teachers off hook

A LIMPOPO school principal has been forced to withdraw a R600000 lawsuit against 12 colleagues.

This happened after Mashau Thenga was found to have ignored the school's management policy. He was forced to withdraw the law- suit on Monday after a meeting with the department.

Thenga, the principal of Vhafamadi High School in HaMashau village outside Thohoyandou, had instituted a lawsuit against 12 teachers, demanding R50 000 from each of them over allegations of character assassination.

The lawsuit stems from a letter the teachers wrote to the provincial department of education expressing their dissatisfaction over Thenga's conduct.

But the response came back with letters of demand after Thenga accused the teachers of defaming him.

The teachers told Sowetan that they were dissatisfied with the manner in which Thenga was running the school because he was allegedly excluding them from matters that affected the school and their future.

On Monday the department reportedly ordered Thenga to withdraw the lawsuit, saying his action was against the labour relations requirements.

Thenga appeared before the disciplinary committee to explain why he chose to engage his lawyer on matters that were workplace-related.

He claimed that the teachers had tarnished his image when they reported him to the department.

But the department insisted that Thenga had gone too far by engaging his lawyers on the matter.

Vhembe district manager for the department of education Gerson Rammbwana said they had intervened to resolve the dispute because they "wanted stability at the school".

When contacted for comment yesterday, Thenga hung up his phone on hearing that it was the reporter calling.