Bringing in security to protect learners from racial insults not ideal but productive: MEC

Bringing in security personnel to protect learners who alleged they had been racially insulted by a handful of teachers at the Klipspruit West High School was not ideal but it was productive‚ said Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

He was answering questions by the SA Human Rights Commission on how his office handled the racism allegations which resulted in the disruption of the schools.

 “But how does a security company protect learners from insults?” asked Buang Jones‚ provincial manager of the SAHRC.

 “It may not be an ideal situation but it is back to normality in that school. Had the four or five teachers been taken out of the school‚ it would have paralysed the entire schooling‚” replied Lesufi.

 He said the community structures‚ teachers and affected parents had accepted the introduction of the security personnel as a temporary solution.

 Klipspruit West Secondary School in Eldorado Park made headlines after community members shut it down‚ rejecting its newly appointed black principal.

The community members demanded that a coloured principal be appointed. They also made accusations of financial mismanagement at the school.

An uproar erupted against five black teachers who besides allegedly insulting learners‚ were also accused of bunking classes.

 Lesufi said he simply could not dismiss those teachers as they needed to investigate the allegations.

 “Accusing someone doesn’t mean they are guilty‚” he said.

 Lesufi clarified issues around the appointment process which were used to select the principal who was later rejected by the community members.

“Do you have black principals in previously white areas? Do you have white principals in Soweto?” asked Jones.

 “I have got competent principals that are running schools in Gauteng‚” said Lesufi.

 He stressed that he did not want principals getting the impression that they were appointed on the basis of their skin colour.

Lesufi said they had a fair representation of race and gender in principals across the province but more could still be done.

 He said there were still schools where the entire learner population was black but the entire teacher population was white or vice versa.

 This was something he was trying to dissolve as he encouraged transformation in the schooling system.

 He rejected claims that he had not properly attended to the Klipspruit West school issues‚ saying he had been there 18 times since the issues first surfaced.

 Meanwhile‚ the issue of the principal had since been escalated to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

 She had since suggested that a retired judge should be assigned to deal with the matter as an independent body.