Durban pupils break school windows and burn dustbins in anti-principal protest

CHAOS reigned at an Umlazi high school in Durban when angry pupils went on the rampage on Friday morning, damaging school windows in protest against the appointment of a new principal.

Pupils took to the streets on Friday morning in Umlazi, south Durban, allegedly over the appointment of the new King Shaka High School principal Picture: THULI DLAMINI

King Shaka High School’s mission to teach pupils self-discipline was thrown out of the window as pupils burned dustbins as part of their outrage at the new principal whom they want to be replaced by the former principal. A large contingent of police were dispatched to the school in the township’s E-section to contain the volatile situation.

When TimesLIVE arrived at the school, a large group of pupils were still protesting outside while police kept a close watch.

Police later ordered them to leave the premises of the 51-year-old school and they dispersed in different directions. The names of the current principal and the previous principal could not be immediately established.

Learning has been suspended until Monday. None of the pupils approached were willing to talk about the protest.

King Shaka was established by the Department of Education in 1966 and its mission is to teach self-discipline, motivate pupils to be industrious, assertive and co-operative, with high self-esteem.

It is part of Adopt-a-School – a project of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation established in 2002 which strives to address the inequalities and inadequacies in rural and disadvantaged schools.

King Shaka was established by the Department of Education in 1966 and its mission is to teach self-discipline, motivate pupils to be industrious, assertive and co-operative, with high self-esteem

Umlazi SAPS operational commander Captain Musa Ngwane, who was at the protest, said the chaos started around 9am and pupils had thrown stones, damaging a number of windows.

He said they were informed that they were protesting against a change of the principal.

“As part of solving this problem because we want our pupils to learn and we also want the teachers to be safe and the school structure to be safe, I tried to call the circuit office. I had hope that they would send the principal but were told that they were busy engaged in a meeting and they sent the deputy principal to the circuit office to try and resolve the problem,” he said.

He said the deputy principal decided to release pupils and promised to give them feedback on Monday.

“We’re hopeful that this problem will be resolved,” said Ngwane.

KwaZulu-Natal education spokesman Scelo Khuzwayo condemned the pupils’ behaviour and urged them not to resort to violence when they have any grievances.

“The department’s door is always open and we urge the pupils to register their concerns with the department rather than rushing to violence. As the department we’re always there to intervene in a manner that does not cause disruption to teaching and learning,” he said.

BONGANI MTHETHWA and LWANDILE BHENGU

TimesLIVE/

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