Parents lock principal out of school
Willowfontein Intermediate school is in a dire state and issues are not being addressed, say community members
Parents barred school principal Fanyana Mnguni from the premises of Willowfontein Intermediate school, Pietermaritzburg, on Monday morning.
Parents say they want the school toilets unblocked and the school fixed.
Willowfontein has about 980 learners from grade R to grade 12.
A parent who asked not to be named said there had been discussions with principal Mnguni for years. “There have been no developments at all,” said the parent. “Things are getting worse … The school is not clean at all.”
Most classrooms do not have doors. Many windows are broken. In some classrooms, the ceilings are broken. Toilets have been vandalised and learners use newspaper instead of toilet paper.
A parent expressed concern about learners hiding “weapons” in the broken ceiling and drug use at the school.
Simo Simelane, one of the protesters, said, “We have had over five meetings with the principal. Last year, the main issue was the toilets. Boy learners had no toilets at all. The girls had two working toilets … Classrooms have electricity plugs that are not covered. Learners might get electrocuted. The electricity cables are hanging in classrooms. The school is dirty. Nothing is in a normal state in the school.”
Simelane said on Monday the community had taken a decision to come to the school. “We wanted to talk to the principal outside the school because he threatens us when we are inside the school premises. The school needs to be in a good state for learning. We are going to meet parents to discuss a way forward. It’s clear that the principal is failing,” said Simelane.
Repeated attempts by GroundUp to reach Mnguni were unsuccessful.
KwaZulu-Natal education department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the district had been asked to look into the matter. He did not respond when asked whether Willowfontein would be included in the department budget of 2020-21.
He said it was of concern when communities had an issue with one individual and closed the school to dictate terms to the department. “This culture is dangerous because their children learn from them and in future they will do this, and they would have been the best teachers of bad behaviour,” said Mahlambi.
The School Governing Body chairperson did not respond to GroundUp.
The principal has now returned to school and teaching continues.
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