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‘Harties no Place for Thieves’: Toekies community outraged as principal returns from suspension

The principal of Hartzstraat Primary School who was suspended for three months last year got a cold reception from the community when he returned to the school on March 1.

Toekomsrus residents, many of them parents, picketed outside Hartzstraat Primary School on Tuesday morning, March 1, demanding the removal of the principal.

Their message was clear … “We don’t want him anymore, we want another principal,” said Maritza Moalaha.

This came after the principal returned to the school on March 1, after he was suspended for three months last year. His suspension pertains to the new classroom block at the school.

The Herald found tyres, rocks and logs blocking roads, with some protesters carrying placards that read, ‘Harties no Place for Thieves’.

Despite the commotion outside the school premises caused by those who were angry and emotional, lessons were not interrupted.

Grant Petersen speaking during the protests at Hartzstraat Primary School. Photo: Tumi Riba.

Based on what the Herald was told on scene, allegations against the principal included corruption, nepotism, bullying and unduly expelling learners from the school, with some of the latter having become drug addicts as a result of spending too much time on the streets.

George Zaeglaar, another community members complained that when general worker vacancies at the school were filled, some people were overlooked as only those related to the principal were hired.

Even for the new building at the school they awarded tenders to those who weren’t qualified,” Zaeglaar alleged.

The protesters also demanded that the school governing body (SGB) be disbanded, but when asked for evidence to substantiate their demands, they could not provide any to the Herald.

However, the Herald is in possession of a memorandum signed by 41 teachers at the school.

Picketers outside Hartzstraat Primary School. Photo: Tumi Riba.

Speaking to the angry residents and on behalf of the Gauteng West District circuit manager, Leonard Seopesengwe said after his suspension had ended, the principal was indeed scheduled to resume his duties on March 1.

“We’ve already obtained enough information, but all we need to do is to process the information through corrections, investigations and steps that must be taken if they’re warranted. Our role here is to represent the state and we should stand by the commitment of the government to give you what you deserve.

Anything that is disturbing the smooth running of education must be eliminated, so that the school must run normal,” Seopesengwe said.

He urged the parents not to traumatise the learners, but to discuss the process of resolving matters with the objective of a positive outcome.

Officials from the Gauteng Department of Education District office will meet with the community soon, but the date is still to be announced.

Some of the protesters claimed to be parents, while others were members of the community. Photo: Tumi Riba.

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