KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu has revealed that the report into allegations of racism at Grosvenor Girls High School in Durban has found that racism is systematic, structural and that white authority dominates all facets at the school.
The school was in the spotlight in February this year after learners accused the principal of racial discrimination who made reference to their hair. They additionally accused the principal of discriminatory slurs. An Independent Panel was then tasked to conduct an investigation on allegations of racism and financial administration. Mshengu received the report towards the end of June and vowed to make it public.
REPORT ON GROSVENOR GIRLS HIGH RACISM PROBE
The panel was led by Senior Counsel Vusi Khuzwayo who was assisted by evidence leader advocate Makhosini Nkosi; educational psychologist Nontobeko Buthelezi; and attorney Jacqueline Pretorius-Bishop. SD Moloi and Associates provided additional support.
The panel reportedly received evidence from former and current learners, members of the teaching staff, general school workers, School Governing Body members and parents. It also found that racism is normalised and that it is second nature at Grosvenor Girls High, that black people who are learners and employees at the school suffer in an atmosphere of being suppressed, oppressed and being voiceless.
Mshengu said they are satisfied that the panel covered all necessary ground and allowed all interested parties to tender evidence before arriving at its findings and recommendations.
Furthermore, the panel received historical accounts of disruptions within the school during the period 2017 to 2022. These accounts included allegations of racial prejudice, discrimination, dehumanisation, and financial irregularities.
AFRICAN STAFF NOT TREATED WITH DIGNITY
Mshengu said the report lists a litany of instances where the principal has used derogatory, discriminatory, and dehumanising language when dealing with race related issues. Earlier this year learners alleged that they were called monkeys, taxi queens and other derogatory words.
Mshengu also revealed that there is a general feeling among the African support staff that they are not treated with respect, dignity, and courtesy by the school management because of their race. This discriminatory and inhumane treatment comes from both White and Indian members of management.
KZN MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu. Photo: KZNDOE/ Facebook.
According to the report, the principal speaks disparagingly of “township schools” and does not hide her prejudice against schools in township. Evidence was led where the principal constantly shouted at African learners reminding them that Grosvenor Girls High is not a township school, and they must go back to these township schools. Educators are told to recruit more white learners because the school belongs to white learners.
“I have decided to accept all recommendations given by the panel and have referred the report to the HOD for implementation. I have also directed legal services to lay a complaint against the principal with the Human Rights Commission,” Mshengu said.
The report also revealed that in 2018 another report called for an investigation on financial mismanagement of R3.4 million at the school. It also found incidents of maladministration where the school incurred irregular procurement processes in conflict with the finance policy.
ALSO READ: KZN school investigated after learners were called ‘monkeys’, ‘taxi queens’ and ‘black sluts’
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