Pupils go back to their classes

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Pupils went back to class at the troubled Mandlakayise Primary School in Inanda yesterday while their principal recovers in hospital.

Learning at the school came to a halt more than a month ago when school principal Frances Mthembu was reinstated at the school.

Twenty teachers immediately applied for special leave, asking that they be transferred to other schools because they were being "bullied and intimidated" by the principal and "receiving death threats".

Most teachers said they were witnesses against her in an internal disciplinary hearing that found her guilty and led to her being suspended for three months (without pay) in 2006.

She had been found guilty of accepting bribes when employing teachers.

Mthembu returned to her job in April this year after the department failed to move her to another school.

But a week ago she was shot 14 times while leaving her home in KwaMashu.

On Monday parents decided their children should continue with their school work though only a few teachers are at their posts.

School governing body chairman Bonginkosi Zulu said classes were combined to allow the five permanent teachers and a few volunteers to cope with the load of about 1500 pupils.

Zulu said parents were concerned that the issues that led to teachers going on protest were far from being resolved and that they were left with no choice but to take their children back to school.

Police spokesman Siwe Nxumalo said Mthembu had been transferred from the ICU to a general ward at a Durban hospital.

"She is stable, and we are hopeful that she will make it," he said.