No principal for eight years

WE WANT A LEADER: Pupils protest outside the Moses Mabida Secondary School in Kirkwood yesterday, calling for the appointment of a principal. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

Gareth Wilson

A GROUP of Kirkwood pupils protested at their school yesterday, saying their poor matric pass rate was the result of a lack of leadership.

About 500 pupils locked the gates to Moses Mabhida Secondary and burnt tyres.

The school has been without a permanent principal for eight years. Pupil Thembelethu Nyati, 18, said the school’s 30% pass rate was a direct result of this lack of leadership.

“We need a principal to take control of this school. The students and the student governing body (SGB) have made numerous requests to the Education Department to appoint a principal, but we cannot get answers.”

SGB chairman Andile Maloni said: “This has been coming for a while. The students are fed up and want answers. I am here to calm the situation but, in all honesty, this is the only way pupils can get answers.”

DA MPL Dacre Haddon called on Education MEC Mandla Makupula to take “urgent steps to stop the revolt”.

“We must ensure that we provide our children with a learning environment where they can grow in order to take advantage of job opportunities. Job opportunities must be accessible for all, not just the connected few.

“I have been informed that teachers and community members have forced learners to participate in a protest during school hours,” he said.

“It is unacceptable that unhappiness around the appointment of a principal is being voiced in this manner.”

Department spokesman Malibongwe Mtima promised the department would appoint a permanent principal in the new financial year, which starts in April.

Police said the protest was peaceful. There were no arrests.