Several people were injured during a protest which turned violent at Noordgesig Primary School in Soweto yesterday.
Police dispersed a crowd of parents and community members with rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas after some of them burnt tyres, blocked roads and threw rocks into the street. It was also alleged that some police officers were using live ammunition after one protester was rushed to hospital with a severe arm injury, which some witnesses believed was the result of a bullet.
Parents and community members were up in arms over several issues, including the appointment of a new principal. This has been an ongoing issue after his appointment last year, with parents accusing government of overlooking coloured candidates in favour of black candidates for the position, including the former acting principal, Colleen Gill. A parent, Anthony Williams, said the interference of unions has led to an unfair and irregular process which saw Gill, who was acting in the position for two years, overlooked.
He said the new principal was known to have been abusive to pupils at another school and parents would not allow teaching to resume until this was resolved.
“The real issue is that the process of his appointment has a lot of irregularities. The process was hidden from us … The law stipulates that if a teacher is appointed in an acting position for more than 18 months, they should get that position.” Parents were also lamenting the fact that government was overdue to rebuild the asbestos-roofed school.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi did not reply to questions sent to him by The Citizen nor did he answer phone calls.