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Bloemfontein In The News As Trouble Stirs At Special School


Bloemfontein city panorama, with Nelson Mandela seen overlooking the city below.

Parents of children at Pholoho Special School in Bloemfontein are threatening to shut it down if they do not start seeing major changes.

The parents said the outgoing principal, Joyce Thothela, was at the root of a plethora of problems.

Two days before she was to retire, the school governing body escorted her off the premises. It is now claimed Thothela would return to the school on the district director’s orders.

The department has not confirmed this, but parents are threatening to shut the school down if it happened.

The main problem at the school was that the ceilings of a block of eight classrooms were falling apart. One parent, who has asked to remain anonymous, said one ceiling had already collapsed while pupils were in school.

No one was injured, but the school governing body (SGB) had asked Thothela to inform the education department and ask for mobile classrooms until these repairs were done.

This did not happen, prompting the SGB to question whether the principal had done so.

According to the department, Thothela has been the school’s principal for about three years. She submitted the paperwork required to retire at the end of last year.

However, when the time came she twice requested three-month extensions. The latter of these came to an end as schools closed for the winter break.

However, two days before Thothela was to retire, the SGB escorted her off the premises.

Department spokesperson Howard Ndaba said the department was not aware of the dilapidated infrastructure, but promised to investigate when the school reopened next week.

The department condemned the SGB’s decision to forcibly remove the principal as she had been about to retire. He added that the principal was employed by the department, and not the SGB.

“They have no right to escort the principal off the premises,” he said.

The parents were to meet with the district director this week to gain clarity on Thothela’s position.

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