Members of the School Governing Body (SGB) at Matimba Middle School in Mpumalanga have sought an urgent court order against their rebelling teachers. The Star has learnt that it has been a “disastrous” exam period for learners at the school, who were abandoned by their teachers at some stage.
The group of teachers allege that the principal is difficult to work with and that they are oppressed under her leadership. One of the teachers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the principal disrespects and insults them in staffroom meetings.
“She uses learners to administer marks, refuses to permit teachers to honour their doctor’s appointments, and organises thugs from the village to come and intimidate educators. She makes educators sign and issue report cards to parents without any single teacher ever having seen or signed any progression schedule as should be the case.”
Another teacher claimed that the principal created Grade 10 classes this year without following protocol or involving relevant structures. “As a result, teachers taught Grade 10 without any single textbook because the department was not aware of the existence of such a grade at our school.”
The school’s principal was allegedly suspended and reported to the district office. Her return to school during the final exams frustrated teachers as they staged a go-slow and called for the department’s intervention.
However, a member of the School Governing Body (SBG) Ashley Rantjie has now obtained an urgent court order instructing the teachers to carry out their duties at the school.
“The 10th to 36th (group of teachers) respondents are directed not to engage in illegal picketing during school hours and further directed not to cause any disruption of the running of Matimba Middle School, including the marking of examination scripts or papers at the school. ”
The court order further indicates that the province’s education MEC, Bonakele Majuba, should implement strategies and policies aimed at ensuring that the constitutional violation of rights of the learners and educators at the school are curbed.
SA Council for Educators (SACE) spokesperson, Themba Ndhlovu, said the allegations were investigated and that they did not find any evidence of learners capturing marks.
Ndhlovu said all other allegations were not brought to the attention of the SACE during the investigation but only mentioned for the first time during the mediation process.
“Council investigated the matter and instructed that mediation be conducted between the principal and the complainant.
“Mediation attempts were undertaken but they were not successful and the mediator advised that the employer, being the Mpumalanga Department of Education, be involved in the matter for intervention.”
Mpumalanga education spokesperson Jasper Zwane said the department was aware of the court application.
“Teachers who left their work station will be dealt with according to the Employment of Educators Act.”
Zwane added that the department had engaged relevant stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the impasse.
Sadtu provincial secretary Walter Hlaise said the union is aware of the matter.
“It has to do with the leadership of the school, these are staffroom problems which need the intervention of the Education Department.”