Left in the dark

Kabelo Dipholo
DARK NIGHTS: A lone candle in the living room

Headmaster switches off teacher’s electricity

Instead of strategizing on how to improve results in the face of Coronavirus, Sefhare Junior School staff are caught up in a petty fight over housing.

A brewing storm in a teacup between a new teacher and the school head over housing and electricity has threatened to divide the staff after the teacher’s electricity was abruptly cut and he was forced to resort to using candles for lighting.

The teacher (names withheld) says he recently arrived in Sefhare from Mahalapye Junior School to a hostile and unwelcoming environment after swapping with a colleague in December last year.

For fear of reprisal the concerned teacher preferred that his colleagues and sympathisers narrate his ordeal to The Voice with the hope that speaking out would bring him some relief.

“When a cargo truck carrying his stuff arrived at Sefhare Junior on the 19th, the deputy school head Ephraim Maifala ordered its return to Mahalapye. This was supposed to be a straight swap. He was supposed to move into the house vacated by the other teacher, but for some reason the housing committee, which is oddly controlled by the school head and his deputy decided to move him to a different house to share with a female teacher, “revealed the concerned colleague.

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For four days his stuff remained in the truck at the Sub-region,” he said.

The Voice has learnt that the two swapping mates however hatched a plan to move the stuff in the concerned teacher’s desired house, a move that sent him on a collision course with the housing committee.

In a letter written by the school head on 27th January, the teacher was reprimanded for non-compliance and self-allocation of a house contrary to Section 5 of the Housing Policy.

“He was told he could not occupy the house because it was still under investigation with three other houses for bypassing electricity,” The Voice learnt.
Seeing that the teacher had no intention of vacating the house the headmaster ordered Botswana Power Corporation to disconnect power from the disputed house on March 10, causing the teacher to rely on candles for lighting.

“He’s a strong willed person. Despite all this, he has never missed a lesson. The only challenge is that he can’t wear formal clothes since he cant iron, so he’s resorted to jeans and t-shirts,” revealed a colleague.

In an interview with The Voice on Tuesday, the school head confirmed that he indeed disconnected electricity at the advice of BPC.

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He said there was no way the said teacher could occupy a house that is being investigated for bypassing electricity.

Reminded that three other houses under investigation for a similar offence have not been disconnected, Phuthego responded thus: “We looked at the severity of the offence. This one looked like a recent offence while other houses were old cases with one having been bypassed since 2012,” he said.

The School Head said he doesn’t have any problem with the said teacher but only wanted him to comply with the housing policy.

“He can complain or show his displeasure but first he has to comply,” Phuthego said.

“What he has to understand is swapping simply means change of station, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll occupy the house vacated by the other party. Arranging accommodation for staff members is a duty undertaken by the Housing Committee,” he said.

The Voice also learnt that both the headmaster and the concerned teacher were summoned by the Regional Director Sonny Mooketsi who’s expected to settle the matter this week.

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