Teachers at Luleka Primary School in Khayelitsha say a group of protesters claiming to be parents beat them in front of learners and forced them to leave the school premises. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning.
“I did not ask questions; I parked my car outside school premises,” said Gxono.
While she and other teachers waited outside the school, the principal arrived with an official from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). When the school principal called the teachers to return to school, they were beaten.
Another teacher, Ntombizandile Tapa, said protesters pulled her by the hair and kicked her. She said she fell to the ground.
“I feel so embarrassed being attacked in front of my students,” she said.
When GroundUp arrived, community members were blocking the school gate. Someone shouted, “You missed the real action, we beat some of the teachers. One was even kicked down.”
The school gate was locked. A police officer was standing behind it. Executive members of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) were also prevented from entering the school.
The group outside the gates called the learners and told them to sing. Only a few joined the protest. Some learners sat down on the road and some continued playing.
Learners protest against the protest
Parents said a car had driven around Harare on Monday night calling all young people to meet at Luleka. But it was clear that most people were not even aware what exactly the protest was about.
Protesters steadily left in small numbers until after two hours there were around a dozen left. Then things changed. Learners started singing, demanding an end to the protest. They shouted: “Mayiphele lento sifuna ukufunda”, meaning : “This must end, we want to study”.
The learners’ small protest ended when some parents threatened to beat them.
But one learner replied, “That has nothing to do with us.”
Allegations against principal
Community leader Nomnikelo Ntshiba claimed the bridge project had been shelved when Mthoba returned money which had been earmarked for the bridge, saying that there was no space to build a bridge.
Education department responds
She said district officials met with community members, the governing body and the principal.
“Community members demanded the removal of the school principal and the caretaker. Their grievances include allegations that the governing body is dysfunctional as well as claims of maladministration,” she said.
Merton said an agreement was reached that the claims would be investigated and that the principal and caretaker would be allowed to continue to perform their duties.
District officials will return to the school on Thursday.
The school was operating normally on Wednesday.
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