Parents confront SGB

Disgruntled parents with placards demanding the removal of the SGB at Eden Park Primary School.

ON Saturday, March 11, parents walked out of a meeting with the School Governing Body (SGB) at Eden Park Primary School due to the absence of a mediator from the office of the MEC, as they had requested.

The disgruntled parents returned on Monday, March 13, brandishing placards with slogans demanding the removal of the SGB members, who they say are corrupt and some of whom don’t have children in the school.

While a list of at least 10 thorny issues was given to the SGB to be addressed, the parents’ main grips were corruption and the misuse of school funds.

“The SGB was instructed by the office of the MEC to meet the parents within seven days, hence the meeting on March 11, which the parents disappointingly walked out. We did discuss the issues raised with the few parents who remained,” said SGB chairman Hamilton Jacobs.

From the picketing crowd, one parent, Godfrey Soetmelk, said: “The parents walked out of the meeting because the SGB wants to be referee and player at the same time. We have issues with them so how can they be the mediator in the meeting?

“Parents are tired of school funds being misused by SGB members who don’t even have a child at the school, such as funds being used without any financial statements presented, private functions being held at the school and the fact that the school hall has still not been built despite funds and donations that were collected for this, including the ‘donate-a-brick’ campaign which has been going on since 2006.”

Jacobs said that minutes of SGB meetings and the school’s financial statements are always available for perusal, as are documents concerning the handover from the old to the newly elected SGB members.

At the Saturday meeting, the principal, Charles van Zyl, told the parents who remained behind the school had a budget of R1.5 million which is meant for learners’ stationery and textbooks.

“We have already spent R920 000 and will have to get more in through fundraising. R5 000 was spent on teacher workshops and the school has to pay for learners’ excursions. Parents will remember that the school asked for donations of R300 in order to complete the school hall which, up to now, is only a steel structure.”

With placards stating #SGBMustFall, the parents remained adamant they will continue with the protest until the office of the MEC sends a mediator to officiate a meeting with the SGB.

The police were called and requested the parents to disperse, which they did.

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Saul Thloloe

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