Eldorado Park Secondary School along the Main Road in Eldos, made headlines this year after achieving the highest matric percentage pass rate for last year’s matric examinations.
Despite this accomplishment, the school’s principal, Marlon Louw, has been embroiled in a battle against seven South African Democratic Teachers Union aligned educators who levelled allegations of racism against Louw, according to parents who demanded to speak to member of the executive council for education (MEC), Panyaza Lesufi at a meeting held at the school on May 14.
Since the end of last year, calls have been made for Louw’s suspension and parents came out to support the embattled principal who many feel is being unfairly treated by the department of education.
Early this year, after the re-opening of schools, parents and stakeholders within Eldorado Park, staged demonstrations at the school as they pledged their support for Louw.
According to School Governing Board (SGB) representative, Victor Molahloe, the SGB and parents are demanding to know whether Louw would be suspended; whether the seven new teachers at the school would be appointed on a permanent basis and that the teachers who brought the charges of racism against law be barred from returning to the school.
A meeting with the MEC was scheduled for 3 pm on Monday afternoon, but when parents arrived, they were told that Louw was summoned to Lesufi’s offices in the Johannesburg city centre.
Parents were informed that the meeting would be moved to 6 pm and that Lesufi would attend the meeting to listen to their concerns.
The MEC and his contingent arrived at the school before 6 pm, but Panyaza left, citing safety concerns after requesting to address the SGB and not the parents. His departure meant that the issues on the table were not addressed.
Tshepo Seate, the district director, accompanied by Fabian Kelly, the circuit training manager, wanted to address parents who refused to listen and demanded that the MEC address and resolve their concerns.
After a few phone calls were made by Seate, the parents in attendance were informed that Allison Bengston, the deputy director general (DDG) would be addressing them.
When Bengston arrived, she informed the assembled parents that Louw would not be suspended.
She said, “As things stand now, the principal will not be leaving the school.” She added that she could not give clear answers as to whether the seven newly appointed teachers would be appointed permanently and whether the teachers who laid the charges against Louw would return to the school.
The meeting was adjourned and parents left the hall furious as their demands were not met.
“We are still leaving here without answers. So what was the point of this meeting?” asked a disgruntled parent.
Parents and the SGB have said that the fight is far from over. “Hands off Mr Louw,” said Molahloe.
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