School governing body powers limited

DEAR Mr Francois Greyling, DA Councillor Ward 52, Despatch. Your letter published in The Herald on March 20 contains a number of facts that are incorrect.

1. The school governing body (SGB) of a school does not have the powers to hire and fire teachers and principals as stated in your letter.

The SGB as per the South African Schools Act (Sasa) gives certain powers to an SGB.

An SGB must recommend in an order of preference suitable candidates for a post after a shortlisting, interview and ratification process to the head of department of the Eastern Cape education department. The appointing authority is the head of department and this department head is also the employer.

2. The SGB can employ additional teachers to the approved staffing establishment of a school. In this instance the SGB is the employer and not the head of department.

3. The SGB has no powers to dismiss (hate the word fire) teachers employed by the department. This function as per the Employment of Educators Act (EEA) is delegated to the department.

Serious misconduct is dealt with by the department through a disciplinary hearing and less serious misconduct by the school principal in the form of a disciplinary meeting. Nowhere in either Sasa or the EEA is such function delegated to the SGB.

4. The SGB can initiate disciplinary proceedings only against teachers employed by the SGB.

5. When an SGB comes to the expulsion of pupils, it can make a recommendation to the MEC of education. Only the MEC has the powers to expel a pupil. A fair disciplinary hearing needs to take place and all alternatives to expulsion must be exhausted before such a recommendation can be made.

6. Also – the SGB can decide on an admission policy but the final decision on how many pupils can be admitted to a school is vested in the HOD.

7. There are a number of court cases that differ from the view you express regarding language of instruction, the culture of the school etc. These show your lack of knowledge regarding the role of SGBs and the consequences of decisions taken by the SGB that are against the defining principles of our constitution.

Please Mr Greyling, in future do some research before you wildly write letters in the newspapers containing incorrect facts. In many instances, due to a lack of knowledge like yours, SGBs want to take over the administrative role of the school principal.

SGBs are there to govern the school and the principal to manage. With the amendments to certain sections of Sasa, the principal is there to advise the SGB on how to effectively utilise the school funds.

Your letter creates a different perception, stating that they have sole responsibility over school finances etc.

-Anton Adams, senior executive officer, National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, Port Elizabeth office