Conflicts between vendors and principal at Phishoana Primary School saw unhappy Rakgwatha residents instructing school principal and his deputy to pack their belongings and leave the school.
This decision was taken after the principal and the School Governing Body (SGB) allegedly insisted to allow vendors to sell their products again at school.
According to the Department of Education arrangements for and management of vendors within the vicinity of schools falls within the responsibilities of SGB, through school policies and procedure guidelines that should be in place.
It is believed that Moletlane circuit manager advised both principal and vendors to find possible solution that would benefit them both.
These vendors were allegedly excluded from selling their products in the school premises and a spaza shop was built allegedly owned by the principal.
The department spokesperson, Tidimalo Chuene, said the department was investigating the conduct of the principal.
For Rakgwatha residents they merely wanted to know which criteria was used when building the spaza.
They claimed that they were not consulted and is nearly a year since this concern was raised by the vendors.
A community leader, Madimetja Tlomatsana, who demands justice on behalf of the hawkers, said the principal has sent him from pillar to post when doing a follow up.
Tlomatsana claimed he was also insulted by the principal but kept on doing follow up until the principal told him that he together with SGB took the decision of not allowing vendors again back at school.
From there Tlomatsana called a community meeting to share the decision taken by the school management team.
“In the meeting the community rejected the management’s decision. We resolved that vendors must go back to sell their products forcefully so. And we elected patrollers to ensure the vendors sell peacefully,” explained Tlomatsana.
“First day of their return, learners were prohibited to buy from vendors but we condemned such behaviour,” he said.
The following day police were called to intervene and educators decided to release learners from classes, said Tlomatsana.
Asked why learners were released he said: “No one knows why learners were released,”
Tlomatsana said urgent meeting seated attended by school principal, circuit manager, SGB, hawkers, royal family, ward councillor and other stakeholders.
“Surprisingly during the meeting more serious allegations linked to the principal were said. They accused the principal of maladministration, undermining the Batho Pele principles and questioned his leadership skill,” he said.
“Motion of no confidence against the principal was filed and passed. We also questioned their fitness into the office and we resolved him and his deputy at school,” said Tlomatsana.
He said the two didn’t hesitate to take their belongings and vacate the school.
As it stands, the spaza is closed and vendors continue with their business.
He said few a days later, the educators called another meeting demanding guardians and parents of Phishoana learners only.
“The meeting went unsuccessful as we rejected the proposal. For us the meeting was meant to divide the community and we can’t allow that,” he said.
He said circuit manager told them that the taken decision to remove department employees was above his power.
Tlomatsana reiterate that vendors will continue to sell their products and no one will kick them out.