No school until security is beefed up

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Hopes that teaching at Mandlakayise Primary School would resume have been dashed yet again.

A teachers' union has refused to allow its members to return to the KwaZulu-Natal school until the department has beefed up security.

On Friday the task team investigating allegations of intimidation found that the teachers had legi- timate grievances.

The team recommended that teachers' applications for transfers be approved, but said they should go back to class until the department concludes the transfer process.

The teachers were prepared to return but the National Teachers Union (Natu) prevented their members from to going back until the department has secured the school.

Natu spokesman Musa Gumede yesterday said the union was pleased with the findings, but unhappy about sending their members back into an unsafe environment.

"There is not a single guard on duty," Gumede said. "The process of transferring teachers could take more than a month.

"We want the assurance that they will be safe until they are transferred to schools where they can teach without fear and intimidation."

The teachers downed tools more than two months ago, demanding to be transferred after principal Frances Mthembu was reinstated.

She was found guilty of accepting bribes for employing teachers and was suspended for three months.

She was reinstated after several attempts by the department to place her at other schools had failed.

Since Mthembu's return in March teachers have complained about death threats and being "bullied and victimised", allegedly by Mthembu.

Learning and teaching has been disrupted at the school ever since.

School governing body chairman Bonginkosi Zulu said they were disappointed that though the probe had been concluded, pupils would not be taught.

"We hoped that classes would resume today but we also feel teachers' demands for security are legitimate."

The department said it would respond after investigating.