MEC rings the changes at Alberton school to get teachers back in class

Panyaza Lesufi has taken action at a school in Alberton, where divisions among staff have seen pupils missing classes.
Panyaza Lesufi has taken action at a school in Alberton, where divisions among staff have seen pupils missing classes.
Image: VATHISWA RUSELO

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Tuesday ordered a principal of a primary school in Alberton, Ekurhuleni, to attend a diversity and social cohesion course for three months.

This was one of a number of decisions that Lesufi made as he sought to restore order to Glenview Primary School, where 20 teachers did not go to work for more than 10 days last month.

The absence of the teachers resulted in children being largely unattended in the last few days of the first term of school. The children did not receive their report cards at the end of term.

There were also complaints that school principal Tommie Stoltz was allegedly abusive towards teachers of different races.

Complaints were also raised against head of department for the foundation phase, Denise Potgieter. She allegedly inflicted corporal punishment on a pupil and illegally shared an examination paper with a grade two class.

Lesufi spent four hours at the school on Tuesday, where he met Stoltz and had separate meetings with all staff and the school governing body (SGB).

“All of us agreed that there is a crisis in this school. It cannot be normal that 20-odd teachers take sick leave at the same time.

“It cannot be normal that there are divisions in the SGB. It cannot be normal that there are endless accusations against the principal. It cannot be normal that the teachers threaten to attack other teachers,” Lesufi told parents at the school on Tuesday evening.

Lesufi said his decisions were in the best interests of the children.

“It was completely unacceptable that children were left unattended,” he said.

Lesufi said Stoltz would be sent to a diversity and social cohesion course and an acting principal would be appointed for the period.

“We don’t have to destroy him. We have to build him,” Lesufi said.

Lesufi said Potgieter was charged on Tuesday morning and disciplinary action would be taken against her.

There were moves to transfer her to the district office until the disciplinary action against her was finalised, he added.

Lesufi said the 20 teachers had been asked to give reasons for their absence.

He said letters would be sent to members of the school governing body on Wednesday informing them that their term as members had ended.

Lesufi said all pupils would receive their report cards on Friday and a programme would be implemented to ensure pupils caught up on the time lost during the teachers’ absence.

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