School standoff is still unresolved

Canaan Mdletshe and Sne Masuku

Canaan Mdletshe and Sne Masuku

It is uncertain if classes at Qantayi Secondary School in Port Dunford, near Richards Bay on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, will resume this week after a parents' meeting yesterday failed to find a solution to the pupils' unrest there.

The meeting between parents, teacher unions and education authorities was called after pupils went on the rampage two weeks ago and vandalised classrooms, forcing teachers and the principal to flee.

The school was shut down indefinitely.

On Friday Sowetan reported that the pupils had begged their teachers to return to school to resume classes.

Yesterday the National Teachers Union (Natu) said their members would only return when their safety was guaranteed. Teachers did not attend yesterday's meeting because they feared for their safety.

During the heated meeting, attended by more than 500 parents, it was concluded that a final meeting would be held today between a local community policing forum, teacher unions, teachers and education authorities.

Clement Mngomezulu, chairman of the school governing body, said though yesterday's meeting failed to come up with solutions, he was convinced today's would yield results.

"The parents apologised on behalf of their children and clearly they are concerned about the future of pupils," he said.

Musa Gumede of Natu said: "The fact that parents have promised that everything would go accordingly gives us hope that the situation might be back to normal soon."