Teacher, teacher where art thou?

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Grade 12 pupils at Madulini High in Bulwer, southern KwaZulu-Natal, have been without their principal and five teachers for the past three months.

The teachers, who include principal Delisile Ngcobo, apparently abandoned their posts after the students protested against her authoritarian rule.

Yesterday a parent of one of the pupils, Mandlakhe Dlamini, told Sowetan that all the parents felt "helpless".

He said the students had initially protested against Ngcobo and one other teacher. They accused Ngcobo of running the school with an "iron fist" and alleged she had forced them to lie about male teachers so that she could fire them.

The students claim that after Ngcobo fired seven teachers, she did not replace any of them.

It is believed the teachers used the students "to fight their internal political battles at the school".

After the protest Ngcobo left the school premises and was followed by five other teachers, who supported her.

"The children are suffering. It's clear that they are not going to be able to write final year exams," said Dlamini.

Acting principal Thembelihle Shezi said the school was now left with six teachers who had to teach more than 400 pupils. She said the matter was reported to the department of education three months ago.

The electricity has been switched off apparently because the former principal had refused to sign the cheque to pay the electricity bill, citing that she was "expelled' from the school.

The provincial department of education was not available for comment.