Group protesting against principal refuses to meet MEC

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Herbert Matimba

MEMBERS of the Patriotic Association of South Africa (Pasa), who have been protesting in Nooordgesig against the appointment of a black principal to a local school, yesterday refused to meet Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to discuss the issue. The protesters claim that the “Bantu” principal who was appointed at Noordgesig Primary School was imposed on them.

This comes after they first declined to meet Lesufi on Tuesday on the grounds that he should meet them at the school. “It is unfortunate that some community members resort to disrupting schooling in resolving challenges. Disruption of school is detrimental to the education of our children and must be discouraged and condemned. Problems should rather be resolved through dialogue,” Lesufi said.

The purpose of the meeting which was rescheduled for yesterday at the school was for the MEC to interact and resolve the impasse regarding the appointment of the principal. Pasa sent correspondence to Lesufi saying they will meet him next year at the school. “The leadership of Noordgesig will meet the MEC on the first day of the new school year at the school. They decided that there will be no school until the disputes are settled. The roller coaster ride and lies peddled in the media is the reason why they will not talk today,” Pasa said.

The community held a protest on Friday, claiming that the decision to appoint a new black principal was imposed on them. “MEC Panyaza Lesufi publicly promised two years ago that the community of Noordgesig would choose their own principal. “He mentioned that this is against the normal practices and processes but he will make an exception,” Pasa leader Anthony Williams said.

The new principal was supposed to report for his first day of work on Friday after his predecessor was fired two years ago. Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the new principal was recommended by the school governing body but disgruntled parties rejected him because they preferred a coloured candidate who has been the acting principal at the school.

-Shonisani Tshikalange