Principal sentenced over strike chaos

Ntwaagae Seleka and Langelihle Chagwe

Ntwaagae Seleka and Langelihle Chagwe

The principal of Govan Mbeki Primary School in Orange Farm in the Vaal has been sentenced to 60 days in prison for slashing the school clerk's car tyres.

Sydney Kokoropo, 40, was sentenced with the option of paying a R4000 fine. However, the sentence was suspended for four years. He was also ordered to pay for the damage to the car.

Kokoropo was charged with malicious damage to property after he slashed the tyres of a car belonging to a clerk who did not go on strike during the countrywide public service wage strike early this year.

Magistrate Aniekie Pretorius ordered Kokoropo to pay R4700 damages in instalments of R500 a month starting from December 7.

The Nissan Navara car that Kokoropo damaged belonged to David Benyane, a clerk at the school. Pretorius said she decided to impose a suspended sentence because Kokoropo had no previous convictions.

She, however, said Kokoropo had committed a serious offence and needed to be punished.

A witness, Elias Mokoena, testified in September that on July 19 he saw Kokoropo among a group of protesters kneeling next to the left rear wheel of the car.

Mokoena said Kokoropo was carrying a sharp object which looked like a knife.

Convicting him, the magistrate said there was overwhelming evidence that he damaged the car. She said she had no alternative but to find him guilty.