Labour relations management in South African schools workshop – dealing with staff discipline, dismissals and grievances (Pretoria)

School principals are tasked to ensure that their schools are managed satisfactorily and in compliance with applicable legislation and regulations. This includes dealing with labour relations matters such as misconduct and staff grievances. However, principals often feel that they are not equipped to deal with these matters.


In order to address this need, the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) of the School for Business Management at Unisa presented a workshop aimed at exposing principals to the relevant legislative requirements and management practices when dealing with these matters. The workshop included role plays illustrating typical scenarios in a school environment. Participants thus had the opportunity to apply what they have learnt in the workshop in a simulated context.


The two-day workshop, hosted end February 2015, was attended by 24 principals from underprivileged schools in Gauteng. Ms Maggie Holtzhausen (project leader), Mrs Monica Kirsten (both from the DHRM); and Adv. Rean Fourie (a labour law expert) facilitated the two day workshop.


Participants indicated that they were introduced to the principles relating to discipline in a school environment mainly focussing on the disciplining of educators. They also learned how to distinguish between misconduct and incapacity (fault and no-fault behaviour by educators) and how to deal with the disciplinary procedure in each instance. They were guided in terms of the legislation, policies and procedures applicable to their specific working environment. They furthermore learned how grievances should be handled within the school environment taking into account the grievance procedure of the Gauteng Department of Education.


The workshop forms part of a bigger CEMS community engagement project which aims to assist underprivileged schools. Business leaders (in this case through Unisa staff) bring their skills, knowledge and experience into a partnership with principals to mobilize the community around a school to take responsibility for the wellbeing of the school, the learners at the school, and therefore the fabric of our society. Through this process both the business leader and the principal of the school is empowered. Through formal leadership development sessions and community building workshops, experiential learning, and community of practice sessions and coaching support, the partners also mobilize active citizenship in the community surrounding the school. Their joint task is to facilitate stronger partnerships between teachers and parents, the school and other members of the community, thereby creating an environment that is conducive to achieving the learning outcomes in the school. Ms Maggie Holtzhausen has been the project leader for this CEMS community engagement project over the last three years, and has been partnered with Mrs Elizabeth Lebeze of Mveldezho Primary in this regard. She is assisted by eight of her colleagues within the DHRM.


30 November -1, 00:00