School doors still shut 2 weeks after protest

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Pupils at Qantayi Secondary School in northern KwaZulu-Natal are still sitting at home after their school was shut down two weeks ago.

This was after about 200 pupils broke windows and overturned principal Michael Manzi's car because he had cancelled a sporting excursion to a nearby school. When the police arrived, they were also attacked. Qantayi, outside Richards Bay, was closed as a temporary measure, but two weeks later there are still no teachers or pupils.

A pupil, who wanted to remain anonymous, yesterday said pupils became furious when the principal turned away the taxis that had come to take them to Mdondokuhle Secondary School in nearby Manguzi.

"We had already paid R8 for the trip and were supposed to leave after break, but when the taxis arrived, the principal chased them away, saying we can only go after school. It did not make any sense because if we left late, we would not have been able to play at night," she said.

She said when they questioned Manzi about his sudden change of plans, he told them that they were at school to learn and not to play.

A meeting with parents is scheduled for Sunday, but pupils said they would not return as long as Manzi is principal.

Christi Naude, provincial Education Department spokesman, confirmed that the school was still closed. She said teachers were afraid to return to school.

"The department will provide counselling and psychological support to teachers to overcome their traumatic experience. A management plan to repair window panes and other damage will be submitted this week. School management, the school governing body and the representative council of pupils will also submit a plan to cover work that pupils missed. We are positive that school will resume on 12 March. The investigation will continue after school has resumed," said Naude