The KwaZulu-Natal Parents’ Association has warned a local business forum against sowing divisions between residents of Indian descent and black South Africans.
This follows the Bambanani Ogqokweni Business Forum’s alleged interference in the affairs of schools, mostly north of Durban.
They want the appointment of black teachers in Indian schools and also want contracts for maintenance and other services in schools.
Vee Gani, chairperson of the association, said the forum was opportunistic and used the wrong strategy to seek business in schools.
“If you were to ask me, yes, the number of Indian teachers in schools situated in Indian areas is huge. The same applies with black schools.
“Whether that is good or bad is beyond me. Again, these schools inherited the status quo. There are far more black teachers in Indian schools than there are Indians in black schools. This forum is trying to sow division in our schools,” Gani said.
He said the appointment of teachers followed a particular process.
“Governing bodies appoint people on merit. The list of candidates is presented to the SGB (school governing body) and no personal details are listed. Applicants are only identified by numbers or letters so there’s no way of knowing who a candidate is – there’s no nepotism in how teachers are appointed,” he said.
With regards to contracts for service provision, governing bodies are constrained by the financial regulations as set down by the education department, Gani said.
He said generally SGBs used service providers within their locality to minimise costs.
The Independent on Saturday reported that the forum alleged that syndicates, operating mainly in “Indian-run” schools were colluding to exclude African teachers and businesses from opportunities in the schooling sector, and they were determined to end the “Indian monopoly capital” in the education sector.
Corovoca Primary, Sea Cow Lake Secondary, Effingham Primary and St Michael’s Primary schools were reportedly targeted by the forum.
Mbusa Mkhombe, the forum’s deputy chairperson, said they were not against people of Indian descent, but were against the status quo.
“The schools in the north of the region are dominated by Indians yet we have a huge number of our children in those same schools. Segregation was enforced by the Group Areas Act but since we gained democracy that should end,” Mkhombe said.
Kwazi Mthethwa, Education Department spokesperson, said his department did not deal with economic development.
“Our business is in the classroom and it remains there. We have nothing to do with contracts in schools.”