Security guards lock classrooms

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Two security guards yesterday locked teachers and students out of classrooms at Lamontville High School over a pay dispute.

Now parents are angry about the situation at the school and have demanded an urgent meeting with the school governing body, the principal and the Education Department.

A meeting was due to take place last night.

Mlungisi Ngema said his colleague and he decided to lock the school gates because they could not tolerate "exploitation" any longer.

He claimed none of the other security guards at Lamontville were paid for their services.

"Five people are working at the school - two at the gates and three inside the school - but no one was paid last month and we feel this is an insult.

"Some of us were supposed to get our wages on the 15th of last month, and some at the end of the month, but it did not happen," said Ngema.

He said when they approached the principal about their wages, he referred them to the governing body. However, the parents' committee sent them back to the principal.

"One of the guards was only paid R300 instead of R1200 and we were told there was no money available because the pupils had not paid their school fees.

"But that is not our problem.

"We are working here and if we leave the school unattended, it would be a big problem," said Ngema.

He warned that they would lock the school again today - and would continue doing so until the matter was resolved.

Mabongi Khoza, chairman of the governing body, said a meeting was due last night.

Ayanda Mabaso, chairman of the pupils' representative council, accused the principal, Mduduzi Sithole, of shutting the school. She said though the security guards had locked the gates, it was Sithole who had told the pupils to go home.

She alleged he told pupils to only return when they had paid their school fees.

Sithole refused to comment.

Ntokozo Maphisa, spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal's Education Department, said it was "unfortunate" classes were disrupted.

"However, we believe the matter will be resolved and we are expecting all pupils back at school on Friday," said Maphisa.

Most teachers and pupils at Lamontville simply took the day off and left.

Others lolled about enjoying the warm weather and relaxed in the sunny schoolyard. Other pupils sat under the trees and played card games.