Trouble at special school

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

The troubled Mpumalanga school for children with special needs is in the news again.

Platorand Special School in Belfast, Mpumalanga, hogged the headlines in the past three years for serious allegations of mismanagement and misconduct by pupils and some senior staff members, including former principal Andrew Dick Watts. Watts resigned in December.

Hardly a month into his new post, Velaphi July Matshika, who was appointed acting principal early this month, is already at loggerheads with members of the School Governing Body (SGB).

Only a handful of SGB members have attended his meetings at the school so far.

Hlahla Ngwenya, spokesman for Mpumalanga education MEC Siphosezwe Masango, yesterday confirmed Watts' resignation and Matshika's appointment as acting principal.

Ngwenya also confirmed the lack of cooperation by the SGB. Matshika said SGB members opposed his appointment, saying he was imposed on them by the department of education.

Matshika told Sowetan that the majority of members of the SGB also boycotted a December 18 meeting convened by the department to discuss his appointment.

They also ignored a call by the department to convene on January 3 when all members were expected to attend.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a member of the SGB said that Matshika was imposed on them.

"We requested the department to concentrate on investigating allegations of misconduct against Watts. They ignored our plea and went ahead and appointed [Matshika]," she said.

The department suspended Watts in February last year but delayed the internal investigations into allegations of misconduct and mismanagement of funds until December, when Watts resigned.