School governing body member Henry Charles said the racial tension was triggered by the community demanding the appointment of a coloured principal. The community claims there is a lack of representation from coloured people in school leadership positions.
Charles, who was part of a panel which interviewed applicants for the position, said: “During the process, we were asked what criteria are we going to use with race. I stood up and said I would score five for coloureds and I’ll score four for black people.
“They said coloureds and blacks are the same and I said but this is a coloured area and they said I am being racist. We want a coloured principal cause this is a coloured area.”
The department’s spokesperson, Oupa Bodibe, said: “The department has learnt the disturbing news that the community in Klipspruit West has rejected the principal because of skin colour. This action is strongly condemned, as it runs against the non-racial principles of our society. Educators are appointed on the basis of qualification and experience.”
The school is set to reopen today following a heated meeting between the governing body, Education Department officials, the SA Teachers Democratic Union and parents.
It was decided that the department needs to re-look the new appointment and that a caretaker principal be appointed.
Speaking on behalf of four community organisations, Sharice Pretorious, said the appointment was questioned based on irregularities that occurred during the selection process.
Last year, a similar incident occurred at Roodepoort Primary School after a dispute started in 2015 when parents claimed the principal was unfairly appointed ahead of a better qualified teacher.