Mthembu received an apology and will also be compensated by the school. She resigned last month citing racism and a lack of support as a black teacher at the elite school.
Rustenberg Girls’ Junior school is nestled in a leafy southern suburb of Cape Town. An elite school recognised for performance and high standards.
Nozipho Mthembu was the school’s first black class teacher but not for long. Mthembu says her first year experience at the school was a horrific one allegedly marred by racism and disrespect.
As the school’s alma mater, and former learnership teacher she says this came as a shock. But not as shocking as being given the option of either resigning or facing disciplinary action for not being able to carry out her core functions as a teacher.
Mthembu says she resigned last month because she did not want to stay in a place where she was no longer wanted.
She alleges a cabal of white parents had put pressure on the school to push her out because she was black. After her resignation she says a parent at the school advised her to fight back.
After an appearance at the CCMA Mthembu says the school made her an offer that she could return as a learnership teacher.
“So that was the offer, and I said no I’m not going to go back as a learnership, so either you compensate and I would appreciate an apology. They initially offered three months and an apology which I requested and then my lawyer basically pushed that up and an apology was given but I still feel that, that apology wasn’t acknowledging what had actually happened,” says Mthembu.
The School Governing Body issued a statement which denied any form of racism.
The Western Cape Department of Education is aware of the issue and MEC Debbie Shafer said if the allegations of the behaviour of some parents at the school were true, this would be unacceptable.