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The ongoing feud, for the past three years, between the School Governing Body and the principal of Grey College Secondary, can be summarized chronologically as follows:

  • Op 15 Mei 2018 het die Beheerliggaam, onder leiding van mnr. Henry Büchner, as voorsitter, en mnr. Philip Piek, as ondervoorsitter, tydens ‘n spesiale vergadering van die Beheerliggaam die besluit geneem om ‘n resolusie aan te neem wat alle bestuursfunksies, verpligtinge en bevoegdhede van die Beheerliggaam wat aan die skoolhoof, hetsy uitdruklik en/of stilswyend gedelegeer is, met onmiddellike effek terug te trek.
  • Jurie Geldenhuys, skoolhoof van Grey Primêr, en mnr Dries van der Wal, afgetrede personeellid, is as sogenaamde tydelike skoolbestuurders gedurende 2018 aangestel om hierdie bestuursfunksies, verpligtinge en bevoegdhede van die Skoolhoof oor te neem.
  • The principal applied for the review and setting aside of the School Governing Body’s decision in the High Court in Bloemfontein and contended that the impugned decision was irrational, unreasonable, unlawful and procedurally flawed and that the decision also offended against the principles of legality and rationality.
  • The principal, furthermore, contended that the impugned decisions had far-reaching and harmful consequences to his office as principal, the school and particularly the learners. A decision of such a nature could, indeed, affect all schools and governing bodies in South Africa.
  • The South African Teachers Union, representing 36 000 members, intervened in the proceedings and based this decision that a school governing body does not have the right to limit the principal’s ability to perform his professional and other managing functions as assigned to the principal in terms of the South African Schools Act.
  • The School Governing Body was expressly requested by the HoD of the Free State Department of Education, on numerous occasions, to rescind its decision pending an endeavour to resolve the dispute amicably. This request was, however, ignored.
  • The principal’s application was heard on 20 August 2018 in the High Court in Bloemfontein by Judge Musi and Judge van Zyl and judgment was delivered by Judge Musi on 6 September 2018. Some of these findings include: the School Governing Body’s decision disturbed the delicate balance that existed between the principal and School Governing Body intended by the South African Schools Act and created tension, strife, discontent and mismanagement of the school; the School Governing Body was, therefore, not entitled, or had the necessary authority, to take their decision because the Act and other policy instruments which cover the role, responsibilities and functions of the principal do not sanction it; the School Governing Body unlawfully appointed mr Geldenhuys as the so-called school manager of Grey College Secondary without there being such a post on the establishment of the school; it was done without the authorisation of the HoD of the Free State Department of Education and, finally, Judge Musi found that the School Governing Body’s decision was not preceded by a procedurally fair process. The principal was for all intents and purposes ‘ambushed’ by the School Governing Body on 15 May 2018.
  • Gedurende 2018-2019, en spesifiek na afloop van die hofbevinding gelewer op 6 September 2018, het verskeie lede van die Beheerliggaam bedank.
  • Die Beheerliggaam, onder die voorsitterskap van mnr. H. Büchner en die nuut verkose onder-voorsitter, adv. J. Zietsman, het egter op 19 November 2018 die besluit geneem om aansoek tot verlof by die Hooggeregshof in Bloemfontein te doen, om teen regter Musi en regter van Zyl se uitspraak te appélleer. Uitspraak is op 17 Januarie 2019 gelewer en bogenoemde aansoek is met koste van die hand gewys.
  • Op 26 April 2019 het die Beheerliggaam egter vir die derde maal besluit om hul besluit te verdedig: op 26 April 2019 het die Beheerliggaam gepetisioneer om aansoek tot verlof by die Appélhof te doen teen bogenoemde uitspraak. Op 15 Mei 2019 is die Beheerliggaam se aansoek goedgekeur om wel aansoek tot verlof by die Appélhof te doen.
  • On 26 February 2019 during the finances committee meeting of the School Governing Body, it came to the principal’s attention that two amounts exceeding R1.5 million, in total, have been paid in December 2018 from the funds of the Secondary School for legal costs to the legal firm of the School Governing Body without his knowledge or permission.
  • The principal duly reported these payments in compliance with section 16A(2)(k) of the South African Schools Act to the School Governing Body and HoD of the Free State Department of Education.
  • The principal also consulted with his Union (SAOU) to obtain advice in respect of his statutory duty to inform the HoD of the Free State Department of Education of the offending payments.
  • Op grond van bogenoemde gebeure, het die Hoof van Onderwys van die Vrystaatse Departement van Onderwys, op 11 April 2019 alle finansiële magte van die Beheerliggaam tydelik opgeskort hangende ‘n volledige ondersoek oor die finansies van die skool.
  • Die Beheerliggaam het op 18 April 2019 besluit om ‘n dringende hofaansoek na die Hooggeregshof in Bloemfontein te bring om bogenoemde besluit ongeldig te verklaar. Die aansoek is op 26 April 2019 aangehoor en met koste afgewys.
  • Die Beheerliggaam het egter weereens besluit om bogenoemde besluit na die Hooggeregshof in Bloemfontein te verwys wat op 29 Julie 2019 aangehoor is. Op 16 September 2019 het die Hooggeregshof in Bloemfontein die aansoek met koste afgewys.
