SCHOOL governing body members at Lingelihle Senior Secondary School in Ilinge have closed down the school as a sign of protest over the suspension of principal Sandile Mata by the education department. Mata was suspended on July 22 last year on allegations of assaulting a pupil. SGB deputy chairman Nontsikelelo Geja said his suspension had caused disruption in education at the school over the past six months.
She accused education department district director Nkosinathi Godlo of failing to resolve the matter.“We have been back and forth attending court meetings. On June 28, the Ezibeleni Magistrate’s Court said the case was withdrawn because there was no evidence. However, the department still suspended the principal. “We were told by Godlo that a provincial team would investigate Mata, but that never happened.”
She said the SGB wanted a report from the department on its internal investigations and the future of Mata at the school. “The department has kept us waiting for a long time. They must not report everything in detail to us, but we must at least be informed what is happening with the principal. “We decided in order for Godlo to pay attention, we would close the school gates.” When the Rep visited the school last week, pupils were walking around while the gates remained closed.
Noluvuyo Fatuse whose two children are in matric, said they were concerned. “The SGB closed the school saying they wanted the department to answer about the principal. We told them in a meeting it is wrong to close the school, but we also want the principal back because he has made a big difference. The pupils are roaming around, that is why the matric pass rate is dropping.”
Godlo said a meeting about the issue was scheduled for today. “It is illegal for the SGB to close the gates of a public institution and deny parents, teachers and pupils access to the school. I cannot comment about the principal, the matter is between the employer and the employee.”