that I knew nothing about. The chequebook stays in her handbag. I do not honeymoon with the principal. I can account for every cheque I signed."
Added Mabena: "I approved the R5,000 for the party with the principal, I was not aware that they were going to buy alcohol. Yes I cashed the R500 for petty cash and I gave it back to the principal but she did not record it in the books.
"She is playing monkey games, I do not steal money, I donate money to the school instead. The R10,000 was for the matric T-shirts. Unfortunately the service provider delayed in printing them and I personally asked the provider to pay back the money.''