Zanu PF Lupane West MP, Martin Khumalo, has said a non-Ndebele speaking secondary school headmistress in his constituency whom parents want transferred should leave.
Parents shut down Mlamuli Secondary School on Monday demanding the removal of the headmistress Mrs Millet Bonyongwe who was deployed to the institution at the beginning of the year, arguing that she cannot speak isiNdebele.
Mrs Bonyongwe was transferred from George Silundika Secondary School in Nyamandlovu where she had been a teacher for three years.
Four parents were arrested on Monday at Mlamuli Secondary School in Lupane in connection with the disturbances, but education authorities on Wednesday said the situation was normalising.
Khumalo said if there is a language barrier, then the teacher should be transferred.
“What amazes me most is that the headmistress, if she was really being harassed, or if there was conflict in the community, she should have come to see me.
“The fact that she has never approached me, means she’s stubborn and arrogant.
“I think if a teacher is unable to communicate well with the parents because of a language barrier, then certainly how will she translate to pupils? With such cases, the province will continue to record poor results like Mlamuli is doing right now,” he said.
The MP said he was not a tribalist but a neutral leader who believes Mrs Bonyongwe was supposed to try harder and should be speaking isiNdebele by now.
“We have Tonga, Nambya and other Shona speakers who have made efforts to learn the common languages in the places they are deployed to.
“We have a lot of government employees in the district whom we work with so well but if it has failed with Bonyongwe then the earlier she leaves the better.
“I feel the ministry is protecting her or else we will be made to think that she came into the district to cause commotion.”
Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Mrs Boithatelo Mnguni said:
“I’m well informed that things are back to normal at Mlamuli Secondary School, with scores of pupils seen at school.
“We hope understanding comes between staff and the community and we don’t wish to see such incidents happening again.”
The deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland has in recent years raised the ire of people from the region who blame it for contributing to low pass rates in schools in the region.
Last year, seven men were arrested for storming a school in Mangwe District demanding the removal of a headmistress over the same issue