Angry students want principal sacked and torch her office

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Angry students at Memezile High School in Sabie, outside White River in Mpumalanga, burnt their principal's office on Friday after two of their leaders were arrested by police for holding an illegal strike.

Last month, the students staged a protest against what they called "lack of management" by the principal, Memory Khoza. They called for her dismissal.

They also damaged school property and disrupted classes.

The provincial education department intervened and protest leaders were issued with a court interdict barring them from staging protests or intimidating teachers.

On Friday the same students protested again and vowed to disrupt classes until Khoza was fired.

Student leaders Glen Marimane and Paul Mogoshinyana were arrested for defying the court order.

Khoza had allegedly expelled students over the age of 19, saying they were too old for their classes.

The arrests angered other pupils and they set Khoza's office on fire.

Nicolas Nyalunga, 19, a grade 11 pupil who was one of five expelled because of their ages, said: "I want to be a match commentator, but won't be able achieve my dream without passing my matric.

"My principal is shattering that dream by preventing me from going to school," he said.

Hlahla Ngwenya of the Mpumalanga department of education said they could not understand why the students wanted Khoza fired.

"The department is satisfied with her performance," said Ngwenya

"Pupils should submit concrete reasons why they want her fired. So far they have failed to do so."

Ngwenya said older students, who had been expelled, had been recalled.

Marimane and Mogoshinyana yesterday appeared on charges of public violence, damage to property and contravention of a court interdict.

They were granted bail of R1000 each. They will appear in court again on April 10.