'We want principal back'

TODAY marks the fourth day of no schooling at Kiba Mahlathi High School in Giyani, where pupils are boycotting classes to protest against the appointment of a new school principal.

TODAY marks the fourth day of no schooling at Kiba Mahlathi High School in Giyani, where pupils are boycotting classes to protest against the appointment of a new school principal.

Pupils have boycotted classes since Monday after the Limpopo department of education announced the appointment of principal, Rhulani Chauke.

He was introduced to the school by the school management to take over from William Malatji, who had been acting as principal since July last year.

But pupils want Malatji to be appointed to the position permanently. They are supported by the school governing body (SGB), which had recommended Malatji ahead of other applicants.

Malatji has failed to report for duty since Chauke's arrival on Monday. Since his absence pupils have gone on the rampage. They have closed the school gates and are demanding to know why Malatji is not at school.

Chauke and the teachers have been reporting to school every day but they have had no pupils to teach since all the pupils have stayed away.

"We trust in Malatji and believe he could take this school to another level," SGB secretary Wilson Rikhotso said yesterday.

"He has proven to us that he is a dedicated teacher who has over five months improved the culture of learning and teaching at our school.

"Children have started to be disciplined and wear their school uniforms every day," he said.

"Teachers and children come to school on time and leave at the required time. Our matric performance has also improved.

"How can we let a man of his quality leave us at the time we need him most?"

Ntsako Tshabalala, a Grade 12 pupil at the school, said the pupils were not ready to go back to school as their favourite teacher has not returned.

She said some pupils were even prepared to drop out if Malatji did not return.

Department of education spokesperson Ndo Mangala said it was "pathetic" for school pupils to intervene in the appointment of educators when they should be in the classroom learning.

"It is clear that these children are being used by someone," he said.

Mangala said the department would send officials to the school to speak to parents and pupils to try to resolve the matter amicably for all concerned.

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