  • Intussen het die Beheerliggaam gepetisioneer om aansoek tot verlof by die Appélhof teen bogenoemde uitspraak te doen. Die Beheerliggaam se petisie is goedgekeur om wel aansoek tot verlof by die Appélhof te doen. Hierdie saak moet nog in die Appélhof voorkom.
  • In January, 2019, the HoD of the Free State Department of Education appointed an Independent Task Team (“ITT”) to conduct an enquiry at both Grey College Primary and Grey College Secondary Schools to investigate the causes of the breakdown in trust between the principal and the School Governing Body.
  • In June 2020, the HoD of the Free State Department of Education also appointed an internal audit of the school’s finances and requested a financial report on the finances of both Grey College Primary and Grey College Secondary Schools.
  • In November 2019, the findings and recommendations of both these investigative reports were made available by the HoD of the Free State Department of Education to the representatives of both the principal and the School Governing Body. However, the HoD of the Free State Department of Education still reserved the right to implement these findings and recommendations.
  • On 28 January 2020, all members of the School Governing Body, which included the principals, had to make representations of these investigative reports to the HoD of the Free State Department of Education based on the findings of both these reports.
  • The principal of Grey College Secondary School submitted his representation on the findings of the investigative reports to the HoD of the Free State Department of Education. However, the School Governing Body declined to make any representations to the HoD of the Free State Department of Education.
  • On 28 February 2020 a decision was taken by the HoD of the Free State Department of Education to terminate the membership of the School Governing Body in terms of the Code of Conduct for Members of Governing Bodies of Public Schools, published in the Free State Provincial Gazette No.94 on 08 December 2008, having not submitted any written representations on the findings of the investigative reports.
  • The School Governing Body subsequently lodged an urgent court application to the High Court in Bloemfontein challenging the powers and interim decision of the HoD of the Free State Department of Education to withdraw their membership of the School Governing Body.
  • The High Court in Bloemfontein dismissed the urgency of the application – the matter is yet to be argued and determined by the High Court in Bloemfontein.
  • On 3 July 2020 Judges Navsa, Schippers, Nicholls, Koen and Eksteen, representing The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), handed down judgment in the matter between the School Governing Body (SGB) and the principal of Grey College Secondary School. The judgment described that the SGB’s case is “built on a house of cards” and does not distinguish between the different roles played by the governing body and the principal. The SGB is, furthermore, “unjustifiably dismissive” of the provisions of the Act, the EEA and the PAM that deal with the role of the principal. According to section 16(3) of the Act a principal is not restricted to managing only the academic programme of the school but that the professional management functions of the principal are not exhaustive. According to the judgment, “one need not be a lawyer to understand the role that a principal plays.” In taking the impugned decision, the SGB not only acted beyond its statutory authority but also negated the principal’s labour law rights. In conclusion, the judgment states that the best interests of the learners and the school must be served. The appeal of the School Governing Body was dismissed with costs, including the costs of two counsel.
  • The School Governing Body took the decision by the HoD of the Free State Department of Education, to terminate their membership of the School Governing Body, on appeal to the MEC of Free State Education. However, on 27 July 2020 this appeal was dismissed by the MEC of Free State Education stating that “the HoD’s decision was fair on both substantive and procedural grounds” and that the termination of their membership of the School Governing Body will be implemented with immediate effect.
  • Teen die tyd wat hierdie jaarverslag saamgestel is, moes Grey Kollege Sekondêr alreeds oor die R2 miljoen aan regskostes vir die Beheerliggaam betaal.


Wanneer mag, bevoegdheid en gesag nie uiters versigtig omskryf en toegepas word nie, gee dit aanleiding tot disfunksionaliteit. Hierdie beginsel is ook van toepassing by skole. Die verhouding tussen ‘n skoolhoof en bestuursliggaam, soos omskryf in die Onderwyswet, kan slegs gedy indien daar wedersydse respek, vertroue en samewerking bestaan. Regter Navsa verwys in geen onsekere terme in sy uitspraak daarna dat die skool en die leerders se belange te alle tye voorkeur moet geniet en dat uitgerekte hofsake en litigasie nie net finansiële implikasies inhou nie, maar ook bydra tot verdeeldheid, spanning en onsekerheid. Alle belanghebbendes by die skool moet nou uitsluitlik fokus op die beste belange van die leerders en die skoolgemeenskap en hoë kwaliteit onderwys en leer voorsien dat die leerders hul volle potensiaal sal verwesenlik. Dit moet ook die ingesteldheid by Grey Kollege vir die toekoms wees.

In the light of reconciliation and in the best interests of our beloved school, the School Governing Body’s contribution during 2020 is noted.

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