The purpose of the qualitative descriptive study on which this paper is based was to explore the
procedures and processes followed in appointing principals for school leadership and management in the Mpumalanga
and Limpopo Provinces of South Africa. Using a qualitative, multiple case study approach, fifteen primary school
principals were purposely sampled and interviewed by means of semi-structured interviews to explore issues of
equity and fairness in principal appointments and pathways to becoming principals. The findings reveal a trend of
level hopping and a flawed implementation of the stipulated appointment processes. There was also evidence of
power-play among the different stakeholders and micro-politicking in the appointment procedures.
Recommendations are that leadership and management skills training should be undertaken by teachers aspiring to
be principals and that the criteria for principal appointments should be revised to include higher academic and
professional qualifications. A further recommendation is the development of a monitoring tool to ensure quality in
the appointment of principals.