Schweizer-Reneke teacher’s suspension not lifted: MEC

Elana Barkhuizen
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North West Education MEC Sello Lehari has refuted reports that the suspension of Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke teacher, Elana Barkhuizen, has been lifted.

Lehari announced this during a media briefing held in Schweizer-Reneke on Wednesday.

Provincial education authorities suspended Barkhuizen on Thursday. This after she took a photo of white and black Grade R learners seated separately in a classroom.

Trade union Solidarity has announced its intention to legally challenge the suspension of Barkhuizen.

MEC Lehari revisited the school to engage with the school management. He briefed them about the preliminary report on investigations conducted against Barkhuizen.

Lehari later met with parents who raised their concerns regarding safety of their children at the school.

On the matter relating to the suspension of Barkhuizen, Lehari says he stands by his decision.

“If she is suspended lawfully or unlawfully that is the issue of the SGB. That teacher is taking care of learners. I am supporting the suspension until the finalisation of the case. The case is still going on, so disclosing everything here you can say it is subjudice. Let us wait for the case to be dealt with.”

On Wednesday morning parents were seen going inside the school with their children, but later on, took them away. Classes remained closed for the rest of the day.

Some of the parents raised their concerns regarding safety of their children.

“My son, even myself, I’m so afraid of the SVK. He knows the SVK people that are aggressive, violent. You understand what I mean. When he sees something happening, especially on what happened, he thought it’s the SVK.”

“We want to bring our kids to school because we feel we are losing out on a lot of work. It’s the beginning of the year and we need classes to get started.”

Lehari responded by saying they have already engaged the police to monitor the situation at the school.

“As from tomorrow, there will be some police around here quietly so to make sure that this learners are safe. We have agreed with those parents who are saying their learners are not safe so that the schooling must start tomorrow and we have agreed.”

Lehari is expected to brief the media on Thursday about the findings of the investigations.