The principal New Eisleben High school in Lower Crossroads had to flee from hundreds of pupils yesterday as they went on the rampage vandalising classrooms, throwing stones at teachers’ cars and destroying toilets and plumbing.
The rampaging pupils said they wanted the principal, a Mr Mazimena, out of the school as they said he was abusive toward teachers and parents and had allegedly chased a number of pupils out of the school.
The school was only opened in October last year.
”We’re tired of the principal. He’s rude and does not respect our parents. He chased a number of students from school. He does not care about other teachers, we want him to leave’,’ said a pupil who asked not to be named.
As the protest gained momentum during the morning, the protest turned into a riot.
Stones were thrown at cars in the parking lot owned by teachers, shattering windows and denting the bodywork.
Stones were also thrown at a car owned by a press photographer and the radio stolen.
It would appear the protest was hijacked by pupils who aimed to destroy property.
Pupil Sanelisile Kroqo said the protest was planned on Tuesday.
”When we get to school in the morning some of the students went inside. A small group started a protest outside. They got inside, (and started) throwing stones to those who were inside. They broke the school gate… demanding us to go outside the school to protest” said Kroqo
She said some former pupils who had been expelled from the school for being involved in teen gangs, joined in the protest.
”They vandalised the school, stealing school computers. They left everything upside down,” said Kroqo.
Bronagh Casey, spokesperson for Western Cape Education Departmen MEC Donald Grant, said learners threw stones, breaking windows and destroying computers.
The motor from the motorised school gate was “torn from its hinges and books in the store room were strewn across the floor”, said Casey.
She said teacher were also threatened but “the reasons for the disruption are still unclear” and the department had not received a list of grievances from the learners.
However, she said whatever their grievances were, the pupils’ behaviour was “simply unacceptable”.
“The WCED has requested that the educators return to school and have arranged for trauma counseling.”
The situation would be closely monitored and the WCED would “do all it can” to ensure teaching and learning continued today, said Casey. – Nombulelo Damba