JHB principal pleads not guilty

Rivonia Primary School principal Carol Drysdale pleaded not guilty to insubordination & misconduct.

Classroom

JOHANNESBURG - Rivonia Primary School principal Carol Drysdale on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges of insubordination and misconduct.

The charges relate to the admission of a grade one pupil and highlight the uncertainty on who has the final say when state schools reach capacity.

The hearing took place at the Department of Education's office in central Johannesburg.

Eyewitness News was granted permission to report on the hearing, which is expected to take two days to complete.

The Gauteng Education Department described four separate attempts to get Drysdale to admit a grade one pupil into a classroom.

The school said it had reached its capacity and the parent was late in applying for the child's admission.

The department intervened and forced the school to admit the six-year-old pupil.

The hearing began with the department reading out the charges against Drysdale, which now threaten her career.

The principal then pleaded not guilty and listened as the department called its first witness.

Director for legal services, Qiniso Zwane, told the hearing that Drysdale chose to enforce the school governing body (SGB)'s decision over that of the department.

"The authority of the SGB to determine admission policy would not override the function of the MEC, to ensure that all learners in the province are placed."

But those sympathetic to the school said the disciplinary hearing was nothing more than a "witch-hunt".