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The Mpumalanga department of education is to institute disciplinary action against 17 teachers who objected to the alleged irregular appointment of a deputy principal at their school.
The disgruntled teachers from Isifisosethu Secondary School in Siyathemba, Balfour, wrote to the department threatening to resign from their posts if the appointment of Nthabeleng Mokoena, allegedely a family friend of principal Oupa Bodibe, was not annulled by the end of this month.
They also boycotted last Friday's meeting called by the school governing body (SGB) to introduce Mokoena as their new deputy head.
Department spokesman Jasper Zwane said the teachers' action was illegal and it had directed Gert Sibande regional director to "immediately institute disciplinary measures against these educators".
He said the department wanted to "send a strong message to the 17 educators that it will not tolerate their illegal conduct" and that "they will further not be paid for the number of days on which they were not at work".
Refuting claims by the teachers that they were not afforded a platform to raise their concerns, Zwane said local circuit manager PP Mthombeni "did everything possible to apprise these educators of the processes of filling vacant posts and to address their concerns".
The teachers claimed Bodibe had the post tailor-made for his friend's wife and that other candidates were ignored. Her name was mentioned before the post was advertised, staff said.
They said they followed the right procedures and decided to petition the head office because the authorities were about to announce her appointment, despite their objections.
Chairman of the SGB, Twana Nhlapo, said he would only be able to discuss the crisis "after our SGB meeting and parents meeting on Sunday".