Irate pupils stone teachers

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The headmaster and four department of education officials were injured yesterday when students of Ubuhlebomzinyathi High School in Newcastle, pelted them with stones and damaged teachers' vehicles.

The police, who were called in to disperse the pupils, were also attacked. One pupil was arrested.

Pupils saw red when principal Nokuthula Gloria Madlala was reinstated after they had accused her of practising witchcraft.

She was forced to leave in 2006. Madlala was, however, escorted to school by education officials yesterday.

A teacher said: "When the pupils saw her they went crazy and started assaulting her and the officials. They threw stones at them and also damaged vehicles."

A member of the school governing body managed to calm down the angry pupils.

the students were sent home and only matriculants stayed behind to write their accounting examination.

Another teacher said they were grateful that the incident had not disrupted the matric exams.

"The incident happened at about 7.30am," the teacher said. "The police were called in and pupils were dismissed before the Grade 12s started writing."

Police spokesman Captain Shooz Magudulela said four injured education officials were treated at a local clinic and seven vehicles were damaged.

An ex-pupil was arrested.

Police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property and of assault.

National Teachers Union spokesman Allen Thompson blamed the provincial education department for failing to sort out issues of intimidation.

"Parents and communities kick out teachers as they please and intimidate them," Thompson said.

"There is a long list of teachers who are not at schools because of years of intimidation and the department does nothing about it."

Department spokesman Mbali Thusi had not responded by the time of going to print.