Schools boss walks the talk

12 September 2014 - 02:31 By Poppy Louw

Tough-talking Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi appears to be a man of action.

In his first 100 days in his post, 30 teachers have been fired, 57 pupils have been expelled and more than 40 alleged gang members have been arrested at Gauteng schools.

Seventeen of the teachers were dismissed for absenteeism, five for improper conduct, three for sexual assault, two for mismanagement of funds, and one each for dishonesty, intimidation and contravention of policy.

Tomorrow Lesufi intends to march alongside members of education advocacy group Equal Education to demand adequate sanitation at East Rand schools.

Speaking in Tembisa, on the East Rand, yesterday Lesufi called himself the "champion of sanitation" and said he would prioritise improving it.

"Pupils should not be taught in conditions that deprive them of dignity," Lesufi said.

"I will do more than meet Equal Education at my office to accept their memorandum, I will put on my running shoes and tracksuit and march with them."

Equal Education members from Tembisa, and from KwaThema and Daveyton, also on the East Rand, have demanded that the MEC produce a plan for dealing with the "sanitation crisis" at East Rand schools.

Lesufi said that "pressure" from the advocacy group had forced him to open prefabricated toilets at Tembisa schools despite in principle not approving of what he called "amper (almost) toilets".

Equal Education Gauteng joint head Adam Bradlow said the group was pleased by the MEC's promise that repairs to toilets in schools would be completed by the end of the month.