AfriForum steps up campaign to oust 'disdainful, polarising' Panyaza Lesufi

20 November 2019 - 12:04 By ERNEST MABUZA
Queues at a Gauteng education department district office this month, where parents tried to get their children admitted to schools. The IRR says the placement system is an insult to Gauteng parents.
Queues at a Gauteng education department district office this month, where parents tried to get their children admitted to schools. The IRR says the placement system is an insult to Gauteng parents.
Image: ChefKat-Molefe/Twitter

AfriForum says it will launch a campaign to put pressure on Gauteng premier David Makhura to dismiss provincial education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

The minority rights organisation was responding to a statement by the provincial  education department on Tuesday on what measures would be taken to ensure the remaining 14,617 prospective grade 1 and grade 8 pupils are placed in schools.

The department said it was working with “high pressure zone” schools to increase their classroom capacity to accommodate more pupils.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department was also looking into the possibility of using mobile classrooms in overpopulated areas.

The department said it was initiating a process of merging single-medium schools with low pupil enrolments with English-medium schools in high pressure zones.

“In addition, the department will introduce English and Afrikaans as the languages of teaching and learning in the under-subscribed township schools.”

AfriForum said these measures by the department to accommodate more pupils did not provide meaningful or lasting solutions to the problems.

“The MEC believes that schools should merge to create full English-medium schools. However, the matter is not that simple and this will not solve the problem of too few schools in Gauteng in time,” said AfriForum manager of education Carien Bloem.

Bloem said the organisation had been flooded with requests from parents who had had enough of Lesufi’s mismanagement of the school placement process.

Bloem said the online application system and school placements were two of the many issues that would be addressed by the campaign. She said additional complaints received included Lesufi’s refusal to take action against ongoing interference by the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) at public schools and his repeated disdainful statements about Afrikaans and Afrikaans as a language of tuition.

She said there were also complaints about Lesufi’s statements that polarised communities, as well as alleged misappropriation and corruption within the department.

Bloem said further details of the campaign to oust Lesufi would be announced later on Wednesday.

Lesufi was dismissive of AfriForum's attempts to have him removed. In a tweet, he said: “The day racists praise you, you must know the revolution is lost!”

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) said the non-placement of 14,000 pupils jeopardised their future.

The institute said the placement system was an insult to Gauteng parents on two levels.

“First, it robs them of the dignity and the ability to act in the best interests of their children by taking away their choice on which school to send their children to.

“Second, it makes a mockery of their concerns by catastrophically failing to ensure that this limitation of parental freedom results is something at least morally palatable.”  


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