By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education:
The Democratic Alliance calls on the department of Education to provide clarity regarding the apparent appointment of a permanent principal at the Hoër Landbouskool. The appointment is questionable at best and shows that the department rewards principals for bad behavior with promotions. At a time when the school needs stability, the department chooses to introduce even more uncertainty.
Despite the fact that the post is yet to be advertised, a former teacher from the Hoër Landbouskool has been transferred from his current position in the North West and the community has been informed that his new appointment at the Landbouskool is permanent. This is a sudden departure from the previous stance that the post would be advertised in March 2016 with an eye to filling the vacancy permanently in June 2016.
Last year, a grade 12 learner at the school laid a case of sexual harassment against this same teacher. He had demanded that she must stay after school to complete an assignment, insisted that they remain in a closed room and then attempted to kiss and fondle her.
The fact that the department now chooses to reward the teacher by promoting him to principal raises grave concerns about their seriousness for the safety of our children. Why is someone who attacks a learner allowed to remain in contact with children and not removed from his position of authority until the investigation into his reprehensible conduct is completed?
With this devil-may-care attitude, it is no surprise that the Anti-Bullying and the Anti-Teenage Pregnancy Campaigns from the department has come to nothing in the past year.
The department must come clean on why no teacher at the school, including the staff who acted as principal, have been given an opportunity to apply for the post and why they favoured an individual with a very dubious background.
We have also been told that the former principal of the school, who left under a cloud of financial mismanagement and maladministration, will be appointed as an area manager for the Z.F. Mcgawu district.
What message is the department sending to the people of the Northern Cape?
Instead of rewarding poor performance and bad behavior, the department should be entirely focused on improving the conditions at the school.
The school has had a very tumultuous year and the sooner competent hands take the reins, the better.