A KwaZulu-Natal school where two pupils were stabbed and killed will undergo a multitude of changes when government interventions are implemented, MEC for education Mthandeni Dlungwana has said.
Dlungwana, who visited Masakhaneni High School with a high-level provincial delegation on Monday, addressed hundreds of pupils, parents and community stakeholders in KwaMakhutha, south of Durban.
Sihle Mngadi, 20, and Mangaliso Mbatha, 18, died after they were stabbed over a cellphone by pupils from another school. The two were stabbed after allegedly attempting to stop the fight.
Pupils and parents listened intently as Dlungwana called for improved discipline and more respect from pupils. Learning and teaching at the school has been disrupted by the incident.
“We are committed to changing things that are not in accordance with the law.”
According to the MEC, there have been several challenges over many months that led to the double tragedy at the school.
‘You think you are in charge‘
He said there were factions of teachers and parents that supported “certain people at the school”.
“There is no respect. Even teachers are not respected. A circuit manager came here and did not receive any respect.”
Dlungwana lashed out at pupils who interrupted him during his address.
“Some of you think you are in charge. You are not. I am here to do my work; not play around. We are very serious. We are worried about you and your behaviour. You will realise your behaviour was a mistake and you will regret it.”
He said the school was also alleged to be a “drug den”.
“Our first commitment is to re-fence the school. We also have issues where teachers are absent, coming late and leaving early. We are also conducting an investigation regarding alleged financial mismanagement.”
Teachers blocked from coming to school
Dlungwana said another big challenge was that some teachers were prevented from coming into the school.
“There were parents that blockaded the gates and refused teachers entry. Some thought teachers were dismissed, but that was not true.
“The teachers decided they would no longer be coming in because of the blockade.”
There was a serious challenge in forming a good working relationship with the principal and some teachers, he said.
Dlungwana said full teaching was expected to commence at the school by Tuesday.
“The most important thing is to have teaching start. We are expecting pupils to attend by tomorrow.”
Dlungwana said that, together with MEC for safety community and liaison Mxolisi Kaunda, he would attempt to root out “rough elements in the community”.