After investigating a complaint, the department formulates charges against an employee, if warranted, MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer said. Picture: African news Agency
After investigating a complaint, the department formulates charges against an employee, if warranted, MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer said. Picture: African news Agency

'Kangaroo court' claims by Khalid Sayed are entirely false, writes MEC Debbie Schäfer

By Opinion Time of article published Oct 19, 2021

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I have noted with great concern the claim by the ANC’s Khalid Sayed in the Argus today, stating that I have “established and led” a “kangaroo court” to implement disciplinary charges against the principal of Heathfield High School (WCED finds Heathfield principal guilty on six charges for refusing to open school during Covid-19 peak).

This is an outrageous and obviously false claim.

One would hope that someone in his position would take the time to learn the most basic processes involved in managing an education department, given that he is the ANC spokesperson on education, but he has not done so, and repeatedly makes false and irresponsible claims that negatively affect our principals, our schools and our department.

So, once again, let me make it clear for the public how disciplinary processes in the department work.

After investigating a complaint, the department formulates charges against an employee, if warranted.

An independent presiding officer is appointed by the department and conducts the hearing, and the employee is given a fair opportunity to present their defence.

The independent presiding officer determines the sanction if the employee is found guilty.

I have no involvement in the process whatsoever, unless and until such time as an appeal is submitted to me.

Any involvement in a case prior to this would violate due process, which, unlike the ANC, we hold dear, so it is deeply concerning that Sayed is continuously trying to bait me into doing so.

Sayed further claims that I am “shielding and protecting” white principals, yet provides no evidence whatsoever to substantiate this claim.

Even some questions he has posed in the provincial parliament have also shown him that action has been taken against other principals, of different race groups.

His continuing racial narrative is deeply disturbing and divisive.

He further claims that there is a “purge” of staff – again, absolutely no evidence provided, as there is none.

The only one involved in a kangaroo court is Sayed: he has made repeated, and frequently personal, attacks against me without presenting a single shred of evidence, and continues to wilfully mislead the public.

I will not entertain it any longer, and I will absolutely not compromise due process to feed his desire for political points.

* Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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