Rivonia principal in the hot seat

Two primary school boys are picked up outside Rivonia Primary. Picture: Tshepo Lesole/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The disciplinary hearing of a Rivonia Primary School principal is due to get underway on Tuesday, after two failed starts. 

Carol Drysdale was charged with misconduct and gross insubordination, threatening her 30-year career.

The hearing stems from a scandal over the admission of a grade one pupil last year, and cuts to the heart of who has the final say in determining capacity at government schools.  

The Gauteng Department of Education will argue the principal ignored orders to accommodate the girl, who was six years old at the time, by claiming classrooms were full and her parents were late in applying. 

The department will further say its duty is to place all children in the province into schools and that it has the final say of when capacity is reached.

But those close to the school believe the hearing is a witch-hunt engineered to intimidate principals who stand up to government.

They argue the child was only placed because her parents are politically well connected. 

The hearing is being chaired by an advocate.

Meanwhile, there are calls for the department to postpone proceedings.

Rivonia Primary School's governing body lost a court case over the matter, but is currently appealing it. 

The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools on Monday said any disciplinary hearing should only be held once that process ends. 

The federation's deputy chief executive Jaco Deacon said: “They should postpone this disciplinary hearing until the matter is finalised in the Supreme Court of Appeal.”

(Edited by Thato Motaung)

Eyewitness News has applied to report on the hearing, arguing significant public interest.