Cape Town pupils at Dr Nelson Mandela High protest
While the nation celebrated former leader Nelson Mandela's birthday on Wednesday, pupils at a Cape Town school named after him had a lot less to cheer about, the Congress of SA Students said.
"No learning is happening here today. The pupils are doing a stay-away because their principal returned to school on Monday after claims of maladministration and corruption," Cosas provincial secretary Samkelo Mqomboti said.
Around 2500 pupils of the Dr Nelson Mandela High in Crossroads milled around corridors and outside classrooms, refusing to be taught.
Mqomboti said they were doing their best to make sure violence did not erupt, after a previous protest in March left facilities in flames and the automated gate off its hinges.
The pupils were unhappy with the way principal Linda Mnothoza was running the school, claiming they were asked to pay a R100 deposit for textbooks, when the facility was a "no-fee" school.
A member of the school's pupil committee, who did not want to be named, told Sapa corporal punishment was still in existence.
"There are beatings with a stick, on the hands. The school was like a dictatorship for the previous years and the other participating governing bodies did nothing. The principal was basically the governing body," he said.
The boy said he was sure Mandela would be proud of the pupils's protest action.
"He would be happy because he's a freedom fighter. We're fighting for our rights again."
The school and education department were not immediately available for comment.