Protests and Bus Torched in South Africa Over Principal Appointment

Residents of Klipspruit West in Soweto barricaded the K43 highway with burning tyres on Thursday morning, and torched a bus.

The community is angry over the appointment of a black principal at Klipspruit West Secondary School, and the larger context in which the appointment was made.

According to Anthony Williams, from Patriots for Equality, they are tired of the government blaming racism for their objections to the principal’s appointment.

He explained Thursday morning that they are protesting against the South African Teachers Union’s (SATU’s) Operation ‘Vat Alles’ “where they have decided to make sure that every Principal and Deputy Principal belongs to African black people and no coloured teachers will assume those positions. And we are saying – that is the racism; we cannot allow that to happen.” (A similar policy was adopted by the apartheid government during the ’70s where Afrikaans-speaking principals were appointed at most state schools, even those in KwaZulu-Natal which were attended by predominantly English-speaking learners.)

The Klipspruit community is demanding that Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi and other government officials visit them to discuss the issue.

According to Police spokesperson Kay Makhubele: “A Putco bus seems to have been abandoned and we don’t know where the driver of the bus is. No injuries have been reported nor have we made any arrests.”

Teaching at Klipspruit West Secondary School has been disrupted for a fortnight since the appointment, and earlier this week coloured teachers at several schools began a go-slow in solidarity with the school.

Lesufi has condemned the go-slow and “deployed a district official to be based at the school permanently as an interim measure to ensure learning and teaching continue without any disruption”.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area.