South Africa: Lobby Group AfriForum Demands the Dismissal of Gauteng Education MEC Panayza Lesufi

19 November 2019

Lobby group AfriForum is expected to announce a "comprehensive campaign" aimed at applying pressure on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to dismiss the province's education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, on Wednesday.

"This after AfriForum had been flooded with requests from parents who had enough of the MEC's mismanagement of the current school placement process, as well as many other examples of misconduct," AfriForum's Carien Bloem said in a statement on Tuesday.

Bloem cited a statement by the Gauteng Department of Education in which alternatives for the school placement crisis were announced including, among others, that high-volume schools will make room for more pupils by acquiring mobile classrooms, and that empty township schools will be filled by adding Afrikaans as a language of instruction.

In a statement on Tuesday, the department announced it was working closely with schools in high-pressure areas to increase their classroom capacity to accommodate unplaced pupils.

"As of today, November 19, 2019, we have placed 267 611 (94.63%) applicants which reflects an increase of 3 859 placements. The remaining 14 617 applicants are still to receive placement offers and must be placed by the November 30, 2019, deadline," it spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said.

It also announced it would be initiating a process of merging single-medium schools with low pupil enrollments, to open English-medium schools in high-pressure zones.

In addition, the department said it would introduce English and Afrikaans as the language of teaching and learning in under-subscribed township schools.

AfriForum was of the view that this move would neither provide meaningful, lasting solutions to the problems nor allow for the MEC to accept responsibility for the failure of the online system."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."The online application system and school placements are but one of many issues that will be addressed by AfriForum's campaign," Bloem explained.

Parents have allegedly also made the following complaints to the lobby group:Lesufi's refusal to take action against the ongoing interference of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) at public schools;His repeated disdainful statements about Afrikaans and Afrikaans as a language of tuition;His racist statements that polarise communities in the country;Misappropriation and corruption allegedly taking place in the department.

More details about the campaign are expected to be divulged on Wednesday.

"It is a disgrace that the premier still allows Lesufi to hold office despite the damage he has already inflicted on the education system of Gauteng. He is regularly lauded from the government's side for Gauteng's excellent matric results.

"In truth, however, the results can be ascribed to the dedication of outstanding education staff, children and parents in the province who are performing in spite of his continual ideological interference. The schools, parents and children of Gauteng deserve better," Bloem said.

News24 has reached out to Mabona for comment and it will be added once received.

Source: News24

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