Free-spending Western Cape school principal in more hot water

17 February 2019 - 00:00 By PREGA GOVENDER
Wikus Naudé and his daughter Jeanri.
Wikus Naudé and his daughter Jeanri.
Image: Facebook

With two final written warnings already on file and having been ordered to remove his gun collection from the premises, the principal of a prominent high school in Wellington in the Western Cape now has even bigger questions to answer.

Wikus Naudé , head of the dual-medium Hugenote Hoërskool / Huguenot High, is at the centre of an investigation by the provincial education department after allegations that:

  • The school is picking up his tab for steak ordered from a local supermarket;
  • Wine worth R8,000 was bought to hand out as gifts or for functions; and
  • His daughter was awarded a bursary by the school governing body and employed as a teacher's assistant.

The department is also looking into the financing of a trip by Naudé to Namibia to speak to parents of current pupils; daily free meals for his family; and the conversion of a school basement into his personal woodworking workshop.

Naudé, who is treasurer of the South African Schools Rugby Association, pays R1,850 a month in rent for the flat at the school hostel where he lives with his wife and two adult children, the department confirmed.

Also under investigation is the upgrading of the flat before the family moved in, as procurement procedures were allegedly flouted.

In October last year, Naudé, who has an arsenal of weapons including three rifles, a shotgun, a pistol and a revolver, was instructed by the department to remove the firearms from his flat in the hostel.

In 2017, a year after he became principal, the school's governing body awarded his daughter, Jeanri, who was studying teaching, a R15,000 bursary, fuelling claims that Naudé may have influenced the decision. The school also employed her as an assistant teacher at a salary of R11,540 a month.

Eyebrows were raised in June last year after Naudé and his deputy, Hennie Cronje, took a three-night trip to Namibia at a cost of R7,860 to speak to pupils' parents.

Naudé's actions will form part of a broader investigation by the department into possible breaches of management and governance protocols.

You are like my dog. If a bitch walks past then you just want to climb her because you can't think of anything else
Wikus Naudé allegedly told a pupil

But what has outraged parents and teachers is the slap on the wrist he was given for misconduct on two different occasions in just over a year.

In December 2017, he was issued a final written warning after pleading guilty to three counts of improper conduct.

Two of them stemmed from complaints made by two grade 10 pupils - a boy and a girl - who Naudé questioned after he was sent a cellphone photograph of them in a compromising position.

Questioning the girl alone in his office, he told her she was addicted to sex and he was certain she was sexually active, according to an affidavit she signed at the Bellville police station in Cape Town.

Naudé allegedly told the boy: "You are like my dog. If a bitch walks past then you just want to climb her because you can't think of anything else."

The third complaint was made by a young, unmarried teacher who has since left the school. She said Naudé asked her during a function after she was handed a piece of cake: "Just tell me, Miss, if a piece of cake stands up or is lying down, does it still taste the same?"

Naudé recently landed in hot water again over a host of other allegations and he got a final written warning last month.

Naudé's handling of a racism complaint made by a pupil against another pupil after being called a klimeid - a derogatory reference to a young coloured girl - did not impress officials: he said the utterance was not racist as it was made by a white pupil against another white pupil.

Naudé and Casper Lategan, chair of the governing body, referred queries to department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond, who confirmed Naude's daughter's bursary would form part of a broader investigation.