Teachers at Khanya Primary in Portlands, Mitchells Plain held an education official hostage for over two hours to demand a more senior official deal with their grievances.
They say they are frustrated over a string of burglaries and the allegedly tardiness by authorities in dealing with it.
Circuit manager for institutional management and governance, Reggie Dreyer, called at the schoolon Tuesday after he received a letter from the staff requesting a meeting about the burglaries. But a group of teachers locked him in the principal’s office and demanded Education Department director Eugene Daniels come to meet them.
While the drama was unfolding, staff members and parents protested outside the school gates with posters stating: “We are sick and tired of burglary” and “We need our own school”.
They demanded Daniels visit the school and attend to their “gripes” himself. When Daniels arrived two hours later, Dreyer was released.
They were not violent at all and kept apologising for what they did,” Dreyer said.
Teachers were frustrated with the conditions they were forced to work in and he understood why they had locked him up, he said. “There has already been six burglaries at the school this year. We already had to give them R49 000 to replace the toilet and then another R58 000 to fix what was damaged by the break-in earlier this month.”
Sharon Dudumashe, a Grade 2 teacher and foundation phase co-ordinator at Khanya said they had wanted Daniels to come to their school to sort out their grievances.
“We as the teachers at Khanya Primary decided enough was enough. When we heard Mr Dreyer was coming, we decided to lock him up in the office.
“There have been too many burglaries and vandalism at this school and we can’t afford it any longer.”
Education officials and the school’s governing body held a one-hour meeting after Dreyer was released to tackle challenges at the school. Daniels said the incident was a miscommunication and plans were made to aid the school where possible.
“The main gripe brought up in the meeting was that they want the school in their own area which is Samora Machel. With the help of the local councillor to fast-track the process, Khanya has been placed at the top of the list for land acquisitions.
“At the moment the school has two different alarm companies. One that monitors and the other comes out to respond. This will be done away with. We intend to keep track on the bus service that transports (pupils) as there were complaints around that as well.”
Daniels said the department would give the school R6 000 monthly to aid in the security of the school.
This was the third building Khanya has been forced to move to since it was founded in 2004. It split from Naluxolo Primary in Samora Machel due to the school’s quick growth.
The majority of the staff and pupils at the school are from Samora Machel near Philippi and hoped to get a building closer to the area.