The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and Alexandra Parliament have given the Gauteng Department of Education 10 days to respond to them regarding the grievances they have at Eastbank High School in Alexandra township, in the north of Johannesburg.
Learners and parents at the school held a meeting with on Thursday afternoon with COSAS, the South African Teacher’s Union, teachers, and the provincial Department of Education. This comes after COSAS and the community group, which calls itself Alexandra Parliament, this week prohibited learners from grades eight to 11 from entering the school. This was part of a protest about the lack of enough toilets at the school (COSAS alleges that there are four toilets for 1520 learners and teachers), the lack of infrastructure, poor quality of teaching, divisions among the teachers caused by having two acting principles, and lack of security at the school.
During the meeting, one of the learners pleaded with teachers to bring change to the school, as it is known as one of the most corrupt and poor-performing schools in Alexandra. "Those teachers who do not want to teach, should resign and stay home," said the learner.
Parents demanded that the two Acting Deputy Principals must step down with immediate effect. One of the concerned parents, Palesa Monareng, said the Education Department and officials have known about these issues for some years. "Now teachers are using our children to run their own agenda and not focusing on the real issues that are affecting the performance of our children, even today I am still expecting the term one school report, the department should intervene," said Monareng.
Ronny Mashego, an official from the Gauteng Department of Education, received the memorandum on behalf of MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who did not attend the meeting even though he had promised to do so.
Mashego said the two acting deputy principals will step down with immediate effect and a new principal will be appointed as soon as possible. He also said the department will respond to the grievances within the 10 days given to them.
Earlier in the week, Alexandra Parliament Chairperson, Vincent Ndima, said they will shut down all schools in the township if their demands are not met.
In the meantime, all parties agreed that learners can go back to school.