Jacob Riba, the principal of Ephes Mamkeli Secondary School, has been reinstated after a two-week precautionary suspension. Riba’s suspension followed the circulation of footage on social media showing him administering corporal punishment to a Grade 12 male student.
The incident sparked controversy, with some parents and community members staging a protest outside the school on September 8, demanding Riba’s return.
Beaty Kgoadi, one of the parents, expressed their dismay over Riba’s removal, citing that strict discipline from teachers and principals was commonplace in their generation, and students seldom resorted to complaints to the district. They pledged not to rest until Riba was back at the school.
Zanele Simelane, a member of the school’s feeding scheme, highlighted a perceived deterioration in student behaviour following the principal’s suspension, with reports of unruly conduct, late arrivals, smoking during school hours, and violations of dress codes.
Behind closed doors, the school governing body and district officials held a special meeting to address the situation. The outcome of this meeting, held on September 10, was the decision to reinstate Principal Riba.
According to Steve Mabona, the Gauteng Education Spokesperson, the initial suspension stemmed from a video circulating on social media, allegedly showing the principal using corporal punishment on a 22-year-old Grade 12 student who had been found inappropriately touching a Grade Eight female student, aged 14.
Mabona clarified that the suspension was a precautionary measure pending investigation. However, parents and community discontent led to protests demanding the principal’s return. While investigations at the school level have concluded, the outcome is pending from the presiding officer overseeing disciplinary proceedings. Riba’s reinstatement aims to stabilise the situation at the school during this ongoing process.
Picture: Google Maps / Moloko Serumula
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