KZN Education MEC reads riot act to ‘stabbing’ school
KZN Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane’s inner teacher came out as he read the riot act on Monday to staff and pupils at Masakhaneni Secondary School‚ which was closed after two pupils were stabbed to death last week.
Factions within the staff body - and students falling into these opposing camps – have contributed to the rot at the KwaMakhuta school.
At a community meeting‚ Dlungwane dressed down “disrespectful and ill-disciplined” learners – ejecting several children from the hall for speaking while he was giving his address.
Staff alike had drawn his ire‚ with the politician promising sweeping changes to the school’s management and staff complement.
Dlungwane unpacked the issues which beset the school that‚ he said‚ stemmed from infighting amongst staff. “You can see there are factions here. Some learners have aligned themselves with a group of teachers and there is another group who have thrown their weight behind the principal‚” he said.
“In the past we have had parents blockading the gate here and not allowing teachers to come in [and] report for duty in their classrooms. Hence some teachers decided that they were no longer going to report at this school and instead go to the district office. It has been a problem‚” Dlungwane added.
He said that he had intervened and would be pushing for a complete restructure of the school’s management.
“This upheaval amongst the staff has been happening for several months‚ so I have intervened to make sure that normalcy can be restored and teaching and learning can continue.
“I have seen the level of discipline of the learners and it is very low‚ and their respect is non-existent. We ought to then instil discipline in our learners‚” he added.
The school was closed last week after a fatal stabbing in a scuffle over a cell phone.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said on Tuesday two pupils were killed in a knife fight.
“Two pupils were stabbed and injured at a local high school. They were taken to hospital where they died on arrival. The motive of the killing is unknown at this stage. KwaMakhuta police are investigating two counts of murder. No arrests have been made.”
Nomusa Zulu‚ the aunt of one of the slain learners‚ who addressed the meeting‚ said she believed that the children were being used as pawns by teachers to “fight their battles”.
“The problem in the school is that the teachers are using the kids to fight their battles. What concerned me is that after my nephew died there was no sense of urgency‚ there was no police presence‚ they carried on like nothing ever happened. The kids still walked in with knives in their school bags‚” she said.
Dlungwane undertook to respond with a plan to overhaul the school management by Wednesday.