Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Parents of learners at Klipspruit West Secondary School demanded to invigilate their children’s examinations and also “beat up black teachers” if their children failed‚ the South African Human Rights Commission heard on Friday.

“We decided that‚ on the day when we issue reports‚ we should not come to school because we will be assaulted by parents who want to know why their children are not passing‚” said Desmond Luvhengo‚ a former teacher at the school in the south of Johannesburg. “It is also normal for parents to demand to invigilate exams. They would demand it‚ saying that it is their school. This was allowed by the deputy principal.”

He was testifying before the commission in his capacity as the chairperson of the South African Democratic Teachers Union’s (Sadtu) Eldorado branch. The commission is investigating the alleged racial uproar that has disrupted the school.

“It is not easy for one to work in that area‚” Luvhengo said‚ adding that the education department had even spoken of arranging psychological counseling for black teachers in the area.

Luvhengo painted a grim picture of the school‚ where community members shut the gates after rejecting its newly appointed black principal. The community was allegedly demanding that a coloured principal be appointed instead.

On Thursday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said community members who shut the school gates had stuck placards on the gates, reading‚ “This is a coloured area”, “We are not racist”, and‚ “We want a coloured principal”.

Luvhengo said black teachers were simply not recognised at the school. “I was once assaulted by a learner but the school governing body (SGB) did nothing to protect me. They instead went to complain that I refused to teach a learner and they [protested] against me.”

He said the SGB simply didn’t know its responsibilities. “There was a time when the SGB was standing at the gate‚ telling teachers they are late and questioning them why they are dressed like this. It is like they [did not know] their role.”

